Paolo Cognetti is an Italian writer. He started studying mathematics at university, but quit to enroll at Milan's film-making school Civica Scuola di Cinema «Luchino Visconti», where he graduated in 1999. He taught himself American literature and started directing documentaries in 2004, especially about social, political and literary topics. His first work as a writer was the short story Fare ordine, which won the Premio Subway−Letteratura. He loves New York City, which has become the main subject of some of his documentaries. His other passion is the mountain, where he likes to spend a few months alone every year. In 2016, he published his first novel Le otto montagne, which granted him the Premio Strega 2017, Italy′s most prestigious literary award, as well as various international awards, such as the Prix Médicis étranger, the Prix François Sommer, and the English Pen Translates Award.