To enter into the spirit of this post: Ennio Morricone, The Mission (Gabriel’s Oboe).
Poca favilla gran fiamma seconda, From a little spark may burst a flame, wrote Dante Alighieri in the Divine Comedy. No words are more suitable to epitomize the spirit of the much awaited return of the Pisa Book Festival, after the dark months of lockdown.
This year the Pisa Book Festival, the leading Italian independent book fair founded and directed by editor Lucia Della Porta, will be an online event. It will be running live, from Thursday 3 to Sunday 6 December, from Pisa, the Tuscan city where the glories of British Literature, such as George Byron, Percy Shelley, his wife Mary and Thomas Medwin settled and flourished.
All the events will be hosted at the Palazzo Blu, the historic building on the river Arno converted into museum by the Fondazione Pisa. The name of the building, once known as the Palazzo Giuli Rosselmini Gualandi, derives from the blue color uncovered during a recent architectural restoration that dates back to the Russian owners who acquired the Palazzo in the Eighteenth Century. A daily virtual tour at 1 pm will allow viewers to catch a glimpse of the magnificent art collections and the permanent exhibitions displayed at the Palazzo.
During the days of the fair, meetings, debates and readings with sixty authors and translators will be available through the Festival’s You Tube channel and its Facebook profile.
The guest country of honor of this edition will be Italy. Probably few countries have given birth to so many prominent personalities as Italy. From the Roman Empire through the Renaissance and due to the success of Made in Italy during the latest decades, its cultural heritage has hugely influenced the rest of the world.
As a tribute to this everlasting quality, the opening of the festival will be dedicated to Dante, the greatest Italian poet and the father of the Italian language, through a lectio magistralis by the academic literary critic Alberto Casadei (Dec. 3, at 10:30 am).
Italian academic and essayist Lina Bolzoni and Latinist Nicola Gardini will talk about Renaissance myths (Dec. 4, 6:30 pm).
The antiquity and its unsolved mysteries will be discussed by Massimo Polidoro on December 5th at 6:30 pm.
On Sunday 6, Valeria Palumbo will discuss women’s fight for the civil rights through the works of the major Italian writers of the 20th century at 11 am. At 3:30 pm Luca Serianni and Fabrizio Franceschini will explore the evolution of the Italian language through philologist Fiammetta Papi’s work “La lingua Italiana in 100 date” (Italian Languages in 100 Dates).
Among the many guests expected at the Festival, there will be crime fiction author Marco Vichi (Dec.3, 5 pm), the Sardinian novelist Milena Agus (Dec. 4, 3 pm), British-Italian television presenter, actor and author Luca Murphy (Dec. 5, 10 am) and Tuscan writer Vanni Santoni who will lead the masterclass “Scrivere, esordire e pubblicare” (Writing, Debuting and Publishing) the 5th December at 11:30.
A special space will be dedicated to the international literature translated in Italian, starting Thursday 3 at 6 pm with Enrico Terrinoni and Riccardo Michelucci who will present their translation of the notes written in prison by Bobby Sands, IRA volunteer and revolutionary icon. On Friday 4, time travel and slave narrative will be the topics of the conversation with Veronica Raimo, translator of “Kindred”, a 1979 novel by the American author Octavia Butler (5 pm). The same day Caterina Garzonio will present her translation of “The Master and Margarita” by Russian Michail Bulgakov (10 am). Regarding the poetry, Roberto Francavilla will introduce “Terra di offerta” (Land of offering), about the verses of Angolan Ruy Duarte de Carvalho (Dec. 4, 10 am) and Paola Del Zoppo will discuss the poetry of Marion Poschmann, a multi-awarded author from Germany (Dec. 4, 4 pm). Ilide Carmignani will return to the Festival on Dec 5 at 5 pm to present “The Unknown University”, an anthology of poems by the great Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño.
A historian of science Stefano Gattei, the astrophysicist Patrizia Caraveo and Stavros Katsanevas, director of the European Gravitational Observatory, will talk about the stages of the study of the universe in “Galileo, la luna e i buchi neri” (Galileo, the moon and the black holes) at the final event of the festival on Dec. 6 at 6:30 pm.
Dante, the supreme poet perhaps described it best with: “Where we came forth, and once more saw the stars”.
Check out the complete program at www.pisabookfestival.com.