The Italian journalist who claims to have exposed the identity of best-selling author Elena Ferrante is defending his investigation as having contributed to knowledge about Ferrante's work and having debunked lies about her background peddled by her publishers.

Claudio Gatti, an investigative reporter with Italy's Il Sole 24 Ore, says he didn't uncover any mystery since Ferrante's true identity was an open secret within Italy's literary circles.

Gatti's expose appeared in Il Sole, the New York Review of Books and other publications Sunday, sparking criticism that Ferrante's privacy was violated.

Speaking Friday at the Foreign Press Association, Gatti said his investigation merely debunked the story that Ferrante and her publishers had sown about her personal history. He said he had never known art to suffer from knowledge about the artist.