Ernesto Ferrero (Turin, 1938) has worked in publishing since 1963 (as Literary director at Einaudi, Garzanti and Mondadori) and has been the director of the Turin International Book Fair from 1998 to 2016.
His works include an historical dictionary of the Italian slang (Dizionario storico dei gerghi italiani, Mondadori 1991), a biography in pictures of Italo Calvino (Album Calvino, with L. Baranelli, Mondadori 1995), an introduction to Primo Levi (Primo Levi. Life and works, Einaudi 2007), and a biography of “Bluebeard”, that is Gilles de Rais, the dark personage of the French medioeval history (Barbablù, Einaudi 2002).
His novel N. (Einaudi 2000) describes the three hundred days of the exile of Napoleon at the Elba island with the eyes of an imperial librarian, and won the Strega Prize, the most prestigious Italian literary award, for the year 2000. N. is translated in France, and in the main european languages. To the age of the Empire are also devoted the Napoleonic Lectures about the nature of men, the techniques of good governance and the art of managing defeats (Mondadori, 2002, 2014), the theatrical monologue Elisa, which gives voice to the sister of Napoleon, Grand Duchess of Tuscany, and the short essay Napoleon and the book (Edizioni Henri Beyle, Milan 2015).
Among his novels,The Year of the Indian (Einaudi 2001), the true story of the « resistible rise » of Chief White Elk, a self-styled American redskin, in the summer of 1924 in Italy ; The Misterious Story of Papyrus of Artemidorus, set in the age of Cleopatra(Einaudi 2006), Drawing the Wind. Captain Salgari’s Last Travel, a biographical novel on the popular writer for young people Emilio Salgari, « the Italian Jules Verne » (Einaudi 2011), and a philosophical tale, Story of Quirina, a Mole and a Mountain Garden (Einaudi 2014, translated in Germany and Corea).
He is also author of the memoir The Best Years in our Life on a magic moment of the Italian Culture from early Sixties to mid-Seventies, the years of Calvino and Pasolini (Feltrinelli, 2005).
He has translated L.-F- Céline (Voyage au bout de la nuit and Casse-pipe), Flaubert (Bouvard et Pécuchet) and Perec (Le Condottière), and writes for « La Stampa » and the main Italian newspapers.
He is President of the Primo Levi International Studies Center, Turin.