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29 February 2024

Interview with Alessandro Gazoia, Editorial director of the publishing houses nottetempo and 66thand2nd

Laura Pugno

In January 2024, two historic Italian independent publishing houses, nottetempo (directed by Andrea Gessner and based in Milan), and 66thand2nd (directed by Isabella Ferretti and based in Rome) have announced the creation of a new publishing hub and a “horizontal alliance” uniting both publishers in strategic direction.

For the newitalianbooks interview series, Alessandro Gazoia, editorial director of both brands, answers our questions about the profile of the two publishing houses as seen from across the border and the novelty of this unprecedented reorganization.


How would you describe the editorial production of 66thand2nd and nottetempo to readers abroad? What are the characteristics and strengths of each brand?


As far as Italian authors are concerned, 66thand2nd has mainly stayed in the realm of fiction, with some forays into non-fiction. Here I will just mention L’unica persona nera nella stanza by Nadeesha Uyangoda (which dialogues with the publishing house’s international purview) and Sad girl by Sara Marzullo, just published. Among the novels, that I remember at least, there are Adorazione and the recent La verità che ci riguarda by Alice Urciuolo (the former was among the Strega Prize last dozen and was made into a soon-to-be-released Netflix series), Estate caldissima by Gabriella Dal Lago and Madre piccola by Ubah Cristina Ali Farah. With the exception of the latter, all the other authors made their debut with 66thand2nd, which is deeply committed to discovering and enhancing newcomers and emerging authors.

A specificity of 66thand2nd is sports narrative, which has characterized the publishing house since its foundation by publishers Isabella Ferretti and Tomaso Cenci. In short, the ambition was to make books that recounted and investigated sport in a compelling and accurate way at the same time, refusing to consider this area, so rich in stories, interests and destinies, as a minor province of the cultural and publishing scene, which at most can become relevant with individual cases such as Open. Here I would like to name so many authors, in part because 66thand2nd’s production has increased in recent years; reluctantly I will only mention Lorenzo Iervolino, who has recently completed a “political-sports trilogy”, Emanuele Atturo, with his successful biography of Federer, Stefano Piri, with a very nice book on Roberto Baggio (a character worthy of a novel as there are few), and finally a collective book on women’s sport to be released in February, Fondamentali. Atlete che hanno cambiato il gioco.

Over the years, nottetempo’s Italian fiction has welcomed many original voices, such as Milena Agus, Luciana Castellina and Lidia Ravera (all three finalists for the Strega Prize, Agus was also a finalist for the Campiello Prize), Paolo Colagrande (finalist for the Campiello Prize), Mirko Sabatino and Giulia Corsalini. In recent years, the publishing house has explored different horizons with newcomers and emerging artists, I only remember the noir Il Mostro by Alessandro Ceccherini, the memoir La paura ferisce come un coltello arrugginito by Giulia Scomazzon and the “tarot novel” Chiedi se vive o se muore by Gaia Giovagnoli. It has also continued to publish with great pleasure established writers such as Claudio Morandini and Filippo Tuena (who last year took nottetempo to the final of the Campiello Prize). It is also particularly attentive to women writers active in the second half of the 20th century, and here I point out only the case of Fausta Cialente, one of the most important Italian authors, of whom we are re-proposing four books.

The publishing house is also appreciated for its non-fiction, starting with the books of Giorgio Agamben, probably the most famous Italian philosopher in the world, and I would also mention Daniele Giglioli, Luisa Muraro, Bifo Berardi, Giulia Siviero (in bookshops in May with a book that I believe will generate a wide debate, Fare femminismo). Here, too, there is constant research (e.g. with Paolo Pecere‘s Il di oche danza) and recovery, first and foremost of Furio Jesi, an exceptional scholar of mythology and right-wing culture. Finally, thanks to the specific commitment of the publisher Andrea Gessner, for several years we have been devoting attention to issues that in a broad sense we can define as “ecological”, and here I recall Barbara Bernardini‘s Dall’orto dal mondo.


Which bets, literary and otherwise, have worked best in foreign countries and in your opinion, why? And what changes, or could change, with the birth of the new horizontal hub?


For 66thand2nd, the work of Ubah Cristina Ali Farah has aroused a lot of interest abroad, particularly in France and the United States. Also translated were the novel L’estate del cane bambino by Mario Pistacchio and Laura Toffanello and, as far as sports literature is concerned, Suite 200 by Giorgio Terruzzi, dedicated to Ayrton Senna, and Pantani era un dio by Marco Pastonesi.

The most translated Italian authors at nottetemp are Milena Agus, beloved especially in France, and Giorgio Agamben, known worldwide through the English versions of his works. Several other authors have had a good reception abroad, I only mention Ginevra Bompiani (one of the founders of the publishing house) and Daniele Giglioli with Critica della vittima.

Both nottetempo and 66thand2nd have already closed some translation contracts for works from recent years and are in negotiations for other titles. I cannot, however, name the books, in the first case out of confidentiality, in the second out of Italian superstition.

I am confident that the alliance between 66thand2nd and nottetempo will be an opportunity to obtain an attentive audience among scouts, agents and foreign publishing houses, thanks also to the strengthening of the “foreign rights” sector on which we are working hard. First of all, I’m talking about things that are as trivial as they are essential, such as samples in English for the proposed works, complete and up-to-date editorial sheets with the most relevant press review and awards, etc. In March, the London fair will see the debut of this alliance and will also be a sort of dress rehearsal for Frankfurt, where we want to arrive well prepared, also to honor, together with other Italian publishers, the fair that this year has chosen Italy as the guest of honor.