Daughter of a Sicilian artist princess and a Florentine ethnologist, Maraini was interned in a Japanese concentration camp with her family for refusing to recognize Mussolini's Republic of Salo. She went on to become one of the clearest voices for social justice of her generation.
During a life of world travel, Maraini has written novels, short stories, plays, several investigative studies, and collections of poetry and essays. Her works about women depict their circumstance with great empathy and honesty, have been translated into more than 30 languages and into screenplays for award-winning films. She has won major Italian literary prizes and was a nominee for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2012.