Eleonore Mazzoni


Eleonore Mazzoni (image provided by the author)

Eleonora Mazzoni was born in 1965 in Forli, and currently lives in Rome. An Italian actress and writer, she completed a degree in Modern Literatures at the University of Bologna under the supervision of Ezio Raimondi and graduated in acting from the 'Scuola di Teatro' in Bologna under Alessandra Galante Garrone’s supervision.

She made her stage debut as the lead in I due gemelli veneziani (1995) directed by Franco Branciaroli. She has played roles in several plays such as Troilo e Cressida (2000) directed by Maurizio Panici, La cuoca (Diego Fabbri Award, 2005) by Augusto Zucchi (with whom she also worked in Il Decamerone [1999], L’impresario delle Smirne [2002] and Niente sesso, siamo inglesi [2008]).

She made her cinema debut with Citto Maselli in Cronache del terzo millennio (Venice Film Festival, 1996) with whom she also worked in Il compagno (1998). She starred in, among others, Tutta la conoscenza del mondo by Eros Puglielli (Berlin Film Festival, 2001), Volevo solo dormirle addosso by Eugenio Cappuccio (Venice Film Festival, 2004), Il compleanno by Marco Filiberti (Venice Film Festival, 2009) and L’uomo che verrà by Giorgio Diritti (Rome Film Festival, 2009), winner of the David di Donatello award for Best Film in 2010. She starred in TV dramas such as Elisa di Rivombrosa (2002 and 2004), Il giudice Mastrangelo (2004), Il bambino sull’acqua (2005), Colpi di sole (2007) and Il commissario Manara (2007).

Le difettose (Einaudi 2012) is Eleonora Mazzoni’s first novel. The book is partially inspired by personal events since Mazzoni experienced fertility issues and turned to IVF before giving birth to twins. Narrating in the first-person, 39-year-old Carla tells of her obsessive pursuit of motherhood through IVF. The difficulties she encounters are increased by the fact that the protagonist lives in Italy, a country which boasts the most restrictive laws in the field of assisted reproduction, the so called 'Law 40', and where the Catholic Church condemns these treatments. The dramatic tone of Carla’s quest is softened by the clever use of irony and recourse to the teachings of classical literature. The novel was very successful and the play based on it has met with the same interest. The play, directed by Serena Sinigaglia, with actress Emanuela Grimalda, debuted at the Festival della mente in Sarzana in 2014 and has toured Italy. Film rights have also been taken up.

In December 2013 Mazzoni’s short story ‘Un Natale come tanti altri’ was published by Racconti di Natale (Graphe), together with an unpublished work by Carlo Collodi. Her second novel Gli ipocriti appeared in September 2015 (Chiarelettere). Pursuing her personal obsessions, Mazzoni investigates the Catholic religion and its effects on people and their conscience. At the heart of this novel are Manu, a 15-year-old girl, and her Catholic-Italian family, who belong to one of the most intransigent and fundamentalist religious movements on the national scene. The protagonist, after discovering her father’s duplicitous life, begins questioning and challenging her family and environment.

Both Mazzoni’s novels portray female characters in search of their identity: while in Le difettose, Carla renegotiates normality and comes to terms with her female identity after IVF fails, Gli ipocriti expresses the doubts and rebellion of a teenager in search of her own identity within a hypocritical religious family.

Compiled by Laura Lazzari (Georgetown)



Le difettose (Turin: Einaudi, 2012)

Gli ipocriti (Milan: Chiarelettere, 2015)

Short Stories

‘Un Natale come tanti altri’ in  Racconti di Natale [with Carlo Collodi] (Perugia: Graphe, 2013)


‘Le donne difettose che chiedono un figlio alla scienza sappiano che cosa le aspetta’ (Panorama, 11 April 2012, pp. 107-108)

‘Le difettose e le storie dopo il romanzo’ (in genere, 25 September 2014) available online at http://www.ingenere.it/en/node/5045

Compiled by Laura Lazzari (Georgetown)



De Feo, Luca: ‘“Le difettose”: come nasce un classico’ in Ausencias. Escritoras en los márgenes de la cultura ed. by Milagro Martín Clavijo (30 October 2013) available online at http://www.escritorasyescrituras.com/revista-grupo/revista-13/

La Porta, Filippo: ‘Mazzoni, rinascere dalla provetta’ (Il Messaggero, 26 June 2012, p. 19) also available online (with other reviews) at http://www.Ledifettose.it/area-stampa

Lazzari, Laura: ‘Quando la scienza fallisce: Maternità negata e ridefinizione della “normalità”’ (Intervalla: Platform for Intellectual Exchange [Special issue: To Be or Not to Be a Mother: Choice, Refusal, Reluctance and Conflict. Motherhood and Female Identity in Italian Literature and Culture – Essere o non essere madre: Scelta, rifiuto, avversione e conflitto. Maternità e identità femminile nella letteratura e cultura italiane, ed. by Laura Lazzari and Joy Charnley, pp. 61-73]) available online at http://www.fus.edu/intervalla/special-volume-1-to-be-or-not-to-be-a-mother-choice-refusal-reluctance-and-conflict

Compiled by Laura Lazzari (Georgetown)



Lalli, Chiara: ‘Le difettose: un figlio a tutti i costi’ (Il Mucchio, May 2012, pp. 58-59)

Re, Erica: ‘Intervista a Eleonora Mazzoni’ (Film TV, 13 May 2012, p. 23)

Sasso, Manuela: ‘Eleonora Mazzoni: i miei gemelli, figli di un amore ostinato’ (Diva e Donna, 5 June 2012, pp. 80-82)

Simonetti, Maria: ‘Eleonora la difettosa’ (L’Espresso, 9 August 2012, pp. 100-101)

Other interviews with the author are available online at www.Ledifettose.it/area-stampa/

Compiled by Laura Lazzari (Georgetown)