Sandra Ozzla Ferri and Sandro Ferri
PW talks with Sandro Ferri and Sandra Ozzola Ferri
BY CARRIE TUH Y
Sandro Ferri and Sandra Ozzola Ferri, the
husband-and-wife team behind Edizioni
E/O, a leading publisher of Italian fiction
since 1979, are also the founders of Europa
Editions, which has offices in New York and
London and foreign literature in English
translation. Since Europa launched in 2005,
it has released translations of books by
more than 120 authors from 30 different
countries, bringing high-quality international fiction to American and British audiences. (Europa’s New York office is
directed by Kent Carroll and the London
office is headed up by Daniela Petracco.)
The house is dedicated to the Ferris’ belief that
literature “can help people to understand and
respect each other.” Among Europa’s successes
is The Elegance of the Hedgehog by French
author Muriel Barbery, which has sold more than
one million copies in English and made the New
York Times bestseller list. In 2014, Europa’s reclusive Italian author Elena Ferrante captivated
American reviewers and readers alike with Those
Who Stay and Those Who Leave, the third of her
Neapolitan Novels. According to Sandra, Ferrante
has just delivered the fourth installment in the
series, which is scheduled to appear in English
in fall 2015. Here the talented couple talk about
publishing and how they divide the work, and
Whose idea was it to start Europa?
Sandro Ferri: It was my idea. It was political. Following 9/11,
I kept thinking it would be a good idea to draw America into
closer proximity with the rest of the world.
Sandra Ozzola Ferri: I immediately liked Sandro’s idea. It
was time for us to grow as a company, and, instead of staying in
Italy, stealing authors from other publishers, and being stolen
from, it seemed more interesting to come to the U.S. and address
an area that was neglected: translated fiction.
Who does what at Europa?
Sandro: We have no individual titles. We’re both publishers,
and for us being publishers means doing whatever is needed,
performing whatever role our profession calls for.
Sandra: Sandro is always reading, and he reads all kinds of
things. But he doesn’t intellectualize too much. He is a good
businessman: courageous but cautious, creative but with a sense
of reality. And he does the math. This is why I trust him and
believe in his ventures.
Sandro: Sandra is much more determined than I am. When she
believes in something, she really follows through on it. She is
also more perceptive. I wouldn’t have founded these publishing
houses without her.