Born in Reggio Emilia in 1947, Ermanno Cavazzoni has published more than 25 works including, stories, novels, and literary studies, with an inimitable, peculiar vision that is absurdist, comic, spare, and melancholic. A selection of titles might provide a glimpse into his world: Guide to Fantastic Animals, The Epic of the Lunatics, Useless Writers, and, from 1994, Brief Lives of Idiots, from which the following selection is drawn. He teaches poetics and rhetoric at the University of Bologna, and is a member of the OpLePo collective, an Italian group dedicated to experimental linguistics in the vein of France’s OuLiPo.
Two of his novels have been translated into English, The Nocturnal Library (Vagabond Voices, 2010) and Voice of the Moon (Serpent’s Tail, 1990). Two other selections from Brief Lives of Idiots have been published in English online at World Literature Today, translated by Jamie Richards (https://www.worldliteraturetoday.org/2011/july/two-fictions-ermanno-cavazzoni).