Grinzane Cavour Award


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PREMIO GRINZANE CAVOUR - An Award in the hands of children.

Premio Grinzane Cavour was established in 1982 by Chairman Giuliano Soria, in the most authentic heart of Piedmont, Italy, firstly in Alba and then in Turin, with the institutional intent of drawing young readers closer to books. Seat of the Award is the Grinzane Cavour castle, built in the first half of the 13th century, home during this past century to the great Italian statesman, Camillo Benso di Cavour. Objective of the Award is to privilege schools and students, spreading the pleasure of reading books not strictly related to school curricula. This is where the idea two panels - the critics and the students - was born.

Literary critics, essayists, writers, journalists and Italian cultural world personalities are called to assess the competing books. Students play a leading role: organised in seventeen School Panels, members are recruited in high schools throughout Italy, in Italian Lyceums in Brussels, Buenos Aires, Fiume, Paris and Prague, in the Italian Studies Institute at the universities of Moscow, Salamanca (Spain), Connecticut (USA) and Stockholm.

Faithful to this democratic mechanism, the event fulfils the institutional objective. The central issue of reading is not about "selling more books" but about encouraging reading. Premio Grinzane aims at facilitating and proposing a new way of living and perceiving reading, well aware that the award's maximum justification is creating new readers.

Premio Grinzane Cavour is structured in seven sections: published contemporary Italian fiction, contemporary foreign fiction translated and published in Italy, translations, essays, young beginner writers and the International Award, an aknowledgement for "lives devoted to literature" (the prize has been awarded to Julien Green, Günter Grass, Czeslaw Milosz, Carlos Fuentes, Bohumil Hrabal, Oe Kenzaburo, Yves Bonnefoy, Jean Starobinski, Vidiadhaur S. Naipaul, Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, Doris Lessing) and Premio Grinzane Editoria, the Italian Publishing Award, entitled to Giulio Bollati, one of the symbols of Italian publishing, destined to national and international personalities for their outstanding ethics and civil commitment. In 2001, Premio Grinzane Editoria was awarded to the German intellectual and publisher Hans Magnus Enzensberger.

Over the past years, the cultural choices of Premio Grinzane Cavour have been precious indicators of Italian and foreign literary trends. For example, Grinzane focused the attention of the general public on writers such as Wole Soyinka, Nadine Gordimer, José Saramago and Günter Grass, awarding them before the Nobel Prize sanctioned their international success. Italian award winning writers include Primo Levi, Antonio Tabucchi, Sebastiano Vassalli, Vincenzo Consolo, Luigi Malerba, Raffaele La Capria, Roberto Pazzi, Raffaele Nigro, Salvatore Mannuzzu, Lalla Romano, Guido Ceronetti, Alberto Arbasino, Francesco Biamonti, Daniele Del Giudice, Filippo Tuena and Diego Marani; foreign writers include Michael Crichton, Jorge Amado, Paulo Coelho, Kurt Vonnegut, Bernard-Henri Lévy, Mario Vargas Llosa, Graham Swift, Cess Nooteboom, Tatjana Tolstaja, Michel Tournier, Ian McEwan, Izrail' Metter, Adofo Bioy Casares, Anita Desai, Cees Nooteboom, Abraham B. Yehoshua, René Depestre, David Grossman, Alvaro Mutis, Yu Hua, Ismail Kadaré, Michael Cunningham and Chaim Potok.

A special award was conferred in 2001, to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Grinzane, to Afro American writer Toni Morrison for her commitment in favour of a culture of tolerance.

Grinzane is an atypical award and has become a cultural service for Italian schools, an indispensable medium for creating a concrete link between fiction and young readers. Over the past years, the Award has changed into a genuine cultural foundation, at the service of literature and youths with activitvities that go beyond selecting and awarding competing books. Collateral events are now an integral part of Grinzane activities. Every year, Grinzane organises talks and round tables with the participation of writer, critics and personalities from the world of culture, dedicated to current themes in literature. These include the international Conventions on Europa e America: 1492-1992. Due civiltà a confronto, (1991) (Europe and America: 1492-1992. A confrontation of two cultures), Letterature dell'Est: nuove frontiere per nuovi confini (1992) (Eastern literature: new frontiers for new boundaries); Letterature del Mediterraneo: un antico futuro (1993) (Mediterranean literature: an ancient future); Letterature dei Caraibi: dal Nuovo Mondo al Mondo Nuovo (1995) (Caribbean literature: from the new world to a new world); L'Europa delle culture. La cultura dell'Europa (1996) (Europe of cultures. The culture of Europe), Parlare con i piedi: letteratura, sport e dintorni (1997) (Speaking with your feet: literature, sport and more); Uno sguardo a Oriente. Scrittori di Cina, Giappone, Corea e Vietnam (1998) (A view of the East. Writers from China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam); Incrocio di culture: la scrittura dell'alterità (2000) (Cross road of culture: writing about others); Giovani d'Europa tra note, suoni e Napster (2001) (Young Europeans between notes, sounds and Napster).

Associazione Premio Grinzane Cavour first started organising conventions abroad in 1992, with the co-operation of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The conventions were organised in Grinzane School Panel hosting cities, such as Paris, New York, Buenos Aires and Salamanca. The international convention Il viaggio letterario. Otto scrittori del Grinzane a confronto (Literary travels. Eight Grinzane writers confront each other) was organised in Paris, at the Istituto Italiano di Cultura, with the participation of French writers Julien Green, Michel Tournier, Jean Lévi, Albanian Ismail Kadaré and Italian Giorgio Calcagno, Manlio Cancogni, Luigi Malerba and Roberto Pazzi. The convention entitled Il mito delle origini: un tema letterario (The legend of origins: a literary theme) was held in New York in 1992 with Isabella Bossi Fedrigotti, Franco Ferrucci, Rosetta Loy, Lorenzo Mondo, Nico Orengo, Sandra Petrignani and Francesca Sanvitale. In 1995, Grinzane promoted Italia contemporanea: tredici scrittori italiani a Salamanca (Contemporary Italy: thirteen Italian writers in Salamanca), a convention with the partecipation of Francesco Biamonti, Vincenzo Consolo, Daniela Del Giudice, Raffaele La Capria, Gina Lagorio, Maurizio Maggiani, Luigi Malerba, Lorenzo Mondo, Raffaele Nigro, Nico Orengo, Giuseppe Pontiggia, Francesca Sanvitale and Emilio Tadini. L'Italia, le Italie: radici e identità (One Italy, many countries: roots and identities), four days of talks dedicated to Italian culture, sponsored by Regione Piemonte with the co-operation of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was held in 1997 a Buenos Aires, and saw the involvement of Alberto Arbasino, Alessandro Barbero, Francesco Biamonti, Vincenzo Consolo, Valerio Magrelli, Salvatore Mannuzzu, Francesca Sanvitale, Raffaele La Capria, Gianni Minà, Giulio Einaudi and Gianni Vattimo. In 1998, again in Buenos Aires, with the patronage of Regione Piemonte and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Grinzane gave life to Le frontiere della letteratura (The frontiers of literature), a debate between Italian and foreign writers on crucial cultural roots and linguistic barrier mobility, with the presence of Bruno Arpaia, Alberto Asor Rosa, Daniele Del Giudice, Vincenzo Consolo and Normelio Zanotto. The convention Praga crocevia di culture (Prague, cross roads of cultures), on the centrality of the Czech capital in the history of European culture, was organised in 1998 in Prague, with the participation of Francesco Biamonti, Daniele Del Giudice, Raffaele La Capria, Maurizio Maggiani, Valerio Magrelli, Paolo Mauri, Lorenzo Mondo, Nico Orengo, Giuliana Morandini, Giorgio Pressburger and Francesca Sanvitale.

Premio Grinzane Cavour organised a convention in Paris on 13 December 1999, on the occasion of the centennial of Countess of Castiglione's death. A rare historical character, that reports of the time described as beautiful and charming, Virginia Oldoini, Countess of Castiglione, combined beauty and a distinct aptitude for political plot and international diplomacy. Supporting Cavour, her cousin, she won over Napoleon III with her arts of seduction, drawing him closer to the Italian cause. She stayed at the castle in Costigliole, seat of the prestigious Cultural Park. This makes the Countess particularly dear to the Premio Grinzane, that, on the occasion of the Paris convention, restored Virginia's tomb in the Père Lachaise monumental cemetery. The meeting took place at the Istituto Italiano di Cultura, with the presence of various representatives from the Italian and French cultural world Alberto Arbasino, Corrado Augias, Martina Corgnati, Alain Decaux, Alain Elkann, Michele Falzone del Barbarò, Daria Galateria, Cecilia Ghibaudi, Françoise Heilbrun, Giuliano Soria and Françoise Tétart-Vittu.

The convention Letterature a confronto (Two literatures compared) took place in Cuba at the Havana book show from 9 to 14 February 2000. The intention animating this convention was to favour the dialogue between two literary worlds, the Italian and the Cuban. Various themes and literary genres were discussed in the meetings: "Cuba con gli occhi degli altri" (Cuba through other eyes), "Patrie reali e patrie immaginarie"
(Real homelands, imaginary homelands), "Il discorso narrativo femminile a Cuba e in Italia" (Women's narratives in Cuba and Italy), "Cattolicesimo, protestantesimo e santeria a Cuba" (Catholicism, Protestantism and "santeria" in Cuba), "Il romanzo storico come racconto del presente" (Historical novels are tales of the present), "L'ultima generazione letteraria si presenta" (A presentation of the most recent literary generation), "Poesia, emozioni universali?" (Is poetry a universal emotion?), "Personaggi, atmosfere, storie della scrittura del mistero" (Mystery characters, atmospheres and stories), "La traduzione come scambio di cultura" (Translation as a cultural exchange). Numerous writers and intellectuals were involved by Premio Grinzane Cavour; the Italian: Irina Bajini, Massimo Carlotto, Marcello Fois, Gina Lagorio, Carlo Lucarelli, Luther Blisset Maurizio Maggiani, Dacia Maraini, Valerio Magrelli, Silvio Mignano, Gianni Minà, Nico Orengo, Tiziano Scarpa, Stefano Tassinari, Simona Vinci, Lorenzo Mondo, Giuseppe Bellini, Emilia Perassi, Giampiero Schibotto; and the Cuban: Daniel Chavarría, Carlos Martí, Arturo Arango, Miguel Mejides, Pablo Fernández, Marylin Bobes, Mirta Yáñez, Senel Paz, Julio Travieso Serrano, Alexis Díaz Pimienta, Cintio Vitier. Grinzane organised a programme of special events to complete the week dedicated to Italian culture, including: Omaggio a Citio Vitier (Homage to Citio Vitier, eighty-year old Cuban poet, Premio Nacional), meetings on Italo Calvino and Pinocchio, the inauguration of a Literary Award in Cuba and the presentation of a selection of Italian Spanish language studies reviews.

From 2 to 6 May 2000, Premio Grinzane Cavour proposed a programme of cultural events for the Buenos Aires International Book Show, with the participation of Italian writers Luca Doninelli, Maurizio Maggiani, Paolo Maurensig, Lorenzo Mondo, Nico Orengo, Laura Pariani, Roberto Pazzi, Sandra Petrignani, Giorgio Van Straten and Sandro Veronesi. At Buenos Aires Biblioteca Nacional, Grinzane, on May 3, organised the convention I miti che ritornano (Legends that return), during which various writers speculated on the theme. Again at the Biblioteca Nacional, on Thursday May 4, a homage to Cesare Pavese in the fiftieth anniversary of his death, was held with the participation of Guido Davico Bonino, Lorenzo Mondo, Marziano Guglielminetti, Pavese's translator and Argentinean poet Horacio Armani, essayist Miguel Espejo and writer Alvaro Abós. On Friday 5 May, the Italian theatre company Assemblea Teatro presented Dialoghi (da Pavese) - Dialogues (from Pavese) - a performance based on the text of Dialoghi con Leucò, directed by Renzo Sicco, with Gisella Bein, Lino Spadaro and Lola Manzano González. A talk entitled Torino: letteratura e altro (Turin: literature and more), saw the participation of writers from Turin, Guido Davico Bonino, Lorenzo Mondo, Nico Orengo and Marziano Guglielminetti, who have made Turin either the protagonist or the set of the literary stories. Meetings with other Italian writers took place in Córdoba, La Plata and Mendoza. The competition Il mito del viaggio (The legend of travels) with the co-operation of "La Repubblica" (Rome) and "Clarín" (Buenos Aires) daily papers on Thursday 5 May.

On 3 and 4 November 2000, Premio Grinzane Cavour, with the contribution of Regione Piemonte and the co-operation of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, organised a programme of events to celebrate two great writers from Piedmont in Edinburg: Cesare Pavese and Beppe Fenoglio.
On Friday 3 November, at the Istituto Italiano di Cultura, the talk Omaggio a Cesare Pavese (Homage to Cesare Pavese) took place with interventions by Gian Luigi Beccaria, Francesca Billiani, Marziano Guglieminetti, Renato Minore, Lorenzo Mondo, Brian Moloney, Rossella Riccobono, Doug Thompson, Bart Van den Bossche and Sharon Wood. In the evening, at the Adam House Theatre, the Italian theatre company Teatro dell'Angolo presented Pugni nell'aria. Dedicato a Cesare Pavese (Fists in the air. Dedicated to Cesare Pavese), directed by Giorgio Boccassi, with and by Giorgio Boccassi, Donata Boggio Sola, Vanni Zinola. On Saturday 4 November, Omaggio a Beppe Fenoglio (Homage to Beppe Fenoglio)
took place at the Lumière Cinema, with interventions by Gian Luigi Beccaria, Roberto Bigazzi, Ugo Cerrato, Philip Cooke, Peter Hainsworth, Lorenzo Mondo, Enrico Palandri and Jonathan Usher. In the evening, again at the Lumière Cinema, the English version of Il partigiano Johnny (Partisan Johnny), film directed by Guido Chiesa, with Stefano Dionisi, presented at the 2000 Festival di Venezia was premiered.

Premio Grinzane Cavour, with the co-operation of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Istituto Italiano di Cultura in Tokyo, Fondazione Italia in Giappone 2001, Regione Piemonte and Città di Torino, presented "Italia in Giappone 2001", a prestigious showcase of Italian art, culture, technology, products and creativity in Japan from 20 to 21 April. Eleven Italian writers - Alberto Arbasino, Vincenzo Cerami, Ernesto Ferrero, Raffaele La Capria, Valerio Magrelli, Lorenzo Mondo, Nico Orengo, Giorgio Pressburger, Elisabetta Rasy, Francesca Sanvitale and Tiziano Rossi - took part in literary talks at the Tokyo Book Show and Gaigo University.

From 11 to 15 July 2001, Grinzane organised "Albania questa sconosciuta. Scrittori tra due sponde" (Albania, the unknown. Writers on the two coasts), in Tirana, a programme of meetings between Italian and Albanian writers, intellectuals and journalists, aimed at destroying stereotypes and commonplaces. The Italian delegation included Mimmo Candito, Massimo Carlotto, Eraldo Affinati, Predrag Matvejevic, Raffaele Nigro, Lorenzo Mondo, Nico Orengo, Younis Tawfik, Ettore Boffano, Maria Giovanna Maglie, Andrea Purgatori, Gian Antonio Stella, Giacomo Annibaldis, Edoardo Albinati, Vito Bruno, Marco Ferrante and Silvio Perrella. This all with the co-operation of Regione Piemonte, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Istituto Italiano di Cultura in Tirana and the Tirana Book and Communication House. The Italian delegation also met the maximum Albanian political authorities and Italian military commanders in Albania.

Other activities promoted by Grinzane Cavour space from Grinzaneletture (Grinzane reading), annual surveys on young readers and books, which 1998 edition was devoted to young readers and libraries, Scrivere il giornale (Writing a newspaper) and Cartabianca (white paper) in which high school students experience journalism and are encouraged to write articles, the best of which are published in a national daily paper, and make their own paper, to numerous other television, radio and drama writing competitions.
GrinzaneEuropa, founded in 1997, is a survey on the cultural identity of young Europeans, conducted on international level, with the patronage of the European Community Commission, the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Fondazione Giovanni Agnelli and Compagnia di San Paolo di Torino.
Investigating the relationship between young readers and cinema, the Grinzane Europa 2001 survey was entitled "Giovani d'Europa, letteratura e musica" (Young Europeans: literature and music).

Another significant reality within Premio Grinzane Cavour is the Parco culturale, Cultural Park, a project sponsored by Regione Piemonte, with main venue is the Costigliole d'Asti castle, aimed at promoting and valorising the cultural identity of Piedmont between Langhe, Roero and Monferrato. The numerous initiatives include Festival del Parco Culturale, a programme of performances and Italian and international cultural events throughout Piedmont, with art exhibitions, literary awards dedicated to local personalities (Premio Cesare Pavese) and writing competitions aimed at valorising local material culture.

UNESCO signed a convention with Premio Grinzane Cavour in March 2001 acknowledging Grinzane as a "structure of excellence in the international cultural panorama".