Abate, Carmine 1954-

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Abate, Carmine 1954-


Born October 24, 1954, in Carfizzi, Calabria, Italy. Education: University of Bari, Italy, graduate.


Home—Trentino, Italy. E-mail—[email protected]


Writer. Trentino, Italy, university professor.


Arge Alp Readers;' International Prize, for Il ballo tondo; Premio Napoli, Selection Campiello Prize, and Corrado Alvaro Prize, all for La festa del ritorno; Premio Crotone, Matelica-Libero Bigiaretti, and Racalmare-Leonardo Sciascia prizes, all for La moto di Scanderbeg; Domenico Rea Prize, Ischia, Readers' Prize, Lucca, Rhegium Julii-Corrado Alvaro Prize, Matelica-Libero Bigiaretti Prize, Fenice Europa International Prize, and Feudo di Maida Prize, all for Tra due mari; Napoli Campiello Prize and Corrado Alvaro Prize, for La festa del ritorno; Città di Siderno Literary Prize, 2007, for Il mosaico del tempo grande.


Nel labirinto della vita (poetry), Juvenilia (Rome, Italy), 1977.

(With others) Annäherungen, CON Medien-und Vertriebsgesellschaft (Bremen, Germany), 1982.

Den Koffer und weg! (short stories), Neuer Malik (Kiel, Germany), 1984.

(Editor) Die Germanesi, Campus (New York, NY), 1984.

(Editor) Giuseppe Fiorenza Dill'Elba, Un freddo estraneo: Memorie di un emigrato in svizzera, Pellegrini (Cosenza, Italy), 1991.

Il ballo tondo (novel), Marietti (Genoa, Italy), 1991.

Terre di andata (poetry), Argo (Lecce, Italy), 1996.

La moto di Scanderbeg (novel), Fazi (Rome, Italy), 1999.

Tra due mari: Romanzo (novel), Mondadori (Milan, Italy), 2002, translation by Antony Shugaar published as Between Two Seas, Europa Editions (New York, NY), 2007.

(Contributor) Raccontare la legalita: 34 scrittori interrogano una parola, Pironti (Naples, Italy), 2004.

La festa del ritorno (novel), Oscar Mondadori (Milan, Italy), 2004.

Il mosaico del tempo grande: Romanzo (novel; title means "Mosaic of the Great Time"), Mondadori (Milan, Italy), 2006.

Also author of Il muro dei muri and La ronde de Costantino, 2002. "Biblioteca Emigrazione" series, editor, Pellegrini.


La festa del ritorno was optioned for a feature film, Italy.


Carmine Abate is an Italian writer who has published short stories, poetry, and prize-winning novels. Born in Carfizzi, an Italo-Albanian village in southern Italy, Abate early on assumed an identity in two worlds. Not only was he part of an ethnic Albanian community living in Italy, but later, when his father went to Germany for work, Abate also assumed a German identity for a time. Teaching in Hamburg schools for immigrants, Abate wrote his first short stories and poetry. His early collection of stories, Den Koffer und weg! was written in German. When Abate returned to his native Italy, he taught at the university in Trentino.

Among his popular novels are La moto di Scanderbeg, La festa del ritorno, Il mosaico del tempo grande: Romanzo ("Mosaic of the Great Time"), and Tra due mari: Romanzo, which was Abate's first book translated into English, published in 2007 as Between Two Seas. Many of his works deal with displacement and the immigrant experience. In 2007, Abate won the prestigious Città di Siderno Literary Prize for his novel Il mosaico del tempo grande. He profiles the Arbëreshë people of his native southern Italy, descendants of Albanian settlers from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, in the novel.

In Between Two Seas, Abate tells another tale inspired in part by his own past. Narrated by Florian Heumann, the novel tells the story of a child of two countries—Italy and Germany. The grandson of famous photographer Hans Heumann of Hamburg and Giorgio Bellusci of Calabria, Florian discovers uncomfortable truths about his heritage.

In the years following World War II, photographer Heumann traveled to southern Italy hoping to capture the famous southern light. There he met Bellusci, who became his companion in travels throughout the region. Both men had dreams: Heumann, to become a world-renowned photographer, and Bellusci, to rebuild his family's famous hostelry, the Fondaco del Fico, in Calabria. These disparate dreams, however, eventually put the two men at odds with each other, leading to a family vendetta. It is this story that young Florian uncovers when he and his family resettle from Hamburg to his mother's native Roccalba in the south of Italy. The central focus in the novel is the exploration of three generations of Belluscis. The first generation features another Giorgio, host of the family inn in 1835 when the famous writer Alexander Dumas was a guest. A journal left behind by the writer has become a family heirloom. The inn burned to the ground during the tenure of Florian's grandfather, and the man was always at pains to rectify that loss. However, each of Giorgio's attempts to rebuild was met with some sort of disaster or another.

Reviewing Between Two Seas in Mostly Fiction, Mary Whipple noted, "Abate, an exciting writer and great story-teller, creates atmospheres and family dynamics which resonate with the reader." Whipple found the characters "sensitively and beautifully developed." Whipple concluded: "Violent and tender, cruel and sensitive, emotional and thoughtful, brutal and magical, this novel reproduces the ancient rhythms of a small Italian town in a remote area populated by people who live by tradition and family values." Similarly, a critic for Kirkus Reviews found Between Two Seas "a moving portrayal of generational continuity, subtly fashioned as an enigmatic tale whose knottiest puzzles lay claim to and enhance the reader's fascination." Likewise, a Publishers Weekly reviewer noted, "Abate populates this magical novel with a cast of captivating, emotionally complex characters … with poetic affection."



Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2007, review of Between Two Seas.

Publishers Weekly, October 29, 2007, review of Between Two Seas, p. 32.


Carmine Abate Home Page,http://www.carmineabate.net (July 23, 2008).

Europa Editions Web site,http://www.europaeditions.com/ (July 23, 2008), "Carmine Abate."

Festivaletteratura,http://www.festivaletteratura.it/ (July 23, 2008), "Carmine Abate."

Mostly Fiction,http://www.mostlyfiction.com/ (February 28, 2008), Mary Whipple, review of Between Two Seas.

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