University of Chicago Magazine's Reviews > The Fatal Gift of Beauty: The Trials of Amanda Knox

The Fatal Gift of Beauty by Nina Burleigh
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Nov 03, 11

bookshelves: humanities-division

Nina Burleigh, AM'87

"Foxy Knoxy,” the Italian and British media call her. Voted the 2009 Woman of the Year in an Italian television-news poll, Amanda Knox, then a 22-year-old University of Washington undergrad on a year abroad in Perugia, was also labeled a “luciferina” and a “dirty-minded she-devil” by a Perugian prosecutor, in his closing statements during her trial for the murder of her British roommate, Meredith Kercher. Convicted in December 2009, Knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison and immediately filed an appeal. Her conviction was overturned October 3.

Journalist Nina Burleigh pieced together mysteries in several of her five nonfiction books, including her 1998 account of the unsolved murder of one of President John F. Kennedy’s mistresses. For The Fatal Gift of Beauty: The Trials of Amanda Knox (Broadway Books, 2011), Burleigh, who has written for the New Yorker, the Guardian, and Time, moved with her husband and two children to Perugia, an isolated mountain city, to follow the trial. She lived there for about a year, attending the trial from the defense’s opening remarks to the judge’s verdict, reading the case records, and interviewing the players. Although the defense lawyers prevented her from speaking with Knox or the other defendant, her Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, Burleigh communicated with them through letters.

Read our complete interview with Burleigh at
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