Italian writer Michela Murgia dies aged 51

Murgia died in Rome after battle with cancer.

Michela Murgia, the award-winning Italian writer, intellectual and activist, died in Rome on Thursday aged 51, a few months after announcing that she had stage four kidney cancer.

A prominent feminist and champion of liberal values, Murgia spoke out frequently on themes including LGBTQ+ rights and euthanasia, penning opinion articles for newspapers and speaking in public debates.

Born in Cabras, Sardinia in 1972, Murgia studied theology and began her career as a religion teacher before publishing her first work, Il mondo deve sapere (The World Must Know) in 2006.

This tragicomic novel about the world of call centres inspired the play of the same name, adapted by David Emmer, as well as the 2008 film Tutta la vita davanti by Paolo Virzì.

In 2008 she published the travel book Viaggio in Sardegna and in 2009 her novel Accabadora established her as one of the most important authors of a new generation of Italian writers, winning the Premio Campiello and the Mondello International Literary Prize.

In 2011 she published Ave Maria, a reflection on the role of women in a Catholic context, and in 2013 she co-authored L’ho uccisa perché l’amavo. Falso! with Loredana Lipperini, which tackled violence against women in Italy.

In 2018 she wrote a manual on How to be a Fascist, an ironic look at the logic that attracts increasing numbers of voters to right-wing populism.

In July of this year she married actor and director Lorenzo Terenzi surrounded by a circle of close companions she referred to as her “queer family”.