Elise Valmorbida

Elise Valmorbida is an Italian Australian writer and creative writing teacher who lives in London, England.

Having graduated in English Language and Literature from the University of Melbourne, and later in graphic design from Central Saint Martin’s, Valmorbida was creative director at The Body Shop, then at Anglo-American brand agency Fitch. She is now the creative director of communications consultancy Word-Design.

Her acclaimed debut novel Matilde Waltzing was published in 1997. Her second book, a collection of true love stories, The Book Of Happy Endings, was first published in the UK, Australasia and America in 2007. Further editions in translation were launched in Korea, Germany and Serbia, as well as an e-book with publisher Barebone Books. Her short stories have been published internationally via The Ian St James Award, Carve Magazine and anthologies such as From Here to Here, Common Ground, andThe Bard & Co. Her satirical novel The TV President– described in the Times Literary Supplementas “luridly entertaining fiction” – was published by CB Editions in October 2008. Her novel The Winding Stick was published by Two Ravens Press in 2009, hailed as “a literary classic in the making” and voted book of the year by reviewer A. Brooke on literary website Vulpes Libris.

In 2016, The Bookseller reported that Valmorbida’s historical novel The Madonna of the Mountains, dubbed “a 21st-century Gone with the Wind”, was to be published by Faber & Faber in 2018.

The Madonna of the Mountains was launched in spring 2018 to critical acclaim, including The Times ‘Book of the Month’. The cover and endpaper design by Liberty London was the first title in Faber’s new partnership with Liberty. The US edition was first published by Spiegel & Grau, part of Penguin Random House, in June 2018. Translations of the novel include Czech, German, French, Russian, Polish, Dutch and other editions. It is also published as an e-book, an audiobook narrated by Cecilia Gragnani, and in large-print editions (UK and USA) for visually impaired readers. The UK paperback, with a new design by Liberty London, was first published in January 2019.

The Madonna of the Mountains is winner of the prestigious Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Fiction (2019). It was also shortlisted for the UK-based Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards 2019 (‘Fiction, with a sense of place’).

As part of the Liberty campaign to mark the centenary of the first women’s vote in Britain, Valmorbida was one of eight ‘Women of Liberty’ photographed by Mary McCartney.

Valmorbida is a creative writing tutor at Central Saint Martin’s, University of the Arts London, and at the UK Literary Foundation, Arvon, where she co-created and teaches ‘Suitcase Stories’, a new creative writing course focused on stories inspired by migration.

In 2007, she produced SAXON, a micro-budget independent feature film released in 2009. SAXON toured international film festivals in Edinburgh, Israel, Europe and London’s East End. The film was nominated for the Michael Powell Award (Best New British Feature) at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, and won the European Independent Film Festival’s Best European Dramatic Feature award. Valmorbida was honoured as a Trailblazer by the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2007.


March 2019