Elena Ferrante: ‘Yes, I’m Italian – but I’m not loud, I don’t gesticulate and I’m not good with pizza’

Being Italian, for me, begins and ends with the fact that I speak and write in the Italian language

I love my country, but I have no patriotic spirit and no national pride. What’s more, I digest pizza poorly, I eat very little spaghetti, I don’t speak in a loud voice, I don’t gesticulate, I hate all mafias, I don’t exclaim “Mamma mia!” National characteristics are simplifications that should be contested. Being Italian, for me, begins and ends with the fact that I speak and write in the Italian language.

Put that way it doesn’t seem like much, but really it’s a lot. A language is a compendium of the history, geography, material and spiritual life, the vices and virtues, not only of those who speak it, but also of those who have spoken it through the centuries. The words, the grammar, the syntax are a chisel that shapes our thought. Not to mention our literary tradition, an extraordinary refinery of raw experience that has been active for centuries and centuries, a reservoir of intelligence and expressive techniques; it’s the tradition that has formed me, and on which I’m proud to have drawn.

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Mulletfest crowns Shane ‘Shag’ Hanrahan mane man with waist-length effort

Crowd favourite, Victorian potato farmer and coal miner Laurie Manuel, failed to get a place in the finals

Proud mullet wearers from across Australia have converged on a country pub in NSW’s Hunter Valley to crown a champion of the infamous hairstyle.

Hundreds of people made the journey to Kurri Kurri’s Chelmsford Hotel on Saturday for the inaugural Mulletfest – a celebration of the 1980s hairstyle.

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Fears grow as rightwing billionaires battle to erode US union rights

Supreme court hears arguments in case that could strip unions of major source of income – amid worries that the unions will lose

A 20-year campaign by rightwing billionaire donors to undermine trade unions and strike a blow at the progressive movement in Americacomes to a climax on Monday, in a hearing at the US supreme court.

The nine justices of the nation’s highest court will hear arguments in Janus V AFSCME, a case that has the potential to strip unions of a major source of income. Should the court rule against the public sector unions – as many fear it will – they stand to suffer a decline in their 7.2 million-strong membership, and with it the withering of their political strength.

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‘Completely different context’: Turnbull dodges gun control advice at Trump meeting – video

Australia’s prime minister tells Donald Trump ‘we certainly don’t presume to provide policy or political advice’ on gun control during a meeting at the White House. Malcolm Turnbull says that for their two countries it’s ‘a completely different context, historically legally and so forth. We are very satisfied with our laws, we maintain them.’ The US president again promoted the idea of arming teachers, saying they would be more effective than the armed guard who failed to prevent the Florida shooting because teachers ‘love their children’.

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