Little Bookstore, Big Festival: IDEA Boston Returns!

Oct 20, 2019 849

After a successful debut last year, the IDEA Boston festival returns this fall for another two days packed with literature, culture, and ideas. Taking place in Cambridge, Mass., on Nov. 1-2, 2019, the Italian-inspired literary and cultural festival will feature over 25 events and 60 guest speakers from all across the United States and Italy, and will also include a pop-up bookstore, a theater performance, an art exhibit, and a closing party with live music. 

“We might be a young festival, but we’re growing rapidly,” said IDEA Boston director Nicola Orichuia, who is also co-owner of I AM Books, the independent bookstore in Boston’s North End neighborhood behind the festival’s organization. “We do events all the time at the bookstore. This just feels a bit more special, because we have so many of them concentrated in two days.”

IDEA Boston, just as I AM Books, has a particular focus on Italian and Italian-American literature and culture, influenced by Orichuia’s Italian background (he is a native of Rome, Italy, living in the United States since 2008). “All events are in English, though,” Orichuia pointed out.

This year, the festival will have representatives from over 20 colleges and universities. One of the keynote speakers will be Italian author Edoardo Albinati, the 2016 winner of Italy’s most prestigious literary award, the Premio Strega, for his The Catholic School (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2019). Albinati will be in conversation with Antony Shugaar, who has translated Albinati and four other Premio Strega winners, as well as noted authors Roberto Saviano, Maurizio De Giovanni, and Primo Levi, among others.

"We are very excited about our partnership with Nicola in bringing a wide range of high quality presentations to this year's IDEA Boston," said Anthony Pangaro, Chairman of the Friends of Italian Cultural Center-Boston (FICC-B), which has partnered with I AM Books to bring IDEA Boston to life. Founded in 2012, FICC-B’s goal is to strengthen cultural ties between New England and Italy. "We believe that IDEA Boston will continue to flourish, becoming the ‘go-to’ festival for Italian literature and culture in North America. We are happy to help make that happen." 

In addition to literary-themed panels, IDEA Boston will also feature talks on current affairs, politics, art, immigration, and identity. Wrapping up the Friday portion of the festival will be a theatrical representation in Italian of Nobel Prize winner Luigi Pirandello’s La Giara (The Oil Jar). An art exhibit featuring 23 pictures included in From Italy to the North End (SUNY Press, 2017) will be open to the public throughout the festival. The conclusion of the festival on Saturday, Nov. 2, will be celebrated with a closing party with live music.

For more information and tickets, visit IDEA Boston is organized by I AM Books, an independent bookstore in Boston, Mass. For more on I AM Books, visit


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