Carlo Pizzati is a Swiss-born fiction and non-fiction writer and an award-winning journalist who has published the memoirs “Bending over Backwards” and “Mappillai,” “Edge of an Era” (non-fiction), the novels “Criminàl” and “Nimodo,” the short stories “Il Passo che Cerchi,” and the travelogue “Tecnosciamani“. He has lectured at New York University, Columbia University, Yonsei University (Seoul), Università Ca’Foscari (Venice), Università La Sapienza (Rome). He lives with his wife near a fishermen’s village in India where he writes about Asia for the Italian national daily La Stampa and cultural essays and editorials for the Indian national daily The Hindu. He’s an adjunct professor teaching communication theory at the Asian College of Journalism in Chennai and he’s also developing a project with his teenage son to produce affordable football shoes for Indian girls.
Carlo is a seasoned journalist who has worked for over sixteen years for the Italian national daily newspaper La Repubblica, corresponding from New York, Rome, Mexico City, Buenos Aires and Madrid. He’s covered the Northern Ireland strife, guerrilla war in Colombia, the narcos business in the Andes, illegal immigrant smuggling in Mexico, civil rights battles in Chile, pro-environment militancy in the French atoll of Mururoa, and the GMO battle in Europe and the US.
Over the course of his career, Carlo has also been political talk show host in Italy, a stringer for the WGBH-BBC ‘PRI–The World’ radio, a contributor to the Associated Press, Vanity Fair (Italy) and GQ.
Wry, witty and wise by turns, his latest memoir “Bending over Backwards – a journey to the end of the world to cure a chronic backache” (Harper Collins 2019) is a book about self-discovery, facing fears and failures, and undertaking an arduous journey with an open mind and heart.
#1 bestseller on Amazon in the Travel Writing & Hot New Releases categories
In this intrepid and humorous travelogue, Carlo Pizzati embarks on a quest to find a cure for a backache that has tortured him for twenty years. Armed with his notebook, his experience as a veteran reporter for one of Italy’s largest dailies, and an indomitable spirit of adventure, Carlo travels from a posturologist’s office in Italy to the rarefied mountain air of Boulder to seek a variety of alternative cures; from a trance-dance venue hidden in the woods of Cinque Terre to an exorcist-shaman’s den in Buenos Aires, who photographs demons and auras. Eventually, Carlo lands in India, to live and learn from the yogis at the Ashtanga yoga centre in Mysore. Here, as Carlo engages in strenuous yogic discipline, meditates atop hills, investigates Ayurveda, he has an explosive insight into his past births which leads to an encounter that will change his life forever. Along the way, our skeptical, suffering but always curious narrator discovers the ways in which spirituality and technology intersect.
“A brilliant account of the many methods tried and what worked. Written beautifully.” Kabir Bedi.
“Full of wit & interesting Indian experiences” PG Sibbal-Hindustan Times
His previous memoir, Mappilai (son-in-law in Tamil) is the rollicking story of a European living with his in-laws in urban Chennai and with his wife in the coastal village of Paramankeni. There, he finds himself in the company of fishermen and goat-herders, in a house where 3G asserts itself in a corner of the bathroom and electricity courses in fits and starts.
At one level, “Mappillai an Italian son-in-law in India” (Simon & Schuster, 2018) is deeply personal. With beguiling candour, Carlo tells of his struggle with contradictory responses to India—fascination and suspicion—and his awkward attempts at cruising through a maze of bribery, bureaucracy and traffic.
With wry humour and jollity, wisdom and acceptance, Mapillai offers an intimate capsule of contemporary Indian history—of the concomitant Hinduization and Westernization of India, intertwined with the Indianization of a European!
Chosen by Amazon as one of the Traveller’s Book Store: Exploring India titles.
“The book is entertaining, philosophical and insightful at once” Neha Bhandarkar The New Indian Express Oct. 2018
“A lyrical, stream-of-consciousness narrative” Deepa Alexander The Hindu Oct. 2018
“Mappillai is part love story, part memoir, part philosophical musings.” R. Krithika The Hindu Sunday magazine Oct. 2018
“A hilarious account about being a son-in-law in Southern India.” Daily Mirror Jan. 2019
“Mappillai is a serious book in funny clothes…part-memoir, part-philosophical book in the migrant literature genre.” Manasa R. The New Indian Express Oct. 2018
“A light-hearted memoir” The Times of India Oct. 2018
“It’s a familiar story, yet quite out of the ordinary. It’s a tale of exploration, and a love story.” Prannay – The Hindustan Times Jan. 2019
“For travellers, lovers, literati and, yes, even sons-in-law, Mappillai is an enjoyable, moving and worthwhile read” Rohini Malur – Provoke Lifestyle magazine Dec. 2018
“A self-aware India book about personal experiences mildly extrapolated to larger issues, but working hard to undermine the Western gaze.” S. Meghani The Telegraph Oct. ’18
“An endearing personalised account.” Speaking Tree – Times of India Nov. 2018
“The memoir’s emotional register is vast.” Urvashi Bahuguna – OPEN Nov. 2018
His previous book “Edge of an Era” (Juggernaut 2017) throws lights on where we are in geopolitics and where we are going, but also explores what it means to be a nationalist and a globalist, what it feels to “become a European” and see that identity under threat among the global influences of thinkers and philosophers in the transformation of the world.
His most recent novel “Nimodo” (Feltrinelli 2014) is an on the road love story throughout Latin America, set among Farc and Zapatista guerrilla at the turn of the last century.
His previous novel “Criminàl” was very well received by critics and readers when it was published in 2011 in Italy.
His first creative non-fiction book, “Tecnosciamani” was first published in 2010 and printed its second edition in 2012.
In 2012 he also published the first collection of short stories and photographs “Il passo che cerchi”.
Journalistic background: For 16 years he’s written for the major Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica, first from its New York Bureau, from ’87 to ’93, then based at the Foreign Desk in Rome, covering the International Environmentalism beat and Northern Ireland until ’97. He wrote from Latin America from ’97 to 2000, first from Mexico City, then Buenos Aires, covering presidential elections and feature stories in the entire continent.He’s produced and directed 30 investigative TV documentaries for Italian national prime time TV show “Report” (RAI3), of which he’s been producer and contributor in 2001.
He’s been editor in chief of an Internet website in Madrid (Kataweb España) and of Italy’s most viewed website (www.virgilio.it) in Milan.
He won the Igor Man Prize (2017) for a story on Islamic divorce in India and the Leonardo International Prix for a documentary on transgenic food, “The disfigured gene” (REPORT Rai3). He also received two honourable mentions and prizes at Festival Archipelago for “A circular embrace” on neo-melodic singers in Naples and Festival Toni Corti for “The worst thing I’ve done in the last ten years”.
He’s worked as a host and producer of “Omnibus”, a live daily television morning political talk show he started at national network La 7 in 2002.
As a young reporter he’s also been an intern for The Associated Press in Rome and a radio stringer and feature contributor for The World-Public Radio International a WGBH-BBC joint venture
He also has written screenplays for cinema, articles for magazines and newspapers and kept blogs for “il Fatto Quotidiano,” (national newspaper), “il Post” (Italy’s n. 1 blog); “Doppiozero” (cultural magazine) with “Indian Polaroids” and, in Spanish, with “El quinto pino” for “LNMO.”
Conferences on foreign policy, theory of communication and literature: from ’87 until today – Italian Cultural Institute, NY; New York University; Columbia University; Loyola University in Rome; main guest Palazzo Festari (Italy) – Guanxinet (2010, 2011, 2012, 2015); panelist and moderator at the Jaipur Literature Festival (2013); panelist Ncell Nepal literature Festival in Kathmandu (2014); panelist Tata Lit Live! Mumbai International Literature Festival (2016 & 2018); Bangalore Literature Festival (2016); Brahmaputra Literary Festival (2017); Ubud Writers and Readers Literary Festival (2018) Member of Tandem Research Technology Foresight Group on the Future of Work in India, in collaboration with the International Labor Organisation. (2017)
Seminars and courses:
- Teaching a yearly post-graduate communication theory course about how Internet is affecting the way we absorb and communicate knowledge. “The Independent Gaze – the metastasis of communication and the anorexia of information” at the Asian College of Journalism in Chennai, India since 2014.
- Lecture on Fiction and Non-Fiction at Columbia University Fiction Workshop Class April 2019.
- Workshop on Life Writing for Tata Lit Live (Mumbai) – Nov. 2018
- Guest lecturer Yonsei University (Seoul, S. Korea) on dreams and literature, cinema and literature and life writing (Nov. 2018)
- Guest Lecturer at New York University (Abu Dhabi) with the seminars “The Art of Asking Questions” & “The Post-Truth Political Discourse” Sept. 2016 and on “Crisis Management” Nov. 2016. “Connecting Asia” Nov. 2019.
- Guest Lecturer at Master of Venice University Ca’ Foscari (Italian Global Approach to Management in India) with the seminar “Defeating stereotypes and culture shock in order to communicate better in a global context” (Summer 2015 – Venice).
- Lecturer on Ethics and the Press Trento University.
- Curator of seminar on “Ethics and Information” in New York.
- Lecturer on “Bastard Journalism” La Sapienza University (Rome).
(VIDEO reel with clips from literature festivals, tv interviews and shows and more)
Prizes and Fellowships – Mentor at Columbia University (’89-’93); Advisory Committee Columbia Alumni Association, Chennai (present); Writers’ grant juror for Civitella Ranieri Foundation 2012; Juror for the FilmMinute International Festival 2011 and for the Touring Club Giovani documentary contest 2014.
Guest Fellow Civitella Ranieri Foundation, Castle of Civitella, Umbertide (Italy), May 2018. – The White House Farm residency, Great Glemham, Suffolk, UK, August 2018.
Winner of the Leonardo International Prix for best documentary 2000; honorable mentions at Film Festival Archipelago and Festival Toni Corti.
Bio and Education:
Born in 1966 in Geneva, Switzerland, he’s grown up in a town north of Venice, Valdagno, until he turned 16, when he moved to Pensacola, Florida for almost four years.
Then he lived in Washington D.C. (where he graduated from The American University), and later New York (Master in Journalism, Columbia University, class of ’89).
Carlo Pizzati è un autore di libri di narrativa e di non-fiction e sceneggiature per il cinema. Vive poco lontano da un villaggio di pescatori in Tamil Nadu (India), lavorando ai suoi libri e scrivendo di Asia per La Stampa.
Nel 2019 è uscito il suo memoir più recente “Bending over Backwards – a journey to the end of the world to cure a chronic back ache” salito al primo posto nei bestseller su Amazon nelle categorie di Libri di Viaggio e di Novità Editoriali. Nel 2018 è uscito “Mappillai – an Italian son-in-law in India” edito da Simon & Schuster, consigliato da Amazon Traveller’s Bookstore. Nel 2017 ha pubblicato in inglese il saggio “Edge of an Era” (Juggernaut). Nel 2014 è uscito il suo secondo romanzo con l’editore Feltrinelli, “Nimodo“. Nel 2012 è uscita la seconda edizione di “Tecnosciamani” (Il Punto d’Incontro) e la traduzione in inglese con il titolo “Technoshamans” oltre alla raccolta di resoconti letterari e fotografie “Il passo che cerchi” (Edelweiss 2012). Nel 2011 è uscito il primo romanzo: “Criminàl” (Fbe Edizioni). Nel 2010 è stata pubblicata la prima edizione di “Tecnosciamani – tra spiritualità e tecnologia: viaggio ai confini del mondo per curare un mal di schiena cronico” (Fbe Edizioni).
Collabora con la Stampa dall’Asia, con base in India, e con riviste letterarie, magazine e quotidiani. Ha tenuto un blog su il Post, su il Fatto Quotidiano, su “Doppiozero” con la rubrica “Indian Polaroids” e in spagnolo su “LMNO” con “El quinto pino”.
Nel 2005 è stato direttore della Cardam Pictures (Londra).
Dal 2002 al 2004 è stato direttore editoriale del portale Virgilio.it (Milano) per il quale ha tenuto anche una rubrica on-line.
Nel 2000 ha diretto il portale Internet del gruppo Espresso “Kataweb Spagna,” a Madrid.
Dal ’97 al 2000, per il quotidiano “Repubblica”, il sito e le riviste del gruppo “Espresso”, ha seguito elezioni presidenziali e scritto reportage dall’America Latina, prima con base a Città del Messico, poi a Buenos Aires. Da New York, ha seguito la guerra in Kosovo e le accuse di impeachment al presidente Clinton, per Repubblica.
Dall’87, a 21 anni da poco compiuti, fino al ’93, ha scritto per “Repubblica” e “Il Venerdì” dalla redazione di New York.
Conferenze di politica estera e teoria della comunicazione dall’87 a oggi – Italian Cultural Institute, NY; New York University; Columbia University; Loyola University a Roma; Palazzo Festari (Italia); Guanxinet; ospite e moderatore al Jaipur Literature Festival 2013, panelist Ncell Nepal literature Festival, Kathmandu 2014; panelist Tata Lit Live! Mumbai International Literature Festival e Bangalore Literature Festival, 2016, Brahmaputra Literary Festival (Guwahati 2017). Membro del Technology Foresight Group on the “Future of Work in India” del think tank Tandem Research in collaborazione con l’Organizzazione Internazionale del Lavoro (Goa 2017)
Seminari e corsi: Tiene un corso postgraduate presso l’università di Madras al Asian College of Journalism dal titolo: “Lo sguardo indipendente – la metastasi della comunicazione e l’anoressia dell’informazione”. Guest Lecturer alla New York University Abu Dhabi con i seminari “L’Arte di Fare Domande” e “Il discorso politico post-verità ” Sett. 2016 e su “Crisis Management” Nov. 2016; Docente del Master IGAMI dell’Università Ca’ Foscari di Venezia (Italian Global Approach to Management in India) con il seminario “Debellare stereotipi e shock culturale per comunicare meglio in un contesto globale” (2015). Università di Trento, relatore. Curatore del seminario “Ethics and Information” a New York. Serie di conferenze sul “Giornalismo Bastardo” presso l’Università La Sapienza (Roma).
Premi e fellowship – Tutor alla Columbia University (’89-’93); Advisory Committee Columbia Alumni Association, Chennai; Giurato alla Civitella Ranieri Foundation 2012; Giurato per il FilmMinute International Festival 2011 and per il premio Touring Club Giovani 2014.
Guest Fellow Civitella Ranieri Foundation, Castello di Civitella, Umbertide, Maggio 2018 e presso la White House Farm, Glemham, Suffolk, UK, agosto 2018.
Ha ricevuto il Premio Igor Man per un articolo sul divorzio islamico in India (2017) ed è Vincitore del Leonardo International Prix come miglior documentario 2000; honorable mentions al Film Festival Archipelago e al Festival Toni Corti.
Vita e studi:
È nato a Ginevra nel 1966 ed è cresciuto fino a 16 anni a Valdagno, in provincia di Vicenza. Dopo due anni al liceo Ginnasio G.G. Trissino, nell’82 si è trasferito a Pensacola (Florida) dove si è diplomato e ha iniziato l’Università. Si è laureato in Scienze Politiche ed Economia all’American University di Washington D.C. Nell’89 ha conseguito un Master in Giornalismo presso la Columbia University di New York.