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Strega Award, final with seven books: it is the first time in the history of recognition

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Strega Award, final with seven books: it is the first time in the history of recognition
Written by aquitodovale

from Luca Zanini, sent to Benevento

Two authors ex aequo and the repechage of a small publisher. Mario Desiati guides, second Claudio Piersanti, third Marco Amerighi, fourth Veronica Raimo. Then, on an equal footing: Fabio Bac and Alessandra Carati, followed by Veronica Galletta

Afternoon of June 8th. There is a relaxed atmosphere among the twelve semifinalists gathered to await the verdict. Yet a few heads down, a few tense glances caught here and there, reveal that not everything will be simple in this new round of the selection for the 2022 Strega Award. There are no favorites. Almost certainly given a name (and only one), the other 11 play it up to the last if it is true that – as one of the well-informed who works behind the scenes lets slip – there is a great scuffle in the ranks of the jurors. And among those of the representatives of the publishing houses. So, two hours later, between the stands of the Roman theatrehere is the verdict: n7 writers enter the five finalists. If it is true that mathematics is not an opinion, it is also true that the challenge was so fought as to lead to two draws and an enlargement to include a small publisher (it also happened in 2020).

For the first time in the history of the award, therefore, the finalists of the Strega are 7 and not 5: Mario Desiati with Spatriate (Einaudi), 244 votes; Claudio Piersanti with That damned Vronsky (Rizzoli), 178 votes; Marco Amerighi with Stray (Bollati Boringhieri), 175 votes; Veronica Raimo with Nothing true (Einaudi), 169 votes. They follow on an equal footing Fabio Bac with Nova (Adelphi) e Alessandra Carati with And then we’ll be safe (Mondadori), both 168 votes; in the end Veronica Galletta with Nina on the embankment (minimum fax), 103 votes.

This was decided by the historical members of the jury, the 183 readers linked to Italian cultural institutes abroad and the readers of Italian bookstores. But also the votes of the children of over 100 schools who on Tuesday had decreed the assignment of 2022 Strega Giovani Award to Veronica Raimo: their first three choices count in fact a valid vote for the designation of the finalists at the LXXVI edition of the Premio Strega (the most voted with Raimo were Carati and Piersanti).

At the beginning Clemente Mastella intervenes, returning to plead his dream: Let’s also do it leap maybe, if you want, but we bring the final of the Strega to Benevento. The squad of 7, the result of the first vote of the 2022 Strega Award, is announced live on RaiPlay by Emanuele Trevi, seat president and winner of the last edition. Until a few minutes before, Stefano Coletta was interviewing the candidates one by one on the stage, while the dripping of the vote count still flowed. Now the games are done. A spiteful wind blows among these ruins. The sky clouded over. It almost seems that the Zoccolara – one of the three types of witches who made the city of Benevento famous – has returned to stir the evenings in the Triggio district, while people flock to the stands of the amphitheater inaugurated by the emperor Trajan around 125 AD. tension was palpable in anticipation of the announcement.

The primacy of Desiati, which with his Spatriate has been talking about s for months, it was almost inevitable, pending the final challenge on 7 July, at the Nymphaeum of Villa Giulia in Rome, when only one, or only one, will win the Prize established 76 years ago by Maria Bellonci and Guido Albertiowner of the manufacturer of Liquore Strega.

The other members of the dozen semi-finalists selected by the Steering Committee are excluded, choosing from a shortlist of 74 titles: Alessandro Bertante, Hit and run (Baldini + Castoldi), 159 votes; Jana Karšaiov, Velvet divorce (Feltrinelli), 124 votes; Daniela Ranieri, Updated roadmap of all my kisses (Ponte alle Grazie), 122 votes; Davide Orecchio, Open story (Bompiani), 112 votes; Marino Magliani, Lieutenant Dumont’s telescope (L’Orma), 57 votes.

But here they are on the stage for the group photo the seven finalists of the award (promoted with the contribution of the Rome Chamber of Commerce and in collaboration with Bper Banca, Rai media partner, technical sponsor Ibs.it). Expatriate – he says Desiati – a word that in my dialect has neither number nor gender. In my land, a negative word indicates those who have gone astray. And the protagonists are two who have broken the pact with the world around them … but not a question of the province: you can feel outside the rules even at work, in the family. And he adds: I am a failed jurist because I studied law but I wanted to be a writer, so I go to read all the books of the missing jurists. In 2015 I realized I was an expatriate. But my story, I later realized, was not against something or against someone as I thought, but sharing. From Puglia to Berlin (where he moved from Martina Franca) and back, Desiati has completed a long journey of maturation, taking five years to write Spatriate: that not just a novel about those who leave their homelands. He follows him at a distance (the difference of 66 votes) Piersanti which in the story of Vronsky tells of a mysterious separation. The protagonist’s wife, Giulia, vanishes into thin air leaving a few lines: Forgive me, I’m so tired. Don’t look for me.

The novel And then we’ll be safe from Carat a book that confronts evil, touches upon the consequences of war. It describes, explains the author herself, the future potential of those 4 million refugees who fled Ukraine, many of whom will now inhabit our streets. a family saga and, at the same time, a coming-of-age novel: through the eyes of a 6-year-old girl, it tells the story of a family fleeing the war in the former Yugoslavia, an escape that is consumed under the flood of nostalgia … who crumbles with anger, those crushed by the weight of unbearable secrets. You still remember Carati: In 2008 I met people who had experiences like these in the book. Intense stories, too intense. A family that fled from Bosnia in ’92, from the war in the Balkans. Their story led me to be interested in the great geopolitical framework. Then in 2016 I started writing. In the end I focused on the story of their experience and the whole picture was filtered by their gaze.

Raimo, after winning the Strega Giovani Prize, he also remains in contention for the Witch of adults (and leads Einaudi to have two titles in the final). Writer and screenwriter, Raimo photographs in Nothing true people and social relationships, recounting a misunderstood sexuality in his Puglia and family relationships that stumble, in what he defines as a coming-of-age novel that gets nowhere. Curiosity: she too lived in Berlin.

Light, Straywhich resulted Amerighi in the end, it means making another kind of journey: this time in time, to explore what the writer, translator, editor and ghostwriter for various publishing houses, defines a generation that had been promised everything, the one that had everything at hand . And instead …. the Erasmus generation – explains Amerighi – which at a certain point discovered that it was the generation of degrowth. Understanding this has confused these young people, made them disillusioned, stray, after having had to face three historical moments: the G8 in Genoa (2001), the Madrid bombings of 2004, the student riots of 2007-2008. His is a novel about the life and restlessness of Pietro Benati (set in Pisa, the author’s hometown) which tells the vicissitudes of Pietro with a Tuscan-inspired writing – the only one in his family who did not want to vanish, as his grandfather did, and then his father Berto – and his peers between the end of the nineties and the beginning of the 2000s.

Adelphi returns to the final at the Strega after 33 years, thanks to Bac – to the second literary test later Cosmic benevolence -, than in his Nova invites us to reflect on a history of violence, on how violence is now something extremely familiar to us, also due to social media, TV and information sites. It is the practical violence that the protagonist runs into, a neurosurgeon who explores the limits of normalcy. Yet, he stresses, violence is also very far from our daily lives, because we live ultra-protected lives. Nova he explains to us that we are so alien to violence that in the very rare times in which it involves us in the first person, it ends up being not completely absorbable, not completely usable by our emotions.

The last of the jury’s choices is the story of the river, that river that Caterina, known as Nina – the protagonist of the novel by Galletta – lives on the bank, watching the succession of dramatic events. She lived life firsthand since the author was a hydraulic engineer, engaged in the construction of a levee. You worked for almost twenty years for a public body, then became a writer, to show all the contradictions, tell all the experiences and relationships that exist on a construction site, with a woman who does a male job, far from home. And she dedicated her new book to the people who live along the waterways. But don’t be fooled by the overall picture: the embankment from physicist becomes psychological, moral; this is a novel that speaks of deaths at work, of people who struggle (and often lose) against the strength of the river in flood, but also against power and bureaucracy.

June 8, 2022 (change June 9, 2022 | 00:04)

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