All events will take place in the Aula Magna Regina, Guarini Campus, via della Lungara 233 (Trastevere), unless otherwise indicated.
18 October 2017, 6:30-8:00 p.m., Aula Magna Regina, Book Presentation: Frederika Randall's translation of Guido Morselli's The Communist.
Walter Ferranini is an Italian Communist. Organizer of farm cooperatives, working to build the new revolutionary order. A veteran of the fight against Franco in Spain and of seven years of exile in the US. By the late 1950s, now a deputy in the Italian parliament, he's puzzled by PCI's "de-Stalinization" drive. The puritanical party disapproves of his relationship with Nuccia, a tender, quizzical, deeply intelligent editor—because she's married. Worried about his health, bedevilled by knotty questions of theory and practice, Walter is and always will be a Communist, yet somehow his political faith no longer explains the life he is living or the future he dreamed of.
Pittsburgh-born Frederika Randall has lived in Italy for 30 years, writing for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Nation and Italian weekly Internazionale. Since 2004 she's dedicated herself to translation, including books and stories by Luigi Meneghello, Ippolito Nievo, Helena Janeczek, Sergio Luzzatto, Ottavio Cappellani, Igiaba Scego, Giacomo Sartori and Davide Orecchio. With historian Luzzatto, she received the 2011 Cundill Prize. Nievo's 19th century novel Confessions of an Italian made New Yorker and New Statesman "best books of 2014". Her translation of Primo Levi's Resistance was shortlisted for the 2017 Italian Prose in Translation Award. She likes to work on books that defy translation.
25 October 2017, 6:30-8:00 p.m., Aula Magna Regina, Book Presentation: Anthony Molino's Translation of Paolo Febbraro's The Diary of Kaspar Hauser. Both the author and translator will participate in the event.
This intriguing gem of a book is a direct, germinal expression of the author's longstanding fascination with the figure of the Idiot in Western literature. Part notebook, part ethical treatise, part fantasized autobiography, The Diary of Kaspar Hauser is a striking collection of forty or so haiku-like compositions, diary entries imagined to have been penned by the "idiot" Kaspar Hauser and discovered, by chance, after his death by brutal murder, among the papers of his patron, Franz Paul Webern. (Franz is Kaspar's interlocutor throughout the poems.) This hyperpoetic component of the book – inspired by Werner Herzog's masterful film - is sandwiched between two essays: the first, an Introduction recounting the remarkable discovery and history of the fabled manuscript; the second, comprising a one-page Epilogue (which details the death of Kaspar) along with a letter in the form of an Appendix by a fictional, highly cultured, Borges-like literary critic who converses with the eponymous "Febbraro" about his startling, dreamlike find.
The book has all the characteristics – concision of language, fanciful flights of fiction and criticism in concentrated poetic form, sparse elements of theatrical dialogue, a fierce philosophical underpinning – to make for an "ancient novelty" of sorts: a daring book that surprises and forces us to rethink what we think we already know.
"Magnificent. Paolo Febbraro is an extraordinary poet and his Kaspar Hauser is a hymn to pure ingenuity and intelligence, a book that raises challenging questions." –Luis Sepùlveda
"What is this space with limitless temporalities and voices rendered with such beauty by Febbraro and translator Molino? It is our inner world, the realm of everything, and this precious poem is a gift to all of us." –Christopher Bollas
"Molino's versions capture the otherness of Febbraro's original extremely well, and have a disconcerting vitality to them." –Prof. Peter Hainsworth, University of Oxford
Paolo Febbraro was born in Rome in 1965. One of Italy's most ingenious and innovative writers, he is the author of four books of poetry: Il secondo fine (Marcos y Marcos, 1999), Il Diario di Kaspar Hauser (L'Obliquo, 2003), Il bene materiale. Poesie 1992-2007 (Scheiwiller, 2008) and Fuori per l'inverno (Nottetempo, 2014). Among his critical works: I poeti italiani della «Voce» (Marcos y Marcos, 1998); the anthology La critica militante (Poligrafico dello Stato, 2001); and noteworthy studies on figures such as Aldo Palazzeschi, Umberto Saba, Primo Levi, and Seamus Heaney. A regular contributor to the influential cultural pages of Italy's Il Sole 24 Ore, Febbraro has also authored a major critical study entitled L'idiota. Una storia letteraria [The Idiot: A Literary History]. His most recent book is the collection of short stories titled I grandi fatti (Pendragon, 2016)
Anthony Molino is a widely published psychoanalyst and award-winning translator from the Italian. His translations include Antonio Porta's Kisses from Another Dream (City Lights Books, 1987), Melusine (Guernica Editions, 1992) and Kisses, Dreams and Other Infidelities (Xenos Books, 2004); Valerio Magrelli's Nearsights (Graywolf Press, 1991) and The Contagion of Matter (Holmes & Meier, 2000); Lucio Mariani's Echoes of Memory (Wesleyan University Press, 2003) and Traces of Time (Open Letter Books, 2015), as well as two plays: Manlio Santanelli's Emergency Exit (with J. House, Xenos Books, 2000) and Eduardo De Filippo's The Nativity Scene (with P. Feinberg, Guernica Editions, 1997, also anthologized in 20th Century Italian Drama, Columbia University Press, 1995). For Chelsea Editions he has edited Magrelli's Instructions on How to Read a Newspaper and Other Poems (2008), which includes a re-issue of Nearsights.
Wednesday, 8 November 2017, 6:30-8:00 p.m., Aula Magna Regina, A Reading by Chiara Barzini from her new novel Things That Happened Before the Earthquake.
Welcome to LA? Nineties' Hollywood gets an Italian makeover in this poignant and ruefully funny coming-of-age novel featuring a teenage girl who's on shaky ground—in more ways than one. Mere weeks after the 1992 riots that laid waste to Los Angeles, Eugenia, a typical Italian teenager, is rudely yanked from her privileged Roman milieu by her hippie-ish filmmaker parents and transplanted to the strange suburban world of the San Fernando Valley. With only the Virgin Mary to call on for guidance as her parents struggle to make it big, Hollywood fashion, she must navigate her huge new public high school, complete with Crips and Bloods and Persian gang members, and a car-based environment of 99-cent stores and obscure fast-food franchises and all-night raves. She forges friendships with Henry, who runs his mother's movie memorabilia store, and the bewitching Deva, who introduces her to the alternate cultural universe that is Topanga Canyon. And then the 1994 earthquake rocks the foundations not only of Eugenia's home but of the future she'd been imagining for herself.
Chiara Barzini is an Italian screen and fiction writer. She has lived and studied in the United States where she collaborated with Italian Vanity Fair, GQ, XL Repubblica, Rolling Stone Italy, Flair, and Marie Claire and wrote essays for American publications such as The Village Voice, Harper's, Vogue, Interview Magazine, VICE, and Rolling Stone. Her fiction has appeared in BOMB Magazine, The Coffin Factory, Noon, The NY Tyrant, VICE, and Dazed & Confused. She is the author of the story collection Sister Stop Breathing.
15 November 2017, 6:30-8:00 p.m., Aula Magna Regina, A Reading by Daniel Connelly from his new book Donkey See, Donkey Do—A Dream Sequence.
In Donkey See, Donkey Do, Daniel Roy Connelly restores to literature the largely-absent figure of the four-legged beast of burden. This picaresque pamphlet tracks the alien Donkey's descent to earth and meagre beginnings through his ascent to the pinnacle of British establishment. Donkey's satirical meanderings through society allow the author to bring his sharp yet absurd eye to questions of contemporary identity, British populist politics, cultural memory, and the everlasting Pons Asinorum.
"Daniel Roy Connelly is one of the most strikingly original writers I've heard in a while – witty, keenly insightful, with a droll, pitch-perfect sense of timing, his work feels like a refreshing wake-up call." – NAOMI SHIHAB NYE
"Daniel Roy Connelly is a crackerjack fabulist with top-banana timing. His wordplay is infectious." – HELEN IVORY
A former British diplomat, Daniel is a theatre director, actor and professor of creative writing, English and theatre at John Cabot University and the American University of Rome. He has acted in and directed theatre in America, the UK, Italy and China, where his 2009 production of David Henry Hwang's M Butterfly was forced to close by the Chinese secret police. His writing is widely published in print and online. He was the winner of the 2014 Fermoy International Poetry Festival Prize, a finalist in the 2015 Aesthetica Magazine Creative Writing Prize and winner of the 2015 Cúirt New Writing Prize for poetry.
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