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Tuscan Tales: the fantastic fables of Emma Perodi

Thursday 8 April, 6pm
Tuscan Tales: the fantastic fables of Emma Perodi

Translator Katherine Gregor interviews fellow Italian-English translator Lori Hetherington about her recent publication of Tuscan Tales: the fantastic fables of Emma Perodi, the first book-length translation in English to originate from Perodi’s most famous volume, Le novelle della nonna. Fiabe fantastiche (1892).

The discussion between the two translators explores the dark novellas presented in Tuscan Tales, the process of bringing a text to life in another language, and the context in which Emma Perodi authored this work in which mysterious events and magical objects, witches, Satan and other frightening apparitions mingle with historical characters from Tuscany’s medieval past within a real-life 19th century frame.

Skeletons and phantoms, scoundrels and saints, supernatural events and magical objects: Nonna Regina enchants her grandchildren with fantastic tales as she warms herself beside the fire in the family’s ancestral home in a valley where seasons are intense, unexplained occurrences are many, and religion fuels the imagination.


Emma Perodi was an Italian writer and journalist best known for her children’s books, born in 1850 and died in 1918. She travelled through much Italy and Europe before settling in Florence where, from 1881, she was a collaborator and then, from 1887, director of the Children’s Journal (Giornale per i bambini), which was published in Rome. Her best known work is Grandma’s Stories (Le novelle della nonna) a collection of fantastic stories published in installments between 1892 and 1893. Although designed for children, some of the stories contain Gothic elements that can be appreciated by adults. She also did translations; notably the first Italian edition of Elective Affinities by Goethe. She died from pneumonia in Palermo, where she had spent over twenty years working for the publishing firm of Salvatore Biondo.

Lori Hetherington is an Italian-based, American-born translator and emerging writer. She focuses on Italian to English translation of fiction, with literary, women’s and historical fiction her favourite genres, as well as co-authorship of narrative non-fiction. She is a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors.

Katherine Gregor is a Norwich-based translator of fiction, non-fiction and plays from Italian, English and some Russian. She also writes plays, fiction and a column on
She recently conducted a series of online talks with Italian writers translated into English for ICI London’s series Seven Authors, Seven Translations.

  • Organizzato da: ICI London