Donatella Di Pietrantonio, Viola Ardone and Luigi Zoja will come to Book World

Viola Ardone

© Ludovic Brancaccio
Viola Ardone

The organizers of Book World Prague 2022 are very happy that the invitation has been accepted by the brilliant narrator Donatella Di Pietrantonio. For its harsh but poetic story, Navrátilka, in which a teenager searches for her place in the backward countryside of the 1970s, received, among others, the most prestigious Italian literary prize, Campiello. The moving novel Return to the Borg Sud has reached the final of the important Streg Prize. Thanks to the translations, the two readers were able to appreciate the two titles.

Viola Ardone, one of the most famous contemporary Italian writers, whose name resonates beyond the borders of her native country, is a significant literary success. Readers’ hearts and critics’ favor won the book Train for Children. The poignant and moving story of post-war Italy has been translated into more than thirty languages, including Czech. A translation of the novel I’m Not Like a Pitcher is in the works, which was to be published on June 1. It talks about the situation of women in southern Italy in the 1960s.

Not only lovers of detective thrillers certainly know the name of Donato Carrisi, whose models were filmed. The atmosphere of tension is built in the bestsellers The Whisperer, The Man from the Labyrinth or The Hypothesis of Evil. Domestic fans will be able to discuss his stories with him in person, as well as they can join the discussion with Luigi Zoya. A prominent psychologist, author of books and essays, fascinated people around the world with the Twilight of the Fathers and the History of Arrogance. At Book World Prague 2022, he will discuss his ideas with economist Tomáš Sedláček, who wrote a preface to one of Zoja’s works.

The renowned Italian writer, journalist and screenwriter Gianfranco Calligarich is one of the representatives of fiction in the 27th year. The Czechs were also able to read his Last Summer in the City. Existential prose is compared to films by Fellini or Sorrento. Prose writer Stefania Auci particularly wowed readers with the captivating saga of Sicilian Lions novels, in which she describes the rise of Italy’s famous Flori dynasty. The future, which will be published in May, that is, before the arrival of the popular author at Book World Prague, will develop other destinies. Claudia Durastanti will also present a novelty in translation at the festival. Czech readers get acquainted with the talented writer through the dramatic novel The Stranger about the daughter of deaf parents.

This is not the end of Italy’s translation gift. Book World Prague will present two new translations of Italian works by Calvin. From one of the most important Italian writers of the 20th century, those interested can read his prose experience Palomar and an unabridged version of Cosmic Grotesques. Italian literary classics include the work of Elsa Morante, wife of writer Albert Moravia. The first Czech translation of his work, specifically Arthur’s Island, redresses a debt to a writer who unjustly remained in the shadow of his internationally better-known wife.

“The program for the 27th year focuses on authors who best represent the contemporary Italian literary scene and whose works have been translated into Czech in the last two years. Some are already known to the Czech public, others present themselves for the first time. We have preferred contemporary authors, often awarded prizes and translated many times, but we have not forgotten the classics. Our objective is a balanced number of women writers”, concludes Guillaume Basset, the playwright of the Prague Book World.

Visitors to the fair can also immerse themselves in the verses of Italian poets, in their own reading. Interactive exhibition Listen with your eyes. The Voices of Italian Poetry will offer so-called spectograms, that is, vocal portraits, of seventeen poets of the 20th century. For example, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Sandra Penny, Alda Merini or Chandra Livie Candiani.

Traditionally, the Prague book world does not forget children and young people either. The rich program will include, among others, the excellent author of stories for young readers Guido Sgardoli. There is also a theatrical performance for small and large ensembles Teatro dei Piedi (Theatre of Feet) or Italian micro-courses. It is a good habit that “Prague” is not part of the diversified offer of Book World Prague.

The choice of Italy as this year’s guest of honor at the fair is further underlined by the anniversary of the Italian Cultural Institute, which has been operating in Prague for an incredible centenary. The century of cooperation is proof of lasting and still vibrant cultural relations between the two countries. The current year also mentions the end of the nineties of Umberto Ec, an Italian novelist, essayist, philosopher and semiologist of world importance, who also had ties to Prague. Book World Prague has chosen a quote from his work as this year’s motto: “We live for books and it’s a sweet mission in a declining and boiling world. The events of recent weeks and previous pandemic years only confirm the timeliness of Eco’s words.

This motto will be fulfilled by the Book World Prague in June 2022 thanks to its guest of honor. The organizers of the fair want the meeting space with Italy to go beyond knowledge of literature and its authors. “We envisioned our stand as an open space where people meet and which recalls the atmosphere and warmth of the Italian square,” said Dr. Alberta Lai, director of the Italian Cultural Institute, during the presentation of the guest of honor.

“This year’s program is packed, in addition to the Italian delegation that has just been published, we have some big names up our sleeve. Readers have something to look forward to, which is why we have also launched the sale of tickets online on April 6, even if we will publish the complete program in a month”, invites its director Radovan Auer at Book World Prague.

The 27th International Book Fair and Literary Festival Book World Prague will take place at the Prague Exhibition Center from June 9 to 12.

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