Mantua Literature Festival to tell migrant stories

From September 9. Italian migrant stories translated into Arab

05 September, 17:59

    ROME - The Mantua Literature Festival "Festivaletteratura", now in its 20th edition and taking place September 7-11, opens a window this year on the world of migrants in Italy.

    The first migrant-themed event takes place on opening day, September 7, with Gazmend Kapllani, author of A Short Border Handbook.

    It tells the story of Kapllani's own migratory experience in the 1990s, when he crossed the border between Albania and Greece to live in a foreign country that turned out not to be the welcoming paradise he expected.

    Also on September 7, Leonardo Zanier and Pierluigi Di Piazza will present a collection of stories in the language of Friuli from 1964, tales of the many Italians from that area who left to find their fortunes elsewhere.

    The collection has been translated into several languages and is now coming out in an Arab version in solidarity with the thousands of men and women currently fleeing wars and hunger.

    As part of the Festival, Mantua - which is this year's Italian Capital of Culture - will also offer a "migration information point" for five days in Piazza Erbe, in collaboration with Open Migration and Forensic Oceanography.

    Festival organisers said its goal is to "provide information and tools to allow for forming an unemotional, unprejudiced opinion on migration".

    They said the information point will allow visitors to test their knowledge on the topic as well as hear from experts and first-hand witnesses to help break down the most commonly held stereotypes and acquire greater awareness.

    Various events highlighting the Mediterranean's other shore will also be part of the Festival, including one called "Una Città in Libri: Alessandria d'Egitto" (A City in Books: Alexandria, Egypt), curated by Elisabetta Bartuli and Luca Scarlini.

    Another, titled "Un Muro Tra Noi" (A Wall Between Us), will feature Borderlife author Dorit Rabinyan, whose novel tells the love story between a researcher who served in the Israeli Defense Forces and a Palestinian painter.

    Boualem Sansal will present his Orwellian novel set in Algiers, "2084", which in 2015 won the French literary award Gran Prix du roman de l'Académie francaise.

    And, in a talk open to adults as well as children ages 12 and up, two foreign authors living in Italy - Tsegehans Weldeslassie of Eritrea and Elvira Mujcic of Bosnia - will examine the true meaning of exile and of being a refugee. (ANSAmed).

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