Great success for the second edition of the “Bridge Book Award” at the Embassy of Italy

Oct 25, 2016 108

The meeting of two different cultures can radiate an extraordinary proactive force and this is exactly what you could feel in the air yesterday evening at the Embassy of Italy during the presentation of "The Bridge"Book Awards. The event was the Awards' second edition and guests were enthusiastic for the ongoing creative efforts that Italy and the United States put in deepening and sealing their bond. The Ambassador of Italy to the United States, Armando Varricchio, emphasized that, "Our American friends love our language: students learning Italian in American universities have increased by almost 60% over the last decade surging from 49,000 to over 80,000 and American students who decide to live a "learning experience" in Italy have grown steadily. Today, Italy is host to more than 30,000 American students."

At the second edition of The Bridge Book Award, which was also the closing ceremony of the XVI Week of the Italian Language in the World, the Embassy of Italy and the Italian Cultural Institute in Washington DC, in collaboration with the Embassy of the United States in Rome, Casa delle Letterature of the Rome Municipality, and the American Initiative for Italian Culture (AIFIC), hosted the award ceremony and a panel discussion with the Italian winners. Nadia Terranova won in the fiction category with Gli anni al Contrario, and Marco Belpoliti won in the non-fiction category with Primo Levi di Fronte e Profilo.

Maria Ida Gaeta, Director of Casa delle Letterature of the Rome Municipality moderated the panel with Domenico Starnone, writer and winner of The Bridge book award in 2015, Jhumpa Lahiri, writer and professor of Creative Writing at Princeton University, and Teresa Fiore, Inserra Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies at Montclair State University, New Jersey.

The Award is meant to be an ideal bridge that connects two cultures and aims to promote the knowledge of the most recent cultural and literary trends in Italy and the United States. The Award is conferred annually to one work of fiction and one work of nonfiction which have been recently published in Italy and the United States. As Ambassador Varricchio explained, "This prize is two-faceted because it includes both fiction and non-fiction writing, and thereafter the works are translated to and from both English and Italian. The sum of all this ensures a greater mutual understanding and a true cultural exchange."

Ambassador Varricchio then chose to borrow the words of the American Initiative for Italian Culture, "AIFIC generates incubators for the creative development of young Italian and American artists, to function as cultural labs," and closed with a clear appreciation for, "the scientific metaphor, which ties into our focus on research and innovation too."

During the ceremony, also to further demonstrate the value of "bilateralism", the translated books of the winners of the first edition were presented: for Italian fiction and non-fiction Domenico Starnone and Quinto Antonelli respectively and for American fiction and non-fiction Laird Hunt and Robert Harrison respectively.

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