Taobuk kicks off, over 200 guests in Taormina: recognition also goes to Nobel Prize winner Jon Fosse


By John

The 14th edition of Taobuk will kick off in Taormina from 20 to 24 Junethe international festival founded by Antonella Ferrara, president and artistic director, with the support and patronage of the Sicilian Region and other public and private institutions and entities. Over 200 guests who will intervene in the various sections to talk about literature, arts, geopolitics and science. Famous names from the entertainment industry will take part in Taobuk Galawhich will welcome the list of winners to the Teatro Antico: the Nobel Prize for literature Jon Fosse, Jonathan Safran Foer, for visual arts Marina Abramovic; for dance the étoile Nicoletta Manni and the choreographer Moses Pendleton; for cinema the Oscar award Paolo Sorrentinodirector Ferzan Özpetek and the actress Kasia Smutniakfor pop music the singer Naomi.

Taobuk Gala

The gala evening on Saturday 22 June, broadcast by Rai 1 and hosted by Antonella Ferrara and the journalist Massimiliano Ossini. The soundtrack will be entrusted to the Orchestra of the Teatro Massimo Bellini of Catania conducted by Gianna Fratta. Among the other guests of the five days were the European Commissioner for Economic Affairs Paolo Gentiloni, the Minister of the Interior Matteo Piantedosi, the Minister of Justice Carlo Nordio, the Minister of Culture Gennaro Sangiuliano, Fernando Aramburu, who will be awarded the Taobuk Award, the writer Glenn Cooper who returns to Italy after six years, the President of the Maxxi Foundation Alessandro Giuli, the curator of the Biennale Architettura Carlo Ratti, the economists Carlo Cottarelli and Mario Monti, the scientist Ilaria Capua, the writer Stefania Auci, the director of the Corriere della Evening Luciano Fontana, the journalist Federico Rampini, the director of the newspaper Alessandro Sallusti, the Spanish writer Rosario Villajos. On June 23rd, Thucydides by Alessandro Baricco will be performed in the Ancient Theater.

The Taobuk program in detail

Jon Fosse: “My language, home in the world”

Jon Fosse, Nobel Prize for Literature 2023 it will be in Taobuk together with over 200 international guests – writers, artists, scientists, intellectuals, politicians and economists – who will enliven the program of the 14th edition of the international literary festival dedicated this year to the theme of Identity. Fosse will be awarded the Taobuk Award, a prestigious recognition which since 2014, the year in which it was established, has also been awarded to Annie Ernaux, Svetlana Aleksievič, Mario Vargas Llosa, Orhan Pamuk, Olga Tokarczuk and which this year will be awarded among others to Fernando Aramburu, Marina Abramović and Jonathan Safran Foer. The awards ceremony will take place during the gala evening on June 22nd at the Teatro Antico in Taormina during the public conversation with Antonella Ferrara. The previous day, the 21st, Fosse will be in Taobuk for a dialogue with Sabina Minardi, introduced by Caterina Andò. Here is an article by Jon Fosse exclusively for Gazzetta del Sud:

“In my changing life I have lived in many places, and in numerous countries, but I grew up on the Hardangerfjord in western Norway. It is an imposing landscape, characterized by high mountains and deep fjords, where the sound of the waves echoed tirelessly. Perhaps in the In my writing, as James Joyce said when he explained what he was trying to achieve in Finnegans Wake, I have tried to «subordinate words to the rhythm of water».
In this part of the Kingdom of Norway, the language called Nynorsk, New Norwegian, occupies a central position. I learned it from the first day of school and then for all the following thirteen years until, after finishing high school, I started university studies. Nynorsk is my language.
Yet, I am often asked why I write in Nynorsk, my own language, since it is only used by ten percent of the Norwegian population, or about half a million people. Having said that, I must immediately add that Nynorsk and Bokmål, Norway’s majority language, are closely related and mutually intelligible, just as Swedish and Danish are, or could or should be, to everyone living in Norway.
One could say that Nynorsk and Bokmål are two languages ​​or one could say, as many do, that they represent two variants of Norwegian, just as one could also argue that the Scandinavian languages ​​are one language, divided into three or four versions : Swedish in Sweden, Danish in Denmark, and Bokmål and Nynorsk in Norway.
So far, so good.
As a child and during my adolescence, Nynorsk was something absolutely natural and obvious for me.
When I finished high school and moved to Bergen, I immediately realized that this wasn’t the case. There Bokmål reigned everywhere and Nynorsk was looked at with contempt because it was considered a language used in the villages where fishermen and farmers lived, a language that many did not like, even abhorred. During that time I had learned that when someone criticized my language, I had two options: get into fights or walk away.
Arguing in defense of my language was like arguing in defense of my very existence. How is it possible to do this?
Throughout my adult life I have lived with and about Nynorsk. I soon started composing poetry and trying my hand at writing short stories. During high school I wrote a novel that no one read, while at the age of twenty my debut novel, Raudt, svart (Red, black), was published. At the time I had already started writing as a journalist for the newspaper Gula Tidend, which was later closed, but which was then the only Nynorsk institution of any importance present in the so-called capital of Western Norway, the city of Bergen.
From there it was a succession of books and plays. I have been writing publicly in Nynorsk for almost fifty years, and I do so both while living in Norway and while living abroad. The entire and substantial Septology was composed during the seven years spent in Austria.
My life has been marked by numerous changes, by the breakdown of marital relationships, by long stays abroad, but I have always carried one thing with me, Nynorsk, my language.
I have a certain hesitation in stating that Nynorsk represents the most significant element of what I could call my identity. Maybe because I don’t fully understand what this concept means. I am not Nynorsk, but, to put it this way, Nynorsk is always present in me, wherever I am.
As a minority language, Nynorsk is an endangered language, which is why I think it benefited it a lot, or at least I like to think so, that I, as the first author to write in Nynorsk, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. This will hopefully make it a little more difficult to denigrate this language and it will be a little more difficult for high school students to burn Nynorsk dictionaries, as some political youth groups have incited them to do. And that was done, lighting real fires.
But what is Nynorsk? I think I should provide some guidance on this. For many centuries Norway was an independent nation, but, due to various factors, including the plague, the country was so sparsely populated that it became part of Denmark. Because of this, Danish had become the commonly used written language and in some areas of Norway people began to speak as they wrote, in a certain sense creating the basis for the development of Bokmål.
Nynorsk was born when the philologist Ivar Aasen traveled throughout the country with the aim of collecting and acquiring every form of knowledge regarding the Norwegian language and how it was spoken throughout the national territory. Aasen had discovered that behind the various dialects there was a system, a Norwegian language so to speak, so he had written a vocabulary and grammar for it. In a certain sense, he had recovered the Norwegian language. Subsequently, his canons were modified and adapted to contemporary speech. Of this language that I write, or try to write to the best of my ability, there are obviously more traditional and more modern variants, more or less cultured, but they all fundamentally share the same characteristics.
Just as Nynorsk has a lot in common with Bokmål, I sometimes think that the relationship between Bokmål and Nynorsk is reminiscent of that between Franz Kafka’s «Prager Deutsch» and Hochdeutsch. Precisely based on this linguistic difference, Deleuze and Guattari developed their concept of “minor literature”. Kafka is one of the authors I respect most, and with this I absolutely don’t want to compare myself to him, God forbid, but when I read Kafka. For a minor literature, I thought that many of Deleuze and Guattari’s considerations also fit surprisingly well to the situation of an author writing in Nynorsk, a language with its own peculiarities and who finds himself constantly under pressure.
It is this language, Nynorsk, that has always been my home in the world. Which for me has always been the house of being, to quote Martin Heidegger, and I dwell in this house, in this place, regardless of where I am physically.
If language is, or confers, a sort of identity, at the same time it is precisely language that transcends identity – perhaps above all in writing, which always embodies a new movement, a new rhythm towards the other, towards non- identity, yes, towards the non-place.
For me, the interesting thing lies not in what I have written previously – I don’t like rereading something of mine that has already been published – but in what I am writing now, or will write. It is moving towards something else, not the static, the rigid that defines identity or, more than “identity”, it is, so to speak, the “rhythm of water”.