The Heroine’s Journey of Oriana Conte

What is the best thing that I love about my work? Being a talent scout. I read lots of crap, but finding a good book is amazing.

What is my idea of perfect happiness? There is not such a thing as perfection. But let’s say that if a few of my authors won the Nobel Prize and I managed to find the love of my life and be with him for years, full of passion, that would be close to perfect happiness.

What is my greatest fear? Snakes, they disgust me. To be old and forget things that were important in my life. I think of this everytime my grandma doesn’t recognize me.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? My nose. Edoardo Sanguineti said: “Each of us has the face and the nose that they deserve”. So, I ask myself: “What have I done to deserve this nose?”.

Which living persons in my profession do i most admire? Roberto Calasso, Sandro Ferri and Sandra Ozzola, Elvira and Enzo Sellerio, Gabriella D’Ina.

What is my greatest extravagance? Most of the time I wear different coloured socks but with clothes on nobody knows… Shhh, don’t tell anybody.

On what occasion would I lie? When playing Poker or Baccarat.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? Who points out, without any love, that books are for sale. They usually say that books are a product. True, but they are not like any other product. For example, you cannot treat books like yogurt – they are not easy to digest.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work? During a book presentation of some of my authors. I knew every comma of their books, but while they were talking or telling jokes taken from the book I was still having fun. I thought: “Look at them, they are my authors, wow!”.

If I could, what would I change about myself? I must have skipped the line where, when the world was created, tidiness was given to peopleabout that time, I was already making a mess of my desk.

What is my greatest achievement in work? I learned a lot, though I always feel that I should know more.

Where would I most like to live? Hogwarts, I’m not a muggle!

What is my most treasured possession? My diaries, I’m nostalgic.

What is my most marked characteristic? If I wanted to become rich, I should make people pay me when they say: “You’re brave” or “You’re tall”/“Have you always been this tall?”. When someone says to me: “You are tall, why are you wearing heels?” I wish I was a One-Punch Woman.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city? The Benedictine Monastery of San Nicolò in Sicily, the Po river in Turin.

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city? My mom and my aunt cook like chefs, so usually the best place is around them. There are too many good places in Sicily where even the chair you sit on tastes of fried food or of horse meat. Sweet lab in Turin, I have sweet memories there too. Sometimes I still dream about the chicken pie I used to eat while I was living in Africa or the Persian rice with tadig my roommates used to cook in Milan. Everywhere I enjoy going for sushi, all you can eat style. I guess you can understand that I’m fond of food.

What books influenced my life and how? Seriously? Do you have a couple of free days to talk?

Who are my favorite writers? Giorgio Manganelli, Elena Ferrante, Luigi Pirandello, Rainer Maria Rilke, Bret Easton Ellis, Pierpaolo Pasolini, Ágota Kristóf, Haruki Murakami, Milan Kundera, Luis Sepúlveda, Allen Ginsberg, Italo Calvino, Natalia Ginzburg, Alan Bennet, Daniel Pennac… 

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day? I would love to die with the voice of Johnny Cash, Chet Baker, Kurt Cobain or the sound of Wagner’s and Liszt’s piano in my ears. Truly romantic, but the very last song should be a full of joy and energic one: Uptown funk! by Mark Ronson.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction? Dr. Cox in Scrubs, lots of female characters in Jane Austen’s novels, Nemecsek in The Paul Street Boys.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life? Lisa, my best friend. She has the most beautiful voice, it has real power on me, when she sings she can make me calm down, relax or be truly happy. And also Teresa, she is always nice, although she works in an Italian post office, which is a true hell on Earth.

Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime? Mr. Nobody. I like movies that have more than one ending.

What role plays art in my life and work? Art is my boss.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? My authors, of course. SuiGeneris wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the help of my family and of lots of friends: Guglielmo, Virginia, Ludovica, Christian, Carla, Alberto, Fiammetta, Silvia, Laura, Flavio, Vincenzo, Alessio, Piero, Alice, Mario, Alessandro, Michel, etc. – it’s a long list.

Whom would I like to work with in 2018? Nicola Lagioia. He is the editorial director of Salone Internazionale del Libro di Torino. He has the possibility to do a lot and I would love to help.

Which people in my profession would i love to meet in 2018? Michela Murgia, Fabio Fazio, Loredana Lipperini.

What project, in 2018, am I looking forward to work on? Translations.

Where can you see me or my work in 2018? Libraries, bookshops, book fairs, on the internet.

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? It means that you can always see passion in the world around you. A person alone can be down and not passionate in some moments of their life, but there will be always someone around the world to be inspired by.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story? Debora Benincasa, she wrote Antigone – Monologo per donna sola. She is even the heroine in a play!

How can you contact me

You can write to my email or have a look at my website

Here follows a message of Peter de Kuster, founder of The Heroine’s Journey 

Spring Journey

eatpraylovebigstill (2)Wednesday 14th March – Sunday 18th March

The best of The Heroine’s Journey condensed into a single, unforgettable week.

The Heroine’s Journey is a global organisation dedicated to teaching skills not covered by the regular education system – skills that develop storytelling intelligence and encourage psychological well-being for creative professionals.  The Spring Journey brings together the very best in our storytelling.

We will cover such themes as how to make money doing what you love, how to promote your business, which is you, how to choose our partners more wisely, how to make relationships last, how to find and create your dreamjob by meeting your rolemodels and making testdrives, how to manage your time and organize yourself creativitely, how to focus on our creative goals, how to have the financial freedom to create and how to more regularly experience creative flow and happiness.

You’ll embark on a rich and enlightening voyage, discovering how to make lasting, meaningful change across every aspect of your creative life. By working within a fixed group led by Peter de Kuster over the week, you’ll dive deeper than would be possible in any single daytrip. You’ll be challenged to think deeply about the issues that matter most, and provided with a space to share your thoughts, ideas and experiences.

The Journey is ideal for those seeking a more meaningful, transformative vacation; for attendees of our daytrips who now wish to take a structured journey through our expertly curated material; and for those wishing to save time in the long run by working through the dilemmas of creative life, business, passion, and your own story in a single, high intensity week.

Blending tuition, exercises, meeting with stories of rolemodels, and discussion in journeys in a world city, each day of the Spring Journey will equip you with tools and strategies to help you find answers for your creative life’s big questions.

Join us for a truly transformational vacation for the mind in Rome

Ticket costs Euro 1250 excluding VAT per person, includes all teaching, materials, light refreshments & additional activities.

You can reach Peter for a skype meeting about questions you have by mailing him at 


09.40    Tea & Coffee on arrival

10.00     Morning Session

13.00     Lunch Break

14.00     Afternoon Session

17.00     Drinks

Read on for a detailed breakdown of the Spring Journey itinerary.

“You are the Storyteller of Your Own Creative Life. You can Create Your Own Legend – Or Not” – Peter de Kuster

EatPrayLove1 (2)

Spring Journey Itinerary

Day One: The first day of the Spring Journey is designed to equip us with the core skills of The Heroine’s Journey and Storytelling. We will learn the power of the story we tell ourselves, why our minds have a hard time understanding themselves, how to map and understand our passions, and how and why we characteristically respond to them.

Day Two: The second day of the Spring Journey takes us on a structured journey around the power of your story as creative professional.  Creative flow is always in essence a mental phenomenon, it is a result of ideas- and a story you tell yourself therefore relies on having to hand a raft of enriching stories about your business, your money management, your self promotion and your time management that can be called upon in moments of truth. The day begins with a Heroine’s Journey Breakfast – considering what three of the greatest creative heroines of all time have as story about the art of creative living wisely and well.

Day Three: The third day of the Spring Journey teaches us how to choose our clients and business partners wisely and make our relationships last. One of the gravest errors we make around business relationships is to imagine that they aren’t things we can get wiser or better at. On this day we will learn to practise and rehearse our skills at working with the people who can help you further your creative business (clients and business partners like agents, publishers, marketing professionals etcera). In the evening, we will attend a Storytelling Dinner in a local restaurant – learning to overturn small talk and master the art of opening up our deepest stories.

Day Four: The fourth day of the Spring Journey teaches us how to achieve our creative career potential. We will employ storytelling tools to be better able to understand our creative talents and to move forward using the opportunities that are open to us.

Day Five: The final day of the Spring Journey explores new business opportunities and markets for you to as creative professional. Many of the challenges we encounter in modern life require us to develop creative solutions to complex problems. And even when we’re not tackling big problems, continuously improving the way we live using invention and imaginative strategy is deeply important.

You can reach Peter for a skype meeting about questions you have by mailing him at 


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