Literary world mourns Italian editor Giancarlo Bonacina

Literary world mourns Italian editor Giancarlo Bonacina

"Legendary" editor Giancarlo Bonacina has died in Milan, aged 78, on Friday (8th April) following a long illness.

Giancarlo was editor of foreign fiction at Italian publishing company Mondadori Editore - a position he held from the mid-1970s, responsible for acquiring many of the bestselling authors on the Mondadori list today, including Ken Follett, Robert Harris, David Grossman, Salman Rushdie, Zadie Smith, Jeanette Winterson, Thomas Harris, Philip Roth, Patricia Cornwell, Rosamund Pilcher, Tom Wolfe, John Le Carre among others. 

He lived in New York during the eighties and nineties, during which time he continued acquiring for Mondadori and worked as the company's US scout, looking for new authors and bestsellers. 

Former literary scout Anne Louise Fisher, who retired after 30 years in the business in June last year, said of Bonacina: "He had that rare gift of being able to publish across the literary and commercial. When I first started working with him in September 1986  he often lead the way in acquiring a title in the UK before it even had a UK or US publisher attached. The respect in which he and Mondadori were held by the international publishing community was such that if he wanted to acquire the Italian rights to a book, he almost always succeeded. To be published by Giancarlo and the team at Mondadori would guarantee the book’s success more often than not."

After Bonacina retired "much too early when diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease," he continued to read voraciously and enjoy his other passion, music, according to Fisher.

"Dinner at his home would be accompanied by lively conversation about books and writers interspersed with lots of gossip," she said. "In my early days as a scout, he taught me a great deal and the confidence he inspired was significant in my being able to build my business. He was truly one of the great publishers on the international stage and a dear, kind and generous friend. I will miss him enormously."