Strega Award, record number of proposals: the choices of Sunday's Friends


By John

There are 82 fiction books chosen by the Friends of Sunday to compete for the Strega Prize. The deadline for presenting books at the 78th edition of the literary recognition promoted by the Maria and Goffredo Bellonci Foundation and Strega Alberti Benevento, with the support of Roma Capitale and the Rome Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with BPER Banca and added the last 32 proposals. Starting with the restyling of the site and the new “Author's Witch” illustrated by Andrea Tarella, one of the most well-known artists active in fashion and publishing, this edition of the Prize surpassed the record of 80 books proposed which was achieved in 2023.
The task of selecting the twelve finalist titles. The dozen will be announced on Friday 5 April at a press conference at the Rome Chamber of Commerce. The announcement of the five finalists will be held on 5 June in Benevento, at the Roman Theatre, while the election of the winner will take place on 4 July at the National Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia.
The Award website has been online since yesterday, where it is possible to view all the books proposed by the Friends of Sunday and the related reasons. On March 21st and April 5th the Strega Poetry Prize and European Strega Prize sections will be completed respectively. The Committee reserves the right to evaluate the admissibility of the book proposed by Laura Massacra, «The Last Resort» by Carmen Laterza, self-published via Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing.
In the large list of proposals there is also «Lo Stemma» (The ship of Theseus) by Fulvio Abbate, who after the rejection of his self-nomination by the Award Management Committee, in compliance with article 1 of the Participation Regulations, was reported, with her consent, by Sandra Petrignani. «Fulvio Abbate's literary passion is also often a civil passion – underlined Petrignani at the beginning of the motivation –. In this Coat of Arms which presents itself programmatically as a sort of anti-Leopard, the scene is naturally Sicily, in particular Palermo, the era: our days”.
But Sicily is also present in a group of extraordinary women writers. In fact, the list of proposals includes Viola Di Grado, a young writer from Catania but with an authoritative and mature voice, whose latest novel, «Marabbecca» (The Ship of Theseus) was proposed by Daria Bignardi; Costanza Di Quattro, from Ragusa, playwright and prolific novelist who tastefully recounts vanished and surviving Sicilies, with the very recent «The Wrath of God» (Baldini+Castoldi), proposed by Roberto Barbolini; the Palermo-born Evelina Santangelo, with «The feeling of the sea» (Einaudi), between novel, memoir, narrative reportage of stories of the sea and the sea, proposed by Marcello Fois; Melissa Panarello from Catania with «Story of my money» (Bompiani), proposed by the Messina writer Nadia Terranova.
In the large – or rather record-breaking – list we also find the novel by the Calabrian writer (from Cosenza) Giuseppe Aloe, «Le cose di prima» (Rubbettino). The author, on his seventh novel, was present in the 2012 Prize's dozen with «The logic of desire» (Giulio Perrone publisher). Arnaldo Colasanti proposed it.
Among the others in the list there are also – among the best known and loved by the public – Paolo Di Paolo, with «Romanzo senzahuman» (Feltrinelli), proposed by Gianni Amelio; Donatella Di Pietrantonio, with «L'età fragili» (Einaudi), proposed by Vittorio Lingiardi; Antonella Lattanzi, with «Cose che non si narrate» (Einaudi), proposed by Valeria Parrella; Marco Lodoli, with «Tanto Poco» (Einaudi), proposed by Elena Stancanelli; Michela Marzano, with «I'm still waiting for someone to apologize to me» (Rizzoli), proposed by Simonetta Sciandivasci; Carmen Pellegrino, with the newly released novel «Dove la luce» (The Ship of Theseus), proposed by Gad Lerner; Chiara Valerio, who published (for the first time) with Sellerio «Chi dice e chi tace», proposed by Matteo Motolese.
Among the debuts, that of Fiammetta Palpati, «The house of white orphans» (Laurana Editore, the same as last year's literary “case”, «Ferrovie del Mexico» by Gian Marco Griffi), released very recently but which is already speaks with great interest and admiration, proposed by Gioacchino De Chirico.