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Roberto Saviano

Roberto Saviano
File:Roberto Saviano retouched.jpg
Born (1979-09-22) September 22, 1979 (age 36)
Naples, Italy
Occupation Novelist, journalist
Nationality Italian
Period 2000–present
Notable works Gomorrah

Roberto Saviano (Italian: [roˈbɛrto saˈvjano]; born September 22, 1979) is an Italian writer and journalist.

In his writings, articles, television programs, and books he employs prose and news-reporting style to narrate the story of the Camorra (a powerful Neapolitan mafia-like organization), exposing its territory and business connections.

Since 2006, following the publication of his bestselling book Gomorrah (Gomorra in Italian), where he describes the clandestine particulars of the Camorra business, Saviano has been threatened by several Neapolitan "godfathers". The Italian Minister of the Interior has granted him a permanent police escort. Because of his courageous stance, he is considered a "national hero" by author-philosopher Umberto Eco. He lives at a secret location to avoid reprisal attacks.[1] Saviano was also accused by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of defaming the country and being unpatriotic[citation needed].


Saviano was born in Naples on September 22, 1979. His father was Catholic while his mother was Jewish.[2] He graduated in philosophy at the University of Naples Federico II. His writing is influenced by anti-fascist thinkers such as Giustino Fortunato, Gaetano Salvemini[3] and conservative authors such as Ernst Jünger, Ezra Pound, Louis Ferdinand Celine, and Carl Schmitt.[4]

As a journalist, he collaborates with L'Espresso and La Repubblica, and other magazines including: Nuovi Argomenti, Lo Straniero, Nazione Indiana, and Sud, and can be found in various anthologies such as Best Off. Il meglio delle riviste letterarie italiane (2005), and Napoli comincia a Scampia (2005).

In 2006, following the success of the non-fiction Gomorra[5] (Gomorrah in English[6]), which denounces the activities of the Camorra, Saviano received ominous threats. These have been confirmed by the collaborators for justice and reports that have revealed attempts on Saviano's life, by the Casalesi clan. Investigators have claimed the Camorra selected Casalesi clan boss Giuseppe Setola to kill Saviano over the book, although the alleged hit never occurred.[7]

After the Neapolitan Police investigations the Italian Minister for Interior Affairs Giuliano Amato assigned a personal bodyguard and transferred him from Naples. In autumn 2008, the informant Carmine Schiavone, cousin of the imprisoned Casalesi clan boss Francesco Schiavone, revealed to the authorities that the clan had planned to eliminate Saviano and his police escort by Christmas on the motorway between Rome and Naples with a bomb;[8][9] in the same period, Saviano announced his intention to leave Italy, in order to stop having to live as a convict and reclaim his life.[10]

On October 20, 2008, six Nobel Prize-awarded authors and intellectuals (Orhan Pamuk, Dario Fo, Rita Levi-Montalcini, Desmond Tutu, Günter Grass, and Mikhail Gorbachev) published an article in which they say that they side with Saviano against Camorra, and they think that Camorra is not just a problem of security and public order, but also a democratic one. They also think that the Italian government must protect his life, and help Saviano in having a normal life. Signatures are collected on the site of the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

On December 10, 2009, in the presence of Nobel Prize winner Dario Fo, Saviano received the title of Honorary Member of the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera and the Second Level Academic Diploma in Communication and Art Teaching Honoris Causa, the highest recognition by the Brera Academy equivalent to a postgraduate degree. Saviano dedicated the awards to the people from the south of Italy living in Milan.

Saviano contributed an op-ed piece to the January 24, 2010 issue of the New York Times entitled, "Italy's African Heroes".[11] He wrote about the January 2010 riots between African immigrants and Italians in Rosarno, a town in Calabria. Saviano suggests that the Africans' rioting was more of a response to their exploitation by the 'Ndrangheta, or Calabrian mafia, than to the hostility of native Italians.

On November 2010 he started hosting, with Fabio Fazio, the Italian television program "Vieni via con me", broadcast by Rai 3.[12]

His second book, ZeroZeroZero,[13] was published by Feltrinelli in 2013. This book is a study of the business around the drug cocaine, covering its movement across continents and the role of drug money in international finance.

Awards and honors


  1. ^ "Silvio Berlusconi has always acted in his own – not Italy's – interests", guardian
  2. ^ "Roberto Saviano, Scourge of the Mafia and Reader of I. B. Singer". Forward. July 20, 2011. Retrieved September 9, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Una giornata con Saviano: le mie prigioni di velluto". November 28, 2010. Retrieved January 24, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Intervista esclusiva all'altro Saviano: "La lotta alla mafia non ha colore"". December 24, 2009. Retrieved January 24, 2012. 
  5. ^ Saviano, Roberto (2006). Gomorra. Milano: Oscar Mondadori. ISBN 978-88-04-56915-2. 
  6. ^ Saviano, Roberto (2007). Gomorrah. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 9780374165277. 
  7. ^ Hooper, John (January 14, 2009). "International: Mafia killer flees from police through sewers". The Guardian (Rome). p. 19. 
  8. ^ Italian mobsters plot to blow up author whose exposé of their murky world has been turned into a blockbuster film – Dailymail, October 15, 2008
  9. ^ "Mafia wants author dead by Christmas". Reuters. 2008-10-14. 
  10. ^ John Hooper, "Gomorra film author to leave Italy after mob death threats", The Guardian October 16, 2008.
  11. ^ Saviano, Roberto (January 25, 2010). "Italy's African Heroes". The New York Times. Retrieved May 22, 2010. 
  12. ^ Invalid language code. "Vieni via con me" official site
  13. ^ Saviano, Roberto (2013). ZeroZeroZero. Milano: Feltrinelli. p. 444. ISBN 978-8807030536. 
  14. ^ "2011 – Lydia Cacho och Roberto Saviano". Olof Palmes minnesfond. January 23, 2012. Retrieved January 23, 2012. 

External links

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