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Book Award "The Bridge" - Second Edition



Book Award


The Week of the Italian Language in the World promotes Italian as a great language of classical and contemporary culture. Every year the diplomatic and cultural network of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation chooses a theme for this initiative and organizes a series of events in the third week of October. In 2016, under the High Patronage of the President of the Republic of Italy, for the XVI edition of the Week of the Italian Language in the World - October 18 through October 24 - the chosen theme is "L'Italiano e la creatività: marchi e costumi, moda e design".

As part of these series of events, the Embassy of Italy and the Italian Cultural Institute in Washington DC, in collaboration with the Embassy of the United States in Rome, Roma Capitale, Casa delle Letterature of the Rome Municipality, and the American Initiative for Italian Culture (AIFIC), invite you to the Award Ceremony and Panel Discussion for the Italian winners of the Second Edition of the Book Award "The Bridge", Nadia Terranova (Gli anni al Contrario, Einaudi Editore) and Marco Belpoliti (Primo Levi di fronte e profilo, Guanda Editore)




Award ceremony for the 2016 edition of The Bridge

Presentation of the Award and panel discussion with the Italian winners 




Gli anni al contrario

Einaudi Editore




Primo Levi di fronte e di profilo

Guanda Editore




Director Casa delle Letterature of the Rome Municipality




Writer, winner of the 2015 edition


Writer and professor of Creative Writing at Princeton University 


Inserra Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies

at Montclair State University, New Jersey








Embassy of Italy
3000 Whitehaven St, NW
Washington, DC 20008



The Book Award “The Bridge,” in its Second Edition this year, has been created and promoted by Casa delle Letterature of the Rome Municipality, the Embassy of the United States in Rome, and the American Initiative for Italian Culture (AIFIC).  The Book Award “The Bridge” is presented in collaboration with the Embassy of Italy and the Italian Cultural Institute in Washington, DC, the Italian Cultural Institute in New York, and the American Academy in Rome.

The Award is meant to be a “bridge” that connects two cultures, the Italian and the American cultures, in order to promote knowledge of the most recent cultural and literary trends in the two countries.

The Award is conferred annually to one work of Fiction and one work of Nonfiction, which have been recently published in Italy and the United States and consists of a sum to cover the translation cost into the opposite language. The books in competition are published in the two countries in the year preceding the Award or during the first three months of the year of the Award.

“The Bridge” has a mirror structure with two sections. The Italian books in competition (5 books of fiction and 5 books of nonfiction published in Italy) are judged by an American jury, while the American books in competition (5 books of fiction and 5 books of nonfiction published in the USA) are judged by an Italian jury. This structure ensures a better understanding of each other’s cultures, which is one of the objectives of this literary project.

The judges in the two countries are selected among professors of Italian, or American language, literature and history, scholars and specialists of Italian, or American, culture and society, literary critics, journalists, writers, translators, and cultural curators.

The winners in the two categories, Fiction and Nonfiction, are elected through two ballots occurring in September.

For the Italian winners, the Award ceremony will take place at the Italian Embassy in Washington, DC on October 24, 2016.

The Italian Authors will be also honored at the Italian Cultural Institute in NY on October 26, 2016.

For the American winners the ceremony will take place at the American Embassy in Rome on November 16, 2016.

During the ceremonies for the winners of the Second Edition, the Committee will also present the 2015 Italian and American winners books newly translated. The translated editions will have been translated from the original language and published in each country as a witness to The Bridge prize.



Maria Ida Gaeta, Graduated in Philosophy and in Literature at the University of Rome "La Sapienza " , Maria Ida Gaeta is specialized in philosophy of language. After working for several years as a researcher, she has dedicated much of her work on the promotion of books in several cultural institutions such as the Sistema Bibliotecario Cittadino of the City of Rome and the Ministry of Culture. In 2000 she designed and supervised the construction of the House of Literature in Rome, the most important city institution dedicated to the Italian and foreign contemporary literature. She currently directs Casa Delle Letterature. She is the curator and artistic director of the International Literature Festival in Rome, which takes place annually between May and June. The Festival credits about 300 of the most important authors of the international literary scene and the presence of about 400,000 viewer so far.

Domenico Starnone, (Saviano, near Naples, 1943) is an Italian writer, screenwriter and journalist. He lives in Rome. He has worked for several newspapers and satirical magazines, including L'Unità, Il Manifesto, Tango, and Cuore, usually about episodes of his life as a high school teacher. He also works as screenwriter. The movies La scuola (by Daniele Luchetti) and Denti (by Gabriele Salvatores) are based on his books. He is the author of eight novels, and numerous books of non-fiction. In 2001, he was the recipient of Italy’s most prestigious literary prize, the Strega, with the novel Via Gemito (Feltrinelli, 2000). Starnone is the winner of the First Edition of The Bridge for Fiction (2015) with the novel Ties (Lacci, Einaudi 2014) published in English by Europa Editions (2016).

Jumpha Lahiri, was born in London, the daughter of Indian immigrants from the state of West Bengal. Her family moved to the United States when she was two; Lahiri considers herself an American. In 2003, Lahiri published The Namesake, her first novel. A film adaptation of The Namesake was released in March 2007, directed by Mira Nair and starring Kal Penn as Gogol and Bollywood stars Tabu and Irrfan Khan as his parents. Lahiri herself made a cameo as "Aunt Jhumpa". Lahiri's second collection of short stories, Unaccustomed Earth, was released on April 1, 2008. Upon its publication, Unaccustomed Earth achieved the rare distinction of debuting at number 1 on The New York Times best seller list. Lahiri has also had a distinguished relationship with The New Yorker magazine in which she has published a number of her short stories, mostly fiction, and a few non-fiction including The Long Way Home; Cooking Lessons, a story about the importance of food in Lahiri's relationship with her mother. Since 2005, Lahiri has been a Vice President of the PEN American Center, an organization designed to promote friendship and intellectual cooperation among writers. In February 2010, she was appointed a member of the Committee on the Arts and Humanities, along with five others. In September 2013, her novel The Lowland was placed on the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize. The following month it was also long-listed for the National Book Award for Fiction, and revealed to be a finalist on October 16, 2013. The author’s latest book, In Other Words (In Altre Parole, 2016) written in Italian and accompanied by English translation by Ann Goldstain, is the result of an infatuation with Italy and it is about her struggles with learning Italian: a real passion for the Italian language.

Teresa Fiore is the Inserra Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies at Montclair State University, New Jersey. The recipient of several fellowships (De Bosis at Harvard, Rockefeller, and Fulbright), she was Visiting Assistant Professor at Harvard University, NYU, and Rutgers University. She is the editor of the 2006 issue of Quaderni del ‘900, devoted to John Fante, and the author of numerous articles on Italian American culture, migration to/from Italy, and 20th-century Italian literature and cinema that have been published in Italian, English and Spanish in both journals and edited collections. Her book Pre-Occupied Spaces: Remapping Italy's Transnational Migrations and Colonial Legacies is due out with Fordham University Press in Feb. 2017. She coordinates a regular program of cultural events and educational initiatives on campus:



The Italian Winners - The Bridge Award 2016

Nadia Terranova (1978), was born in Messina and lives in Rome. She made her debut in children's literature with Caro diario ti scrivo (Sonda, 2011) written with Patrizia Rinaldi, a story about twelve years old kids who become famous writers - from Anna Maria Ortese to Jane Austen. The book has obtained a reference in the Elsa Morante Boys Prize. Among her publications, Bruno. and Il bambino che imparò a volare (The child who learned to fly - Orecchio Acerbo 2012, illustrated by Ofra Amit) winner of the Napoli Prize and the Laura Orvieto Prize. Nadia Terranova collaborates with “IL Magazine" and "pagina99". Gli anni al contrario (Einaudi Stile Libero, 2015) is her first novel, winner for fiction of The Bridge Book Award - 2016 and Bagutta Opera Prima 2016.


Synopsis: Messina,1977. Since childhood Aurora, daughter of the Fascist Silini, has had the habit of taking refuge in the bathroom to studying and dreaming of emancipation from her family, that's too oppressive. John has always been the daredevil of Santatorre family, angry with his father and his "communism that smells of defeat", and wants to make a revolution. The two meet at the university, and a few months later they expect a little girl. But life together proves different from what they had fantasized. Frustration and fear of failure can also offend the most passionate bond, because even the strongest love can be betrayed by History.

"We never used the same Dictionary. We used same words, but with different meanings. We said Family: I meant to build it up and you to circumscribe it; we said Politics: I was excited and you wary. I was fighting, you preferred to hide. If Mara hadn’t been born we would have lost our way immediately, but at least we would not have continued to blame ourselves for our loneliness. When I think of the past years, it seems that everything went to the opposite direction”.

Marco Belpoliti (1954), writer and essayist, is professor of Sociology of Literature at the Department of Education and Sciences of Communication at the University of Bergamo. He collaborates with various newspapers and magazines; he is co-editor of the series "Riga" (Marcos y Marcos) and the online magazine “Doppiozero”, considered one of the major Italian cultural magazines. He curated the Einaudi edition of the works of Primo Levi (1997) and published an essay on Italo Calvino (L’occhio di Calvino, 1996). With Johan & Levi publishing house Belpoliti published Il segreto di Goya (2013). With Guanda house publishing he published Il tramezzino del dinosauro (2008), Il corpo del Capo (2009), Senza vergogna (2009), Pasolini in salsa piccante (2010), La canottiera di Bossi (2012), Da quella prigione (2012), L’età dell’estremismo (2014), La strategia della farfalla (2016) and Primo Levi di fronte e di profilo (2015) winner for non fiction of The Bridge Book Award, 2016.


Synopsis: This book, a sort of “book-universe”, is the result of twenty years of work on Primo Levi. It describes the “universe” of Primo Levi: his troubled life, his story as writer and intellectual, his multifaceted work, complex, full of topics, references and suggestions. As a sort of a mosaic the author moves deep into contents, imagery, subjects, creating also short paragraphs, which can be read individually as digressions or as part of a unitary context. More complex topics such as Judaism, the camps, the testimony of Holocaust innervate and run through the whole book, which contains also ten impressive pictures, and exclusive epistolary material found by the author in the archives never explored before.



The American Winners - The Bridge Award 2016

Eli Gottlieb: Born in Manhattan and raised in New Jersey, Eli Gottlieb has worked as a Senior Editor of Elle Magazine and taught American Literature as a Lecturer at the University of Padova, Italy. His first novel, The Boy Who Went Away has won him the Rome Prize and the Mckitterick Prize of the British Society of Authors and have been published in 14 countries. Best Boy, published by Liveright on August 24, 2015, is his fourth novel and winner of The Bridge book award 2016.

BEST BOY, Liveright 2015

Synopsis: Sent to a “therapeutic community” for autism at the age of eleven, Todd Aaron, now in his fifties, is the “Old Fox” of Payton LivingCenter. A joyous man who rereads the encyclopedia compulsively, he is unnerved by the sudden arrivals of a menacing new staffer and a disruptive, brain-injured roommate. His equilibrium is further worsened by Martine, a one-eyed new resident who has romantic intentions and persuades him to go off his meds to feel “normal” again. Undone by these pressures, Todd attempts an escape to return “home” to his younger brother and to a childhood that now inhabits only his dreams.

You’re told many things when you love an adult with autism. You’re told that person will bring joy and grief and frustration and — if you let it happen — great humor into your life. Written astonishingly in the first-person voice of an autistic, adult man, Best Boy―with its unforgettable portraits of Todd’s beloved mother, whose sweet voice still sings from the grave, and a staffer named Raykene, who says that Todd “reflects the beauty of His creation”―is a piercing, achingly funny, finally shattering novel no reader can ever forget.

Margo Jefferson was born in Chicago in 1947. Jefferson received her Bachelor of Arts from Brandeis University, where she graduated cum laude, and her M.S. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She became an associate editor at Newsweek in 1973 and stayed at the magazine until 1978. She then served as an assistant professor at the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at New York University from 1979 to 1983 and from 1989 to 1991. Since then she has taught at the Columbia University School of the Arts, where she is now Professor of Professional Practice in Writing. She joined the Times in 1993, initially as a book reviewer, then went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. She was for many years a theatre critic at the New York Times. She is winner for her memoir Negroland. A Memoir (Pantheon.2015) of the  2016 National Book Critics Circle Award (Autobiography). Negroland has also won The Bridge Prize 2016 for Non Fiction.

NEGROLAND. A MEMOIR (Pantheon.2015)

Synopsis: The daughter of a successful pediatrician and a fashionable socialite, Margo Jefferson spent her childhood among Chicago's black elite. She calls this society 'Negroland': 'a small region of Negro America where residents were sheltered by a certain amount of privilege and plenty'. With privilege came expectation. Reckoning with the strictures and demands of Negroland at crucial historical moments - the civil rights movement, the dawn of feminism, the fallacy of post-racial America - Jefferson brilliantly charts the twists and turns of a life informed by psychological and moral contradictions. A captivating memoir on the distinction between white and black privilege and how the black power movement brought on a crisis for the author.


Data: Lun 24 Ott 2016

Orario: Dalle 19:00 alle 21:00

Organizzato da : Embassy of Italy/Italian Cultural Institute

In collaborazione con : Embassy of the United States in Rome, Roma Capital

Ingresso : Libero


Embassy of Italy/Italian Cultural Institute