The Times, London (UK), May 14, 2005

Gang of five
By James Eve

Deep in the hills above Bologna a secretive band of writers has hatched a truly evil plot — to overthrow the world of celebrity

If you believed everything that was written about the group of Italian novelists known as Wu Ming, you would think that they were red-toothed revolutionaries. Under their former pen name — that of the former Watford and AC Milan footballer Luther Blissett — they published Q, a sprawling, bloody spy story set in the religious wars of 16th-century Europe. It became a bestseller across the Continent, though the group's non-literary activities, which according to several breathless newspaper reports included hijacking a night bus in Rome, prompted as much interest as the sales figures.
The mystery surrounding the group is deepened by their refusal to be photographed. "Dear James, we can't have a photographer running around during the interview," reads an e-mail from Roberto Bui, otherwise known as Wu Ming 1. "No photographers and no faces — those are our conditions." His promise to take me somewhere "in the hills" after our chat sounds faintly threatening. I wonder whether they might be considering kidnapping a journalist.
As it turns out, there is no need to worry. The only connection between the Roman hijackers and this Bologna-based writers' collective happened to be their choice of pseudonym. They can't explain the Luther Blissett tag, other than that it was a name used widely by artists and hackers in mid-Nineties, mostly for planting fake stories in the media. Besides, their involvement with the Blissett persona is history. The four original members — Bui, Giovanni Cattabriga, Luca Di Meo and Federico Guglielmi — discarded him at the end of 1999. Since then they have added a fifth member, Riccardo Pedrini, and assumed the name Wu Ming, which means "Anonymous" in Mandarin.

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