Skip to Main Content


Rome, mid-16th century: Violante, Duchess of Paliano, is strangled by her brother, while the Duke stabs her supposed lover. The murderers are convicted, executed and rehabilitated. The actors try to make all the court records of the case disappear - which they succeed in doing except for one copy, later transmitted by Stendhal.

Starting from this transmission, Judith Nika Pfeifer arranges the events, brings the supposedly passive protagonist to the fore and - through countless contemporary voices - retells her fate. By cleverly composing and assembling different levels, sources and styles, a highly exciting narrative emerges about so-called honor killings and the intertwining of money, power and love - as elementary human driving forces. 

“A table filled with food. A huge party. People celebrating. Dancing. Voices. Music and loud laughter. Wine flows in streams. New Year 1559. Even though Rome has no military power to speak of, it is still the centre of the world. And even if the pious pope doesn't like it: Celebrating must be allowed. He doesn’t have to look.”

Violante. A Novel.

by Judith Nika Pfeifer

German version published by Czernin, Vienna 2017

Translatrd into English by Barbara Kosta

“Violante" is based on the true story of an honor killing, written as a furious cross-over between grand opera and Quentin Tarantino's bloody cinema thrillers.  - Literary poetry and at the same time airy fabric, unabashedly present, loosely historical. Prose bursting with references. 

Herbert J. Wimmer, kolik - zeitschrift für neue literatur

© 2024 Nika Pfeifer

VIOLANTE at Sant Jordi NYC 2021 with author Nika Pfeifer, translator Barbara Kosta, moderated by Alta L. Price in co-operation with the Austrian Cultural Forum New York/ACFNY. Bringing Catalonia’s beloved celebration of books and roses to New York City since 2014, Sant Jordi NYC 2021 (April 19 – 24) extends its reach even further in its virtual format, creating a vibrant, interactive space for authors, translators, and readers from around the world to share their love of literature.