Memory has the shape of a book. Interview with Chiara Valerio

by time news

2023-12-01 04:39:20

Time.news – We often hear about Chiara Valerio these days, in different contexts, but publishing remains her home. You are a writer and editor with a mathematical background, but also a journalist, radio presenter and artistic director. This year you curated the More free books. We met her to find out her feelings on the eve of the event.

You have defined this edition of Più libri liberi (PLPL) as the first volume of a trilogy: which chapters do you feel most proud of?

I like the idea of ​​the collaboration between PLPL and Testo, the fair organized by Pitti and Todomodo, an independent bookshop in Florence, through Radio Gridolini. I like the idea of ​​Emmanuela Carbé who will write a report which will then be published in the Stories section of Il Post, because in effect fairs and festivals are journeys. I like the idea of ​​Dior as a project partner of the fair because as Maria Grazia Chiuri, director of Dior’s women’s collections, says, fashion has to do with the representation of oneself. I like the idea of ​​a solid, broad, broad swath of science. I like the idea of ​​closing each chapter of the trilogy with a reflection on the work, displayed in various media, by Michela Murgia. In short, I like everything.

If you were just a visitor, which events of this edition of the event would you never want to miss?

Since I love readers very much, and I love writers who present themselves as readers, I would follow the strip Writers who talk about writers. Which opens with the Strega prize Mario Desiati who talks about Fleur Jaeggy and with Djarah Kan, writer and activist who talks about Conrad and Fanon.

60% of the total offer in bookstores comes from small and medium-sized publishing houses. What does the difference between their proposal and those of large publishing groups consist of in terms of value?

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I worked in an independent publishing house for almost ten years and now I work in a historic publishing house that is part of a large group. I don’t think there is a difference in point of view, in wanting to seek out and bring to those who read books that are considered new from time to time. Publishing has to do with the new, with the next thing, with imagination. The small one and the big one. However, every time you change scales new problems and new adventures arise. The problems to be solved are different for small and large publishing houses.

In a society dominated by technology, what do books represent – or should represent – for us? In other words, can they still change the world or at least, to some extent, our consciences?

You know, the Gods do everything in Olympus, but they don’t read. You might argue that writing had to come from there, but the reality is that reading and publishing are human actions. While technology has to do with mythology and religion (Prometheus steals fire from the Gods, a technology), publishing is an entirely human thing. Therefore reading in itself is the gesture that keeps us safe from technological fears or fears which, from the mid-1950s onwards, that is, since Norbert Wiener invented cybernetics – the precursor of what we now call AI – persecute us regarding possibility of a society governed by machines. But the point, it seems to me, is not automation: it’s memory. And it also seems to me that memory has the shape of a book.

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