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To celebrate the release of Elena Ferrante's Neopolitan Novels Bookmarked, we are excited to host Gina Frangello in the bookstore in conversation with Emily Gray Tedrowe! 

Please note: This event is free to attend, but registration is required! By registering for this event, you agree to follow W&CF's Covid-19 guidelines, which includes wearing a mask during the seated, speaking portion of the evening. 


What is it about Elena Ferrante's writing, especially her masterwork Neapolitan Novels, that resonates so deeply with millions of readers, making this Italian author who writes under a pseudonym with absolutely no "platform," an international sensation? Brilliantly addressing issues such as class struggle, female friendship, women's autonomy, and literary creation itself, Ferrante's hyperrealist, intense storytelling is a saga of a highly specific place and history, yet somehow also transcends them, resonating on profoundly personal levels with readers of every background.

Gina Frangello grew up in poverty in inner-city Chicago two decades after Ferrante's most famous characters, Lenu and Lila grew up in Naples. Despite these seemingly insurmountable difference, Frangello felt that Ferrante was "writing about my youth, my life, my relationships, my struggles."

In the latest volume in the Bookmarked series, Gina Frangello contemplates Ferrante's Neapolitan novels through the lens of memoir, literary criticism, and issues of authorial identity and gender. Should who Ferrante "is" matter? And more importantly, what is it about Lenu and Lila's story that taps into such universal truths that makes readers feel that Ferrante is writing specifically to them?

Gina Frangello’s fifth book, the memoir Blow Your House Down: A Story of Family, Feminism, and Treason (Counterpoint), has been selected as a New York Times Editor’s Choice, received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and BookPage, and has been included on numerous “Best of 2021” lists including at Lithub, BookPage, and The Chicago Review of Books. Gina is also the author of four books of fiction, including A Life in Men and Every Kind of Wanting, which was included on several “Best of 2016” lists, including at Chicago Magazine’s and The Chicago Review of Books. Her first two books, My Sister’s Continent and Slut Lullabies, out of print for some time, are soon being reissued by Northwestern University Press. Now a lead editor at Row House Publishing, Gina also brings more than two decades of experience as an editor, having founded both the independent press Other Voices Books and the fiction section of the popular online literary community The Nervous Breakdown. She has also served as the Sunday editor for The Rumpus, the faculty editor for both TriQuarterly Online and The Coachella Review, and the Creative Nonfiction Editor for the Los Angeles Review of Books. She is on the low residency MFA faculty at the University of Nevada- Reno/Tahoe and runs Circe Consulting, a full-service company for writers, with the writer Emily Rapp Black.

Emily Gray Tedrowe is the Chicago-based author of the novels The Talented Miss FarwellBlue Stars, and Commuters. She has received an Illinois Arts Council award as well as fellowships from the Ragdale Foundation, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Sewanee Writers Conference. Tedrowe also publishes essays, interviews, and short stories, and in her day job sells books at an independent bookstore.

Accessibility: This event is hosted at the bookstore, which is a wheelchair accessible space. Masks are required. Seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis. To request ASL interpretation for this event, please email by no later than 14 days before the event. For other questions or access needs, please email

Event date: 
Friday, July 12, 2024 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
Women and Children First
5233 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60640
Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan Novels: Bookmarked By Gina Frangello Cover Image
ISBN: 9781632461629
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Ig Publishing - July 9th, 2024