On May 28 at BEA, Italian writer Giorgio Fontana spoke with PW’s Mark Rotella about his new novel Death of a Happy Man, published by Sellerio Editore in 2014. The novel garnered several Italian book awards, including the Racalmare-Leonardo Sciascia award and the Premio Campiello (which includes such previous winners as Primo Levi, Ignazio Silone, and Antonio Tabucchi).

The novel follows the life of magistrate Giacomo Colnaghi, who leads an investigation into a group of young terrorists responsible for the murder of a politician. It takes place in 1981, at the end of the “years of lead,” a time of political turmoil in Italy from the 1960s to the early 1980s. During the interview, Fontana spoke about his literary inspirations—Franz Kafka and Don DeLillo among them—but also about his interest in exploring that tumultuous era of Italy’s history.

His novels have been translated into nearly a dozen languages. After the lecture, Fontana was greeted by American publishers interested in acquiring translation rights for his book.