Antonio Casella - Novelist

Antonio Casella is an Australian novelist

 born in Italy

Novels       Southfalia, The Sensualist, An Olive Branch for Sante,  Men and Fathers.
Plays             The Ghost of Rino Tassone,   To Catch a Bride.
Stories          Tell’m I’m Dead, Boatphobia, Lucifer’s Revenge, A Misfit in Heaven, The Flowering Broombush,   San Rocco Comes to Visit, The Good Priest. 
Find Antonio Casella on Face Book
And Olive Branch for Sante

The Story

What happens when an Australian girl travels to a Mediterranean village steeped in old-world tradition and discovers that she has a brother, Sante,  living in that village? What’s their reaction when the two siblings discover that Sante was conceived through a rape by their common father? This is the difficult challenge I posed myself when I set out to write, 'An Olive Branch for Sante'.  For me it became a fascinating journey into the complexities of human relationships.

On a personal level the novel traces a path of reconciliation between the siblings and their estranged father. Set in Australia and Sicily, these two  contrasting landscapes are the backdrop  to a journey that uncovers some unsettling secrets. Along the way the novel  explores  questions  about   love, forgiveness and redemption. At its core is a search for identity: personal, cultural and sexual.

This novel is available from Amazon and The Book Depository in digital and paperback formats.


“An Olive Branch for Sante "  This novel is a delight to read.”  Gaetano Rando, University of Wollongong. 

“The more I think about this novel, the more it poses intellectually provocative possibilities.” Van Ikin, University of Western Australia.

"The novel is carefully built and beautifully written. It is the work of an experienced novelist." Guido   Bulla, University La Sapienza, Rome.


Critical praise for Casella’s work.

“Casella’s intention is to chart and illuminate undiscovered, difficult country…The characters are entirely, sometimes shockingly believable, and even if they unlikeable, there is a point of understanding and sympathy to which we are drawn.”  Helen Elliott, The Age, Melbourne.

“Dream and ritual intersect with the real man, define the purpose of things.” Walter Tonetto, The West Australian.

 “A beautifully crafted novel.”       Dianne Johnson, The Sydney Morning Herald. 

(“Questa fusione di presente e passato, di nuovo e antico, di vicino e lontano, e’ la nota piu’ caratteristica della scrittura di Antonio Casella.”)

“This fusion of present and past, of  new and old, of proximity and distance is a most important quality of Antonio Casella’s writing.”

Stefania Greco, in  “ Terra e identita’ Nella Narrativa Contemporanea Italo-Australiana dell’Emigrazione.”.  University of Bologna.

Antonio Casella Sensualist

Cover of the The Sensualist,  first published by Hodder & Stoughton in 1991. This novel is currently out of print. It will be republished  in 2013.

Antonio Casella Southfalia

Recurring themes in my work

I wrote my first novel, Southfalia,  when I was still at the University of Western Australia. Like so many students at the time I was outraged by the sacking of  Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, a pivotal event in the history of Australia. Beneath the satire and the humour of this work, lies a sombre message. The epilogue depicts a landscape rendered desolate by human exploitation and greed. Thirty years on, that message seems as relevant and  urgent as ever.

If Southfalia was driven by ideology, nostalgia drives  my second novel, The Sensualist. In this work middle-aged Nick Amedeo and his wife, Joyce, both  in the midst of an existential crisis, take a personal journey into their individual past. As a pig roasts away on a spit, under a hot Australian sun, Nick journies back to the Sicily  of his beloved Nonno (Grandfather) and Joyce recalls some disturbing events that occurred on a cattle station in  the Kimberly region of Western Australia, where she was born.

Identity, particularly male sexual  identity, is the main preoccupation of my third novel, Men and Fathers (to be published in 2014). In this novel the main character, Paul Jacobs, goes looking for his father and finds him performing in drag at a gay function.

Identity too features prominently in the fourth novel, An Olive Branch for Sante, in which Sara-Jane, an Australian journalist, travels to Sicily and discovers that she has a brother, 18 year-old Sante, living in the hill-top town of San Sisto. Set in Australia and Sicily, these two fascinating landscapes are the backdrop  to a journey that discovers some unsettling secrets.

Southfalia, my first novel, was published in 1980.
This  title is available from Amazon and soon on Kindle.
The splendid cover is an original work by my good friend and artist, Godfrey Blow.
(I think it's worth getting the book for the cover!)
Recent comments
In the New York Times

  • Antonio Casella
  • Australia

There is only one issue overwhelming all others facing humanity today. It's called, Population Explosion. Ignore that and any serious discussion such as this cogent article tackles misses the trees for the grass. To equate youthful population with prosperity is indicative of analytical shallowness. What's the point in achieving a higher GDP when you will have twice as many people to feed, to house and to provide services for? Youthful population means more workers, yes, but also more people of breeding age who will place even more pressure on dwindling resources.

We've allowed the planet to be overrun by humans at suicidal speed, destroying just about anything else in its path. Now every major crisis affecting us can be related to that in some way. Of the three countries under scrutiny here, only China has had the relative foresight to act to put a break on population growth. Whatever one might think of its political/social system, history will show that it has been extremely responsible in its attempt to stabilize its population. In that sense it has done the world a great service. Yes, China's pollution is among the worst in the world, but think how much worse it would be if it had doubled its population in the past 40 years, as other countries have done. There is no doubt in mind, the future belongs to China. India and Egypt will court catastrophy precisely because they have such a high proportion of their population under the age of 30.

    • barbara jackson
    • michigan

    Yes, China is the only one trying, with great wisdom, to control world population growth. And we're trying to busy-body our way into that, with our counter-productive blathering about "human rights."

Comment made in La Repubblica March 5, 2013


Vista dall'Australia, dove vivo, la situazione politica italiana, di solito caotica, questa volta sembra avere oltrepassato i limiti del concepibile. Non sono incolpevoli gli elettori, di cui faccio parte, un quarto dei quali hanno scelto di mettere il destino del paese nelle mani di un megalomane, la cui campagna elettorale e' stata condotta all'insegna degli insulti e dell'isterismo. E ora? All'Italia in questo momento serve piu' che altro un governo forte e stabile, che possa mettere in atto misure per potere risollevare il paese da una crisi senza precedenti. Qui i fatti sono due. Uno, il movimento 5 Stelle non ha i numeri per governare da solo. Due, i Grillini hanno ottenuto dagli elettori italiani il potere di attuare, in coalizione, un governo stabile e durevole. Se si rifiutano di farlo si accolpano di non avere agito per il bene del paese quando ne aveva bisogno