Syracuse, Maria Grazia Calandrone receives the “Elio Vittorini” award for an autobiographical book


By John

Maria Grazia Calandrone with “Where you didn’t bring me” (Einaudi) she is the winner of the XXII edition of literary prize “Elio Vittorini”. The finalist for the Strega prize prevailed over Giuseppe Lupo with “Tabacco clan” (Marsilio) and Matteo Nucci with “Sono difficile le cose belle” (HarperCollins). An autobiographical book for the poet and writer who never knew her mother, Lucia, being that little girl who on 24 June 1965 was abandoned at eight months old behind the gates of Villa Borghese in Piazzale Flaminio. And in the motivation of the jury, chaired by prof. Antonio Di Grado, the sweetness with which the author speaks of her own experience is highlighted: «Abandoned at eight months old on a lawn in Villa Borghese, fifty years later Maria Grazia Calandrone goes in search of her biological parents, who committed suicide in the Tiber , making an extraordinary and moving journey within himself and within the history of those years, the sixties, bringing out extremely current issues: the female issue, in fact, emerges on every page, but is never exposed over the top. Always keeping autobiography at bay, with the finesse and elegance of her being a poet, Calandrone tells us about her painful and at the same time engaging investigation and offers us touching pages of beautiful writing.”
Special mention for the Syracuse writer Veronica Tomassini (absent last night due to previous commitments) for his “L’Inganno” (The Ship of Theseus).
Yesterday evening, in the presence of Alessandro Quasimodo, the “Arnaldo Lombardi” Award for independent publishing was also awarded to the Le Fate di Ragusa publishing house “for the quality and care of its editorial productions which “have Sicily in the heart” , ranging from poetry to fiction, from art to music, from history to children’s literature, and thinking about the book to hold dear also as a precious object”. Doing the honors were the president of the Vittorini-Quasimodo cultural association, Enzo Papa, and the secretary of the Prize Aldo Mantineo.
In addition to the writers, recognition went to Frank Samaraweera, a Sri Lankan engineer, from Syracuse for thirty years, involved in raising awareness about abandoned waste.
Yesterday afternoon Maria Grazia Calandrone went to Elio Vittorini’s house in via Vittorio Veneto.
The awards ceremony was only the epilogue of a long Victorian Week: first a talk on the Syracuse writer and the role of the intellectual. Then the trial on “Vittorini between fascism and resistance”: Elio Vittorini was acquitted of the charge of being a fascist. The Court, represented by the lawyer Pucci Piccione, pronounced the sentence and observed, among other things, that «the Syracusan writer’s adherence to fascism, which occurred at a young age, must be considered characterized by a strong sense of rebellion and motivated by feelings towards better social justice, towards the elimination of large estates and therefore believed that it was an anti-bourgeois and libertarian revolution”. The popular jury was led by Anselmo Madeddu. The defense thesis supported by Professor Domenica Perrone who “dueled” with the accusation supported by Professor Edoardo Esposito. The sentence included an “accessory provision” hoping “that the novel “Conversazione in Sicilia” will become, for the students of Syracuse in particular, an instrument of knowledge of the figure of Elio Vittorini. A request taken up by the Councilor for Culture, Fabio Granata: «We will take care of intervening in the central library and the 4 in the neighborhood so that they encourage the reading of Vittorini’s works».