Ioana Morpurgo was born in Southern Romania in 1980. She holds a BA in Romanian-English Studies from the University of Bucharest and an MA in Cultural Anthropology from the National School of Political and Administrative Studies, Bucharest.
She researched the culture of transition in post-communist societies at Exeter University, UK, where is also taught a seminar on Contemporary Societies. She is the author of three novels (Registration File, The Immigrants and Shrapnel) and has contributed to several proze and essay anthologies worldwide. She has written articles, essays and short stories for publications such as Romȃnia Literară, Dilema Veche, Academia Cațavencu, Observator Cultural, New Internationalist, Contemporary Review, Lichtungen, Buchkultur, etc. In 2016, following the Brexit Referendum in UK, she organized a sesies of lectures and public debates on the theme of Europe -common spirit. Since 2004, Ioana Morpurgo lives in UK, where she writes and coordinates a project celebrating ideas – Lectures on Everything.
She is an activist of human rights and the environment, a member of the Romanian Union of Writers, of PEN Club Romania and of Green Party UK.
– link to personal sites :
Fișa de înregistrare, (Registration File), Polirom, EgoProză, 2004 ; ( Prometheus prize for debut, 2004, granted by Fundația Anonimul, shortlisted for the debut prize of România Literară, 2004)
Imigranții, (The Immigrants) Polirom, EgoProză, 2011 ; (shortlisted for KulturKontakt prize , Austria, 2012, )
Schije – partea de hubris (Shrapnel – the hubris part) volum I of The H Trilogy, Polirom, EgoProză, 2017 ; (shortlisted for Nepotu’ lui Thoreau prize, 2017)
Curator of and contributor to Airborne Particles – a renga poem, (spring-summer 2020) a collective poem written during lockdown by 100 poets from 47 countries, exploring the theme of isolation.
Curator of Airborne Particles – the film
Translator of Airborne Partciles in Romanian.
10.000 de semne. Antologia de proză contemporană ( 10.000 characters),ICR, 2017 ;
Povești cu scriitoare și copii, (Stories of Women writers and Children) Ed. Polirom, 2014;
Best of. Proza scurtă a anilor 2000, (Best of. Short Stories of 2000) Ed. Polirom, 2013 ;
Niște bunici, (Some Grnadparents) Editura Humanitas, Bucuresti, 2007 ;
50+1 Scrisori de dragoste iubire amor, (50+1 Love Letters) Ed. Ars Docendi, Bucharest, 2010.;
Letter Home in a Foreign Language. (The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Writing From Post-communist Romania, Dalkey Archive Press, Champaign , London, 2010;
Generația 2000, (Generation 2000), Ed. Pontica, Bucharest, 2004
– link to ebooks:
SHRAPNEL (Polirom, 2017)
Wounded in an ambush, Toma leaves the FOB Tagan-Kutschbach Special Operations Base in Afghanistan, where he has been attached to the Special Forces since 2009, and returns to his native village of Celei. A few months later, he is decorated by President Traian Basescu, but he feels the status of hero in the war against terrorism is incongruous with his personal situation: his wife has been having an affair with a policeman and has decided to run away to Italy with him; he is haunted by the memory of his friend who died on the frontline; the village is in the grip of paralysis, racked with corruption and environmental crisis. The symptoms of PTSD progressively take hold of Toma’s life. The only people he is really able to connect with are his seven-year-old son, a gypsy with whom he went to school, and his friend’s widow, with whom he starts having a purely sexual affair. Flashbacks from the war zone punctuate his everyday life, along with their antidote: memories of childhood. The first part of the H Trilogy, Shrapnel is a novel about violence, awareness, masculinity, memory, and time. It is a novel about institutional clichés, the psychology of crowds, the disintegration of personal identity. And a novel about survival.
THE IMMIGRANTS (Polirom, 2011)
Five figures are projected against the polychromatic backdrop of modern London: Razvan, Maria, Traian, Sabina, and Gruia, each with his or her past and future. Their stories unfold in parallel, with the exception of the aleatory and fleeting moments when they intersect, albeit without consequence. A gay, left-wing PhD student researching CIA black sites on Romanian territory, a second rate painter, an lonely stockbroker, a religious woman looking after a dying old man and UKIP voter, and a slightly autistic gypsy living without official documents, they all have one thing in common: Romanian citizenship. In these five typical lives Ioana Baetica Morpurgo captures the alchemy of one of the most terrible human experiences, that of being uprooted.
REGISTRATION FILE (Polirom, 2004)
Left unattended, in the collective turmoil that followed the fall of the Berlin Wall in Eastern Europe, personal psychologies struggle to maintain a sense of balance. Vlada is a young woman in search of meaning, however disrupted and misplaced, in a country that is yet to find what freedom is for.
“Between manifestos and being part of the new literary generation, Ioana Baetica Morpurgo reclaims a personal style of writing, one in which she is authentically at home and genuinely believes in.” (Marius MIHEȚ)
“What is visible first of all in Ioana Baetica Morpurgo’s work is a good praxis of reading (the author is a philologist by training). She writes with unexpected maturity, in various registers, with a dose of (self-)irony, slightly reflexively, and with plenty of moments of poetic grace, thanks to oneiric/surrealist inserts.” (Marius CHIVU)
“She is authentic, a specialist in parabolic tales, written with great precision and imagination. Her sentences are sinuous, lacking in caprice, the coherence of the images allows the gaze to pierce unhindered to the meaning of the metaphor, and the details are allowed to say their piece.” (Alexandru MATEI)
“Ioana Baetica Morpurgo fits perfectly into the outraged, disabused and cynically provocative new wave of writers currently in fashion. This is a younger generation obsessed with marginalisation, a feeling of its own futility, and the voice crying in the wilderness, a generation that finds escape in slang, vice and textual artifice.” (Dan C. MIHAILESCU)
„The most important of these (qualities of her writing) comes from a vast playful imagination. Restless. As in Regristration File, in The Immigrants there are numerous scenes that seem day-dreamt. Expansions, compressions, deregultions, everything which escapes the restrictive frame of reality.’’ (Cosmin Ciotloș , România literară)
„This novel, which leaves nothing out, neither the poetry, the metaphor, nor the humour, is one of the best published by Polirom since they began promoting contemporary Romanian writing.’’ (Constantin Piștea on Shrapnel)
„ The Immigrants writes up and strongly deconspires issues of politics, sociology, literature, human nature on the backdrop of a consumerist society, in such a way that the meta-narrative becomes another layer of the spectacle, another way of coloring the very space of literature and even of blurring the distinction between artifice and nature.’’ (Gianina Druță, Cultura)
– video link:
‘The Only Role Available To You Is To Conform’ -Women’s Migration Stories, Mădălina Nicolaescu, De Gruyter, 10.15.15/genst 2016-0013
‘We Are All Foreign Here’: Stories of Re/Dis-Location in Ioana Baetica Morpurgo’s Imigranti Between History and Personal Narrative, Cristina Chevereșan, în volumul East European Women’s Stories of Migration in the New Millennium, Publisher: LIT VERLAG, pp.197-210 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/330956999_’We_Are_All_Foreign_Here’_Stories_of_ReDis-Location_in_Ioana_Baetica_Morpurgo’s_Imigrantii
Anteprima : Immigranti di Ioana Baetica Morpurgo, a cura e traduzione di Mauro Barindi, Orizzonti culturali italo-romeni, n. 9, settembre 2012, anno II
Cu cine-aţi votat, domnule Ferguson?, Bianca Burta-Cernat , Observator cultural, nr. 606, 22 decembrie 2011
Recenzie ”Schije” de Ioana Baetica Morpurgo
Cristian Cărpenaru | Nov 7, 2017, www.BookNation.ro
Fişă de înregistrare, Cosmin Ciotloş, România Literară, nr 36, 2011 https://arhiva.romlit.ro/index.pl/fi_de_nregistrare?caut=morpurgo
’’Schije’’ de Ioana Baetica Morpurgo, Constantin Piștea, www.punctsivirgula.ro, 14 noiembrie 2017. https://constantinpistea.ro/2017/11/14/schije-de-ioana-baetica-morpurgo/
Autobiografia înstrăinării, Gianina Druță, Cultura literară | | NR. 370 din 26-aprilie-2012 https://revistacultura.ro/nou/2012/04/autobiografia-instrainarii/
Prima tentativă de roman fracturist, Marius Chivu, România Literară, Nr. 21, 2004 http://arhiva.romlit.ro/index.pl/prima_tentativa_de_roman_fracturist
Schije de sînge şi sentimente, Serenela Ghițeanu , Observator cultural, nr. 905, 12 ianaurie 2018 https://www.observatorcultural.ro/articol/schije-de-singe-si-sentimente/
Interviews with the author:
Suplimentul de cultură, Nr. 588, 18/12/2017, Constantin Piștea – Scriitoarea Ioana Baetica Morpurgo : ,,În vis mă simt acasă, în porțiuni de memorie’’.
Adevărul, 01/04/2019, Dana Mischie – Interviu cu Ioana Morpurgo despre ‘Schije’, roman despre sindromul post-traumatic al unui soldat român.
Literarische Begegnunhgen : Interview mit Ioana Baetica Morpurgo, 10/10/2013
Bookhub.ro – Nona Rapotan în dialog cu Ioana Baetica Morpurgo, 15/02/2019
Suplimentul de cultură, Nr. 342, 04/02/2012 –Elena Vlădăreanu
Observator Cultural, Nr. 596, 14/10/2011 – Ovidiu Șimonca
Liternet.ro, interviu de Radu Ilarion Munteanu, 01/10/2004
Read excerpts from Ioana Morpurgo’s work in translation: