Rome bookshop sparks debate by refusing to sell Giorgia Meloni memoir

Fratelli d'Italia to distribute Meloni book in school near bookshop.

The decision by a Rome book seller not to stock the memoir of Giorgia Meloni, the leader of right-wing Italian party Fratelli d'Italia (FdL), has attracted both applause and criticism in recent days.

"I am an independent bookseller and I won't be selling this book," said Alessandra Laterza, owner of Le Torri, the only bookstore in Tor Bella Monaca, a disadvantaged Roman suburb synonymous with crime.

The book, Io sono Giorgia, sees the author open up about her childhood growing up in Garbatella, the loss of her father at a young age, and her joy of becoming a mother, alongside her political views and the story of her rise to the top of FdL.

Laterza's decision to boycott Meloni's autobiography is "an ethical choice," she told online newspaper RomaToday, adding: "My bookshop is a place of resistance."

However Laterza has found herself at the centre of a debate between those who support her stance and those who don't.

Italian newspaper La Repubblica reports that the bookseller has since received insulting messages and emails which are currently being investigated by the Polizia Postale.

The FdL has responded to Laterza by distributing the book at a high school in Tor Bella Monaca, a stone's throw from Le Torri bookshop, on the morning of 13 May.

The "flash mob" initiative, under the title "Noi Siamo Giorgia," will see the book given for free to students at the school, reports Italian news agency ANSA.

Laterza's decision was mocked by regional FdL councillor Chiara Colosimo as a "heroic act of resistance in 2021" and the "ridiculous censorship of one woman by another,” reports RomaToday.

FdL, which chose to remain outside Mario Draghi's government of national unity, is currently polling at 18 per cent, just four points behind the Lega, its right-wing ally led by Matteo Salvini.