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Black Pasta



Black Pasta

Presentation of the book by Elena Harvey
With Robert Harvey and Caroline Moorehead

This event is organised in collaboration with the Embassy of Italy in London

Black Pasta is a riveting story of a beautiful, feisty young aristocrat, Elena Curtopassi, growing up under Mussolini. She endures the German occupation of Rome, witnesses Adolf Hitler’s triumphant parade from the Colosseum and then experiences the liberation of the city by the Allies. After becoming a secretary to the Allied Control Commissioner, then the King’s aide-de-camp, she fraternises with the British and decides to leave to start a new life in England – one of the first to do so after Britain and Italy’s former enmity.

In an austerity-ridden London, she falls in love with the British and the then-unconventional bohemian sculptor and painter John Harvey, the son of Britain’s most powerful diplomat, Sir (later Lord) Oliver Harvey, the most dominant figure in the Foreign Office during the war as Anthony Eden’s private secretary.

In London, Elena finds that her previous way of life has been turned upside down. She must experience the unconventional life of the art world, John’s Picasso-esque variety of styles and early success as a best-selling author (the Beatles song ‘Within You Without You’ was derived from the title of his novel Within and Without, which was published by Penguin), whilst also managing a country estate in glorious surroundings in Wales.


Robert Harvey is Elena Harvey’s son. He is a former member of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, was assistant editor of The Economist, and foreign affairs leader writer for the Daily Telegraph. His books include The Undefeated: The Rise, Fall and Rise of Modern Japan, Portugal: Birth of a Democracy, Liberators and Cochrane. In 2007 he edited and introduced the book entitled The World Crisis: The Way Forward after Iraq with works by Jimmy Carter, Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, Geoffrey Howe, Michael Heseltine, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Brent Scowcroft, Sam Nunn, Dick Lugar as well as himself.

Caroline Moorehead is a historian and biographer, whose books include the lives of Bertrand Russell, Iris Origo, Martha Gellhorn and Lucy de la Tour du Pin. She is also the author of a book about refugees, Human Cargo, and has written and made films about human rights. She is currently at work on the fourth in a series of books about resistance before and during world war 2. The first two – A Train in Winter and A Village of Secrets – were set in Vichy France. The third, A Bold and Dangerous Family, The Rossellis and the fight against Mussolini, is set in Italy. She is currently working on a book about women partisans in the valleys about Turin.


Date: Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Time: At 6:30 pm

Organized by : ICI London

Entrance : Free


ICI London