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Elena Ferrante to write a newspaper column

Elena Ferrante books at the Harvard Book Store.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe staff/file 2016

Devotees of Elena Ferrante’s acclaimed Neapolitan novels who’re wondering what their brilliant friend will do next need wait no longer.

The Guardian reported in a story this morning that the pseudonymous author will write a weekly column for the British newspaper’s Weekend magazine. Ferrante says she will examine a range of topics, including childhood, aging, and gender, with her debut piece focusing on first love.

The reclusive novelist, who has never written a column before, said she was “attracted to the possibility of testing’’ herself with the discipline of a weekly deadline, calling her new challenge “a bold, anxious exercise in writing.” Ferrante will write the pieces in Italian and they will be translated by her regular collaborator, Ann Goldstein.


English readers flocked to Ferrante’s Neapolitan books since the first, “My Brilliant Friend,’’ was translated in 2012. That book was followed by "The Story of a New Name’’ (2013), “Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay’’ (2014), and “The Story of the Lost Child’’ (2015). The series follows two girls, Elena and Lila, over a period of decades as they grow up, leave, and return to their poor neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples.

The books, which sold millions of copies and topped bestseller lists for months, were particularly notable because their popularity spread virtually entirely by word of mouth from women readers who saw something essential about their own lives reflected in the books.

Besides launching the column, Ferrante is also working on the screenplay for a television adaptation of “My Brilliant Friend’’ for HBO.

Paul S. Makishima can be reached at makishima@globe.com.