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Katia Lysy, The Life and Legacy of Iris Origo

Monday, October 28, 2019 - 6:30 PM | Members' Room | open to the public | $15 per person | advance registration required

New editions from New York Review Books have broadened the appreciation for Iris Origo (1902-1988), author of A Chill in the Air: An Italian War Diary, 1939-1940, War in Val d'Orcia: An Italian War Diary, 1943-1944, and Images and Shadows: Part of a Life. Origo’s father came from an old and moneyed American family, her mother was the daughter of an Irish peer, and she grew up under the most privileged of circumstances, moving between family estates in Long Island and Ireland while also traveling the world. Tragedy struck when her father, not yet 30, died of tuberculosis and at his request - “Bring her up where she does not belong,” he had enjoined his wife - her mother moved to Fiesole, where she and Iris developed a close friendship with their neighbor, the influential American connoisseur and art historian - a great and fascinating character, too - Bernard Berenson. Introduced early to both American and British high society, Origo eventually found fulfillment in tending to the life of the desolate and deforested country estate she and her Italian husband bought in Italy, which is where she also discovered her true calling as a writer.

Katia Lysy was born in Rome. She has worked for Italian television RAI 3, in publishing, as a journalist and as a literary translator from English and French into Italian. She now lives between Rome and Val d’Orcia, in southern Tuscany, where she assists her mother Benedetta, Iris Origo’s daughter, in the management and development of the family estate of La Foce, whose historic gardens are visited by Iris Origo readers from all over the world.

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