Nobel Prize Recipient. Grazia Deledda received international notoriety as an Italian author when she was awarded the 1926 Nobel Prize for Literature. She received the coveted award, according to the Nobel Prize committee, "for her idealistically inspired writings which with plastic clarity picture the life on her native island and with depth and sympathy deal with human problems in general.” She was the first Italian woman to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature, and the second woman to receive this honor. She refused any public celebration of her award or interviews from reporters. She received 18 nominations for the Nobel Prize candidacy, with a member of the Swedish Academy nominating her twice. She and her husband arrived in Stockholm for the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony held on December 10, 1927, where this shy woman gave the shortest ever acceptance speech. Born Grazia Maria Cosima Damiana Deledda, her father was a farm owner and she had six siblings. Her father had attended a university but her mother was illiterate. Her grandparents were Sardinian peasants. She authored thirty-three novels and many books of short stories, which almost all of them with a Sardinian locale. Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, after Sicily. Her education was limited as she could only attend the local school until she was about eleven years old. She received private lessons from a school teacher, who was a lodger in a relative’s house. The teacher soon recognized her writing abilities, publishing a few of her stories in the local newspaper. Besides learning about writing, she was taught the Italian language as her native language was Sardinian. At thirteenth, she mailed a story to a fashion magazine and it was successfully published. Countess Maria Manca , the editor of the magazine, proved to be a supporter of her writing for many years. A collection of short stories, “In the Blue” was 1890. She published her first novel, “Flower of Sardina” in 1892 by sending the draft to a publisher, asking, “Will you publish this?” At first, she was not being paid for her publications. Isolated in a rural, conservative environment, not everyone supported her efforts to be a writer. After her father died in 1892, her family life was in chaos. On January 11, 1900 she married a member of the Italian Ministry of Finance and relocated to Rome; she was 28 years old. She had two sons by 1904. Her first major success was her novel “Elias Portolu” in 1903, which was translated from her native tongue into all the European languages. Her novel “Cenere” in 1904, was adapted into a silent film in 1916. Other writings were adapted for the stage and for opera. Among her better-known works are "Reeds in the Wind" in 1913; “The Mother and the Priest” in 1922, which was translated into English; and her semi-autobiographical novel, “Land in the Wind,” in 1931. After receiving the Nobel Prize, she published two collections of short stories, “The Poet's House” in 1930 and “Summer Sun” in 1933. Two of her novels were published posthumously, “Cosima “ in 1937 and “The Cedar of Lebanon” in 1939. Her husband’s profession caused the family to travel around Europe. In 1910, for example, they spent the year in Paris. She wrote about the human happenings and coping. The common trait of all her later writings is a constant faith in mankind and in God. Her writing reflected her critical views of social values and norms and how they victimized ordinary people. Critics have reported that her writings do not show a woman as being independent but subserviate and suffering, yet she wrote about a certain time and location, when women were not independent. She battled breast cancer for several years, undergoing two surgeries, before dying of the disease. Her birthplace home, which is located in one of the oldest parts of Seuna, was declared a national heritage building and purchased in 1968 by the government. Her bust is on display in Pincio in Rome.
Bio by: Linda Davis
She was originally buried in Rome. After World War II and with her family's petition, her remains were taken to the Church of Our Lady of Solitude , and placed near the alter.