Buffi, Roberta 1968–

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Buffi, Roberta 1968–

PERSONAL: Born October 22, 1968, in Fernignano, Italy; daughter of Nando and Serenella (Saraga) Buffi; married Jesús Marchante Collado (a bank clerk and painter), August 3, 2002. Education: Attended University of Edinburgh, 1988, and University of Klagenfurt, 1991, 1994; graduated from University of Florence, 1994; University of Western Australia, Ph.D., 1998. Religion: Roman Catholic. Hobbies and other interests: Music, painting, cinema, theater.

ADDRESSES: Home—C/Iturbe 3-3-D, Madrid, Spain 28028.

CAREER: Tranchida Editore (publisher), Milan, Italy, assistant publisher, 1999; ASTEX, Madrid, Spain, teacher of English and Italian, 2000–. Liceo Italiano, teacher of English, 2003–; also translator and consultant to publishers, 2000–. University of Florence, member of research group for Australian studies, beginning 1994.


Bronzi (poetry), illustrated by Jesús Marchante, PulcinoElefante (Osnago, Italy), 2000.

Between Literature and Painting: Three Australian Women Writers, Peter Lang Publishing (New York, NY), 2002.

Lisbona (poetry), illustrated by Jesús Marchante, PulcinoElefante (Osnago, Italy), 2004.

Contributor to books, including Changing Geographies: Essays on Australia, edited by Susan Ballyn and others, Center for Australian Studies, University of Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain), 2001. Contributor of articles and reviews to periodicals, including Antipodes, Imago, Outskirts, Alternatives, and Westerly.


Brenda Walker, Crush: Una Storia Australiana (title means "Crush: An Australian Story"), Tranchida (Milan, Italy), 1997.

Gail Jones, Vitte reticcio (title means "Fetish Lives"), Tranchida (Milan, Italy), 1998.

Beth Yahp, La ruria del coccodrillo (title means "The Crocodile Fury"), Tranchida (Milan, Italy), 1998.

Gail Jones, La casa del respiro (title means "The House of Breathing"), Tranchida (Milan, Italy), 1999.

(With Carmine Mezzacappa) Willima McIlvanney, Le carte di Tony Veitch (title means "The Paper of Tony Veitch"), Tranchida (Milan, Italy), 2000.

WORK IN PROGRESS: A novel; a collection of poems and a collection of short stories in Italian.

SIDELIGHTS: Roberta Buffi told CA: "I don't know whether I can be considered a writer. I prefer to consider myself an aspiring writer. To me, writer is too big a word; in fact, I still tend to see it towering with its capital letter, Writer, its weight almost crushing me with the force of intimidation. I am aware of the fact that my statement might raise a few eyebrows, especially in our postmodern era; yet, mine is merely a question of awe I feel before great writers (please, don't call me reactionary, perhaps I am just a bit nostalgic, or old-fashioned, or I am simply inclined to enthusing over those who write great literature and thus deserve a capital letter). That is why I believe that once you have published a book or two does not necessarily mean that you are a writer, or that you have become one. You possibly have become an ac-cidental writer; later, depending on talent and strong will, you may turn into a professional writer, or a publishing-market-driven writer, or, according to the varying whims of destiny, just remain a recreational writer who writes out of passion and vocation (which means that you will keep working as a civil servant or as a broker to earn a living). Only in rare cases, limited to the quirks of both fate and genius, you may be a Writer.

"So far, I have written mainly on academic issues: a monograph, literary essays, reviews. However, my current interest and endeavor, as I would call it, are to write fiction, and this is what I have been focusing on recently. With some discipline and luck, in a few years' time I hope to be still able to consider myself an aspiring writer.

"Why is a person compelled to write in the first place? In my case it was the fascination I felt for words, for their musicality, for the magic writers and poets create by combining them in a boundless range of possibilities. Since I was a young reader, I have been enthralled by the ability some writers have to convey thoughts and stories beautifully into their narratives.

"As a young student in Florence, I opted for poetry in order to break the ice; I believed that it was the easiest step, perhaps because it allows you brevity, but I was wrong, as poetry is a genre which requires skills and a fine ear for words, which must be picked up and brought together in a way that makes sense and is suggestive at the same time, which is rather demanding. I remember feeling a tremendous shyness and even embarrassment before the very first poem I wrote; I thought it was pointless and dull. I still feel the same when I am about to read something that I have written, as there is always this sense of insecurity and almost shame lingering. The next move, a few years later, was to writing a novel—three monologues on death, which has always been one of my main concerns (death, and the impossibility of the human being to accept it)—and afterwards to a collection of short stories, which is still in progress.

"For me, writing is a struggle and sometimes a painful process whenever I decide to sit and try to shape some raw thoughts or random hints that may build up a story, which I can postpone for weeks, or even months. Yet it is the most rewarding and fulfilling of experiences. The most intriguing aspect to it is how one word leads to the next; how one idea leads to unexpected ideas; how the description of some detail can reveal a totally unpredicted story, or a whole universe you couldn't have pictured when you had switched on the computer. This is also the most surprising thing about the writing process: characters, landscapes and narratives you didn't know were there, and were hidden somewhere in your mind, just waiting to be brought to light. Along with them, there are parts of yourself that eventually surface: sides you had ignored, fears you had concealed, woes you had preferred to bury, until you come to terms with them again and write them out.

"I hope that my work is not influenced by any writer, in spite of the unconditional admiration I have for some. Looking for my own voice and my own literary style is one of my main challenges when I write."



Australian Literary Studies, October, 2003, Alison Bartlett, review of Between Literature and Painting: Three Australian Women Writers, p. 217.

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