There is already a superfavorite for winning the 2021 Strega Award: it is Emanuele Trevi with “Due vite” (Neri Pozza), a novel that tells the stories of Rocco Carbone and Pia Pera, two writers who disappeared too young, who lead with 256 votes the five of the LXXV edition, predominantly female. He is the author who will have to beat the other finalists: Edith Bruck with “Il pane perduto” (La nave di Teseo), which won 221 votes and won the special Strega Giovani Prize, Donatella Di Pietrantonio with “Borgo Sud” ( Einaudi) with 220 votes, Giulia Caminito with “The water of the lake is never sweet” (Bompiani) with 215 votes and Andrea Bajani with “The book of houses” (Feltrinelli) with 203 votes, also given as the favorite for the victory of the Campiello Prize.
The five was proclaimed this evening, for the first time in history, not in Rome but in the Roman Theater of Benevento, the city of the Strega Alberti liqueur, sponsor of the literary laurel since its foundation in 1946. mayor Clemente Mastella during a ceremony broadcast in streaming by Rai Play and conducted by Gigi Marzullo. The meeting took place in the presence of about 500 spectators in compliance with the current government provisions for the containment of Covid-19.
The finalists were announced by the president of the polling station Sandro Veronesi, winner of the Strega 2020 with “Il colibrì” (The ship of Theseus). Surprisingly, against the forecasts of the eve, two authors considered among the favorites remained out of the five: Lisa Ginzburg with “Cara pace” (Ponte alle Grazie) which obtained 141 votes and Teresa Ciabatti with “Seva Bellezza” (Mondadori) with 139 votes. Among the excluded also Maria Grazia Calandrone with “Shine like life” (Ponte alle Grazie) 126 votes, Roberto Venturini with “The year in which Christmas was twice in Rome” (Sem) 85 votes, Giulio Mozzi with “The repetitions” (Marsilio) 67 votes, Daniele Petruccioli with “The mother’s house” (Terrarossa) 66 votes and Alice Urciuolo with “Adoration” (66thand2nd) 61 votes.
600 individuals and collective votes cast their vote exclusively online, out of 660 entitled, specified Stefano Petrocchi, director of the Goffredo and Maria Bellonci Foundation, which organizes the recognition: 240 votes cast are added to those of the 400 Friends of Sunday by Italian and foreign scholars, translators and intellectuals selected by 30 Italian cultural institutes abroad and 20 among strong reader votes selected by independent libraries distributed throughout Italy and collective votes expressed by schools, universities and reading groups, including clubs set up at the Libraries of Rome.
Edith Bruck, 89 year old witness of the Shoah, with the poignant memorial “Il pane perduto” is the winner of the eighth edition of the Strega Giovani Prize, promoted by the Maria and Goffredo Bellonci Foundation and by Strega Alberti with the contribution of the Rome Chamber of Commerce and in collaboration with Bper Banca. The winner was announced at the opening of the live broadcast by the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Roberto Fico, connected remotely, respecting the tradition that in previous years saw the proclamation ceremony always take place at Palazzo Montecitorio. It was Giuseppe D’Avino, president of Strega Alberti Benevento who presented the award.
Edith Bruck’s book, with 65 preferences out of 416 votes cast, was the most voted book by a jury of girls and boys between the ages of sixteen and eighteen from over 60 upper secondary schools distributed in Italy and abroad (Berlin, Brussels , Paris). Eleven books nominated for the Strega Prize have competed for recognition. The Steering Committee of the Prize considered that, for the topics covered, Giulio Mozzi’s novel, “Le repizioni”, was only suitable for an adult audience, therefore it did not compete for the Strega Giovani Prize.
After the announcement of the winner, Guido Serafini, Campania regional director of Bper Banca, awarded the Strega Giovani Prize for the best review to Luca Rossi of the ‘Lucio Anneo Seneca’ Institute of Higher Education in Rome. Luca has withdrawn the plaque and will also receive a scholarship offered by the Bank.
Bper Banca strengthens its support for the Premio Strega by assigning a special recognition to the finalist authors. Also this year, thanks to the involvement of the twenty national State Academies of Fine Arts, it has launched a competition for the creation of a sculpture inspired by the craft of writing and the importance of promoting reading. The winning student of this edition is Liang Yue of the Albertina Academy of Fine Arts in Turin. He will receive a scholarship from Bper Banca, but above all he will see his work realized which he will deliver to the finalist authors during the final evening of the award which this year will take place on Thursday 8 July at the National Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia and live on Rai 3. .
Immediately after the definition of the five, the finalist authors will be in Bisceglie, for a meeting with the public organized by the Vecchie Segherie Mastrototaro bookshop, on 11 June. The subsequent stages of the tour see the authors engaged in San Benedetto del Tronto, for ‘The places of writing’, on 12 June; in Parma, Italian Capital of Culture 2020/2021, on 13 June; in Bologna in the Sala Borsa Library, on 14 June; Paestum, for a meeting organized by the City of Capaccio Paestum, on 18 June; in Salerno, for the ninth edition of ‘Salerno Letture Festival’, on June 19; in Biella, for the #fuoriluogo festival, on 25 June; in Cervo, for the eighth edition of ‘Cervo ti Strega’, on June 26; in Verbania, for a meeting organized by the Municipal Library and the Il Maggiore Foundation, on June 27; in Rivalta di Torino, for ‘The bewitched castle’, on June 28th; in Macerata, for ‘Macerata tells’, on 3 July.
“The vote for the choice of the five finalist books was not held in Casa Bellonci in Rome, as per tradition – declared Giovanni Solimine, president of the Bellonci Foundation during the ceremony – The renovation works of the headquarters have been completed, but the rules anti Covid-19 prevented us from being able to welcome the many people who usually attend the appointment. It seemed right, in a special year for the Prize, to hold the meeting in Benevento, the city of Strega Liquor “.
The image accompanying the LXXV edition of the Premio Strega was created by one of the most internationally appreciated Italian designers, Lorenzo Mattotti, in the sign of a project inaugurated on the occasion of the seventieth edition with Manuele Fior, and continued with Franco Matticchio, Riccardo Guasco, Alessandro Baronciani and Emiliano Ponzi.
(by Carlo Roma and Paolo Martini)