One month after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York, the Corriere della Sera published an article on the possible future consequences for literature of this horrific event. Some novelists boldly declared their work would not be affected at all, while others observed that their literary visions and perspectives were already responses to life's tragic aspects. Several writers confessed to wondering, at least initially, whether literature henceforth could continue to have any real sense. A decade later, this essay examines the nature of the Italian response. It looks first at the views of those writers who expressed opinions directly to the press or in essay form, and then at a small number of novels (by Tullio Avoledo, Marisa Bulgheroni and Tiziana Rinaldi Castro) and short stories (by Andrea Piva, Andrej Longo and Andrea Canobbio) which have embraced the theme, and which have done so in ways that reinforce the sense of an underlying political and/or cultural aesthetic. Connections between twenty-first-century reactions to 9/11 and the Italian experience or memory of political terrorism and war will be explored, as well as the question of inspiration for novelists, in the particular context of catastrophe or trauma.