Events, Milan


On April 17th and 18th 2024, at Circolo Filologico in Milan, Miu Miu hosted its inaugural Literary Club “Writing Life”, curated by Olga Campofreda – writer and researcher in Italian culture, language and literature – and bringing back into focus the work of writers Alba De Céspedes and Sibilla Aleramo, alongside conversations, live performances and entertainment. Further enhancing Miu Miu’s commitment to contemporary thought and education and inspired by Europe’s rich heritage of literary salons and artist collectives, the two-day event was an animated and considered reflection on the lives of women past and present as expressed through the written word.

Alba De Cespedes’ gem of 1950s literature, Forbidden Notebook, remains central to the debate around women’s identity and their space in contemporary society. On April 17, following a reading from the text by actor and model Tina Kunakey, Pulitzer prize winner Jumpha Lahiri, Strega prize finalist Claudia Durastanti and award-winning filmmaker and writer Sheila Heti conversed on the dilemmas and joys that come from balancing womanhood and creativity, starting from their own lived experience and exploring the literary foremothers who have inspired their practise. The panel was moderated by writer, curator and broadcaster, Lou Stoppard.

Written almost half a century before that, Sibilla Aleramo’s A Woman is widely considered to be Italy’s first feminist novel. On April 18, actor Bel Powley read from this seminal text opening a panel discussion comprising Campiello Opera Prima winner Viola Di Grado, Booker prize long-listed author Selby Wynn Schwartz and Xiaolu Guo, a Chinese-born British novelist, memoirist and film-maker (National Book Critics Circle Award 2017) moderated by author, presenter and journalist Zing Tsjeng. Speaking about their everyday and creative lives, their thoughts about family, motherhood and work interacted with those of this great literary teacher from the past.

Similarly resonant poetry readings and live music performances took place in the afternoons: writer and multidisciplinary performer Serena Braida, Hackney based rapper, poet and producer John Glacier, singer-songwriter, producer and poet Arlo Parks, producer and singer, with a background in both the visual and performing arts Mathilde Fernandez and London born artist, musician and producer Aziya.

A list of international guests attended the event, including Alessandra Airò, Zawe Ashton, Douglas Booth, Edoardo Conti, Poppy Delevingne, Anna Dello Russo, Andrea Faccio, Simone Farresin, Veronica Ferraro, Tina Kunakey, Amina Ladymya, Marta Losito, Korlan Madi, Ginevra Mavilla, Francesca Michielin, Olympia of Greece, Bel Powley, Gaia Repossi, Valentina Romani, Carlo Sestini, Mattia Stanga, Paolo Stella, Andrea Trimarchi, Bethan Laura Wood, Niki Wu Jie.
Miu Miu Literary Club is the latest in a series of cultural experiences, devised and supported by Miu Miu, to promote the arts. These include Women’s Tales, an initiative designed to facilitate female film directors, now in its 27th iteration, and collaborations with multi-disciplinary artists for collections and fashion show presentations.

Both “Forbidden Notebook” and “A Woman” were gifted to all present, wrapped in special Miu Miu packaging.


April 17th
3:30pm: Conversation “ALBA DE CÉSPEDES” Creative spaces, creative time
Moderated by writer and curator Lou Stoppard

What does it mean for a woman to find her own voice beyond her gendered roles as mother, spouse, housewife, worker? What Alba De Céspedes wrote in Forbidden Notebook, first published in 1950, is back at the centre of today’s debate on women’s identity and space in our society.

Extract read by Tina Kunakey

Jhumpa Lahiri, Claudia Durastanti, Sheila Heti
Afternoon programming: Readings, live performances and hospitality

Poetry reading by Serena Braida

Live performance by John Glacier

Headline performance by Arlo Parks


April 18th
3:30pm: Conversation “SIBILLA ALERAMO”
Our brilliant sisters
Moderated by author, presenter and journalist Zing Tsjeng

First published in 1906, A Woman by Sibilla Aleramo is considered Italy’s first feminist novel. It is an intimate, personal memoir as well as a passionate discussion on motherhood, marriage and freedom. A dialogue discussing the role of love in women’s empowered lives, the impact of female friendship and the legacy of past women writers.

Extract read by Bel Powley

Selby Wynn Schwartz, Viola Di Grado, Xiaolu Guo

Afternoon programming: Readings, live performances and hospitality
Live performance by John Glacier
Live performance by Mathilde Fernandez

Headline performance by Aziya



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