Lily Prior is a British novelist whose works are often "set in a lush, rural Italian landscape where women have scents that set the hillsides a-tingle and food has supernatural properties," as New York Times Book Review critic Liesl Schillinger noted. She is the author of La Cucina, Nectar, Ardour and Cabaret. Prior's books have been translated into French, Dutch, German, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish, among other languages. She divides her time between London and Italy.
Lily Prior's website
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A Conversation with Lily Prior
How would you summarize La Cucina?
A delicious tale of risotto and rumpy-pumpy.
Describe your travels in Italy and how they related to the inspiration for and creation of this book.
I knew from the very beginning that Sicily would be the setting for La Cucin a larger-than-life backdrop for my larger-than-life heroine, Rosa Fiore. This magical island has all the ingredients I needed: Mediterranean sun, light, color and culture: intense heat inspiring intense passions; a culinary tradition that exalts the concentrated flavors of the island's food; an air of mystery and melancholy; the fascination of the mafia; the dark, deserted alleyways of downtown Palermo; the danger and disappearances; the crumbling palazzi, the quirky characters; curiosities like the miles of expensive autostrada on stilts that lead precisely nowhere, and of course, the volcano; I like volcanoes.
What ideas came first in the process of writing this novel? Did you conceive of the setting, the plot, or a particular character first?
What came first were the very clear ideas of the central characters, Rosa and l'Inglese. Their shared passion for food was what led to their extraordinary love affair, so the...
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