Strega Award, also in the 2024 category is Melissa Panarello from Catania


By John

I am seven writers and five writers in the dozen of the 2024 Strega Prize, which for some years now has seen a prevalence of competing authors. There are two titles by Einaudi, «L'età fragili» by Donatella Di Pietrantonio, among the leading names of this edition, and «Cose che non si narrate» by Antonella Lattanzi, another author in the spotlight. Sellerio returns to the top twelve after 14 years (the last time was in 2010 with «Take care of me» by Francesco Recami, while he hasn't been in the top five since 2006) with a strong title, «Chi dice e chi tace» by Chiara Valerio, also favorite in the final sprint. Like Dario Voltolini with «Invernale» (La nave di Teseo) and Paolo Di Paolo with «Romanzo senza humans» (Feltrinelli).
Not to be outdone are Adrian N. Bravi with «Adelaida» (Nutrimenti), Tommaso Giartosio with «Autobiogrammatica» (minimum fax) and Daniele Rielli with «Il Fuoco Invisibile. Human history of a natural disaster” (Rizzoli). But it is difficult to identify the super favorites of this edition of the Strega full of novelties including the return on the final evening of the live counting of the last hundred votes that will be printed.
Fulvio Abbate with «Lo Stemma» who had introduced himself was left out raising controversy and was then presented by Sandra Petrignani, and Carmen Laterza with her self-published «The Last Resort» was not admitted via Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing and presented by Laura Massacra. «This year we had these two cases, one of self-presentation and the other of self-publishing. We had to evaluate these issues which were not foreseen by the regulation and we decided not to admit them. Perhaps on this and other issues we need to make some adjustments to the regulation to adapt it to the changes. We record the news and we have to decide how to manage them” said the president of the Bellonci Foundation at the announcement of the dozen.
Melissa Panarello from Catania is also in the running for the top five with «Story of my money» (Bompiani), Raffaella Romagnolo with «Adjusting the universe» on which Mondadori focuses, Valentina Mira with «Dalla parte mi ritroverai» (Sem) and Sonia Aggio with «In the emperor's room» (Fazi). As underlined by Melania Mazzucco, president of the Steering Committee, «there is a prevalence of female authors born between the 1970s and 1980s; the old voices are disappearing (absent this year), while the new ones of those born in the last decade of the 20th century, but still no one in the 21st century, appear. The novel with a more classic structure, both contemporary and historical, returns – she also explains – with an average language, often inlaid with dialect and a rapid pace, sometimes adapted to television seriality”.
The 2024 edition of the Strega Prize sees the number of entries grow voters, which went from 660 to 700 for the increase in the collective votes of the reading clubs of the Libraries of Rome – from 15 to 20 – and of the Italian cultural institutes in the world – from 30 to 35. Roberto Andò, Alessandro Baricco, Anna join the Friends of the Sunday Bonaiuto, Giulia Caminito, Giordano Bruno Guerri, Mauro Mazza, Antonella Polimeni, Loretta Santini and Roberto Vecchioni.

After various stages of «Tour of the 12» – for the second time, after last year, the first stop will be in Sicily, next April 20th, at the Catania Book Festival, founded and directed by Simone Dei Pieri – the announcement of the five finalists will be held on Wednesday 5th June at the Roman Theater of Benevento. The winner will be chosen on Thursday 4 July in the garden of the National Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia and live on television on Rai3.
It is not yet known who will host the final evening which last year was presented by Geppi Cucciari with a brief exchange between her and the Minister of Culture Gennaro Sangiuliano on the reading of the competing books which bounced around social media for days.
The twelve titles will also compete in the eleventh edition of the Premio Strega Giovani. «It was the first recognition that was added, in 2013, to the “historic” Strega Award. «From 1947 to 2013 there was only one award. The doubt could arise that the duplication of the brand would lead to a weakening of the Strega factor, that is, that multiplier of copies sold from which the awarded book benefits after the victory. Well, from the sell-out data provided by the publishers we can appreciate how in the last decade not only has the commercial result of the books winning the Strega Prize assigned by the adult jury aligned with, indeed it has grown slightly compared to that of the decades between the and new century, but also how the winners of the Strega Giovani Award keep the same pace on average” explained the director of the Bellonci Foundation Stefano Petrocchi.
They were also announced the dozen of the Strega Poetry Prize, in its second edition, and the five of the European Strega Prize of which the winner will be announced on May 12th at the Circolo dei Lettori in Turin.