The Erice Award goes to the Messina writer Mattia Corrente


By John

“Anna’s escape”, by the Messina writer from Librizzi Mattia Corrente (Sellerio publisher) is the winning novel of the City of Erice 2023 literary award, now in its fifth edition. The book was voted by a jury chaired by the writer Silvana Grasso.
This is the fourth prize that the beautiful debut novel by Corrente collects, a year and a half after its release, when it has reached its fifth reprint, and continues to fascinate readers in every part of Italy. A special case, to be noted, in a publishing world in which unfortunately the half-life of books has dramatically reduced, and there are few novels, especially the debuts of authors not yet known, which still enjoy great attention of the public and also of the qualified juries of the literary prizes.

The other prizes that Mattia Corrente’s novel has won in recent months are the Clara Sereni Prize, the Edoardo Kihlgren Prize for the first work, the Parco Majella Prize. The novel, at the moment, is also among the finalists of the prestigious John Fante prize, now in its XXVIII edition.
Meanwhile, «Anna’s escape» also has an international life: in July it was published in the Czech Republic, where it is meeting with great favor, both among critics and readers. In the coming months it will be released in France, by “Le bruit du monde”, an independent publishing house very attentive to the news of the Italian literary world, and in Poland.

The story of Anna, the “fugitive” of the title, it’s a kind of “odyssey in reverse”, in which Anna’s elderly husband, Severino, sets out on the trail of his wife, who has mysteriously disappeared, and retraces all the stages of their life together, in a lush and powerful Sicily, but out of any stereotype. His is a search over time, before space, and an investigation into freedom that will change him profoundly. It is also a reflection on identity, and the fragments of ourselves that we sow in places, over time, in the lives of others. The writing is exact, rigorous, but full of echoes, and boldly uses the Sicilian dialect as a “language of belonging”.

The awards ceremony in Erice will take place on Sunday 27 August, in the Gebel Hamed theater, in the presence of the winner and the mayor Daniela Toscano.