For our column Let’s talk about books, we talk to Simona Cives, in charge of the Casa delle Letterature and is the contact person for the Casa delle Traduzioni in Rome.
edited by Laura Pugno
Casa delle Letterature and Casa delle Traduzioni are two libraries and cultural centres part of the system of public reading libraries in Rome and located in the old city centre, in beautiful surroundings. Casa delle Letterature, housed in the Oratorio dei Filippini, a religious building designed by Francesco Borromini, is a library that focuses in particular on twenty-first century literature. In addition to improved consultation and loan services, the library offers presentations of new publications, seminars, conferences and exhibitions dedicated to national and international artists, promoting contamination between genres and very open to the contemporary. The Casa delle Letterature is an essential reference point for the cultural life of the city. Its location in the city centre, the beautiful building, the prestige of its book collections, the contributions it has made towards high culture, including the Festival Letterature, have made it a great showcase for the entire publishing world, both nationally and internationally.
Casa delle Traduzioni, which this year celebrates its tenth anniversary, is located in the Via degli Avignonesi, near Piazza Barberini, and is a specialist centre of the translation and promotion of Italian literature in the world. A unique presence in the Italian market, featuring a specialist library but above all residence reserved mainly for literary translators from and to Italian and experts in publishing and translation. The Casa delle Traduzioni is also a venue for numerous activities: presentations, seminars, language reading circles, but above all translation workshops for professionals with a view to life-long learning.
How does the Casa delle Traduzioni work with the Italian Cultural Institutes?
The Casa interacts with Italian Cultural Institutes, sharing their mission and commitment to the promotion of Italian literature in the world.
With some institutes, we have established collaborations of mutual publicity for initiatives launched on the subject of translation and the dissemination of Italian publishing. With others, we have actually shared activities. With the Italian Cultural Institute in Madrid, for example, we have devised a prize for translation from Italian into Spanish. The winner of the first edition, held in 2019, was Carlos Gumpert, an experienced professional who translated into Spanish M. Il figlio del secolo (M. Son of the Century) by Antonio Scurati, winner of the Strega Prize 2019. With the Institute in Mexico City for some years now, the Casa delle Traduzioni has helped organise the “M’illumino d’immenso” prize for the best translation of Italian poetry. In both cases, the prize for the winning translator is a period of residence.
In July, there will be the new edition, the first since the pandemic, of the Letterature Festival Internazionale di Roma , which over the years has developed a strong international calling. How do you intend to continue on this path and develop the dialogue between Italian and foreign authors?
The Letterature Festival Internazionale di Roma is the capital’s long-standing event promoted by the Assessorato alla Crescita culturale and Biblioteche di Roma. Now in its twentieth year, the event post pandemic will have a completely new format.
The event will be held from 21 to 25 July at a venue which is unrivalled for its historical, artistic and cultural value, namely the Stadio Palatino of the Parco Archeologico del Colosseo. During the five days, the area will be transformed into a prestigious showcase for the most interesting and original new publications on the national and international scene of contemporary literature. The title of the 2021 edition will be, inspired by the extraordinary period we are experiencing, Leggere il mondo (Reading the World). The festival will invite a number of voices, not only of literature and poetry, to contribute their experiences and interpretations of the profound change to our lives and relationships caused by the pandemic. Italian and foreign authors will take turns presenting their new works on the festival stage, creating a continuous literary dialogue between Italy and the world.