Veronica Yoko Plebani’s love for life (Il Maggio dei Libri 2021)

by Erica Surace

Love: one word, a thousand ways to explain and demonstrate it. Women Plot participates in “Il Maggio dei Libri” (May of Books) with events that aim to illustrate the different manifestations of love. Today we want to tell you about one of the most powerful loves, that for life. Veronica Yoko Plebani ( will take us on this journey with her book “Fiori affamati di vita”, written in collaboration with her lifelong friend Francesca Lorusso. Yoko draws us into her world, narrating her roaring journey of “blooming” again. With her strength, her determination and the support of her loved ones, Yoko faced a great challenge, and then she overcame it, rediscovering her love for life. With her book Veronica wants to remind us too how important it is to face every obstacle we find along our path. Are you ready to follow us in this challenge?

Veronica Yoko Plebani is an Italian athlete, she participated as a snowboarder in the Sochi Winter Paralympics in 2014 and as a canoeist in the Rio Paralympics in 2016. She is currently training for the Tokyo Paralympics, in which she will participate in the triathlon discipline. A woman, an athlete, many sports, several nicknames: Vero, Very, Yoko, Taitù. Leafing through “Fiori affamati di vita” you will discover the origin of these names with such a vast meaning, from the Sun to the queen “Luce di Etiopia”.

  1. How important do you think it is the love for oneself and the love for life?

I think love is extremely important, especially towards oneself and towards life; the curiosity, the desire to keep on looking for new things, to improve oneself. Love towards oneself, at the same time, allows to give more to others, because when one begins to love, understand, and accept oneself, one becomes a better person not only in one’s own life, but also in the world. This can lead to great successes. 

  1. How can we love ourselves more in a society that focuses mostly on our flaws?

This is a very difficult aspect. We need to find positive role models in this society who encourage us to accept our flaws; there are such models, and this gives us hope. They are people who help us focus on our passions, on what makes us unique, right, and perfect in our own way.

  1. From the perspective of both a woman and a Paralympic athlete, what advice do you give to people who experience discrimination?

What, first and foremost, I can say is: “Resist”. It’s not easy, especially when you’re not understood, and society perpetuates unfair discriminations; you just don’t understand how it’s possible. It’s crucial not to stop fighting, not only for ourselves and to move forward, but also for the future of those who will find a much easier path after us.

  1. Explain the title “Fiori affamati di vita” (Flowers Hungry for Life). Where does the metaphor between you and flowers come from?

It comes from the association of the beauty, strength, and resistance of flowers, which in any place and any occasion are ready to bloom and wait for the next spring, to conquer again their place in the world. With so much beauty and so much strength in different contexts and settings. What inspired me and Francesca Lorusso, with whom I collaborated in writing the book, is the idea that no matter what happens, spring will return, and we must be ready to bloom clearly and distinctly to regain our lives, despite everything that may happen.

  1. Yoko is Sun, Lu is Moon. Yoko is you; instead, who were you inspired by for the character of Lu?

The freedom of a novel allowed us to mix up the characters a bit. Yoko is me, in some things; but Yoko is not entirely me. Lu is also me and not just me. Lu is kind of my alter ego, embodying a part of me and so many episodes I’ve experienced with different friends. She has so much of my character and that of Francesca Lorusso, who was the key to understanding this analysis in the form of a novel, which was fundamental for me.

We will meet with Veronica Yoko Plebani on Monday, 17 May 2021 at 6:30 pm (CEST) through an Instagram Live on our profile ( where we will further explore the concept of love for life, love for oneself and recount Veronica's “rebirth”.