Ian McEwan will open this year’s ‘Incroci di civiltà’, April 4th-7th 2018

Photograph by Annalena McAfee

It will be Ian McEwan, acclaimed British novelist and screenwriter, who will inaugurate the  the 11th edition of Incroci di Civiltà, the International Festival of Literature in Venice, created and organised by Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, at the Teatro Carlo Goldoni on Wednesday 4th April at 5pm. His works include A Child in Time (Jonathan Cape, 1987), Atonement (Jonathan Cape, 2001), On Chesil Beach (Jonathan Cape, 2007), Solar (Random House, 2010), Sweet Tooth (Jonathan Cape, 2012), The Children Act (Jonathan Cape, 2014) and Nutshell (Jonathan Cape 2016). The University which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year organized the Festival in collaboration with the Venice Foundation and the City of Venice and in partnership with the BAUERs Venezia, Fondazione Musei Civici Venezia and Marsilio.

The 11th edition of Incroci di Civiltà reiterates the spirit of the festival, combining prestigious names with emerging authors and offering the vast audience of readers a privileged perspective on contemporary world literature.
From April 4th to 7th 2018 there will be 25 writers from 21 different countries in Venice, including Australia, Chile, France, Germany, Japan, Great Britain, Greece, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Malaysia, Morocco, Romania, Russia, Sri Lanka, Spain, Sweden, Turkey.

There will be a special focus dedicated to African authors, with the presence of Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o and Abdilatif Abdalla (Kenya), and the first African Nobel Prize Winner for literature in 1986, Wole Soyinka (Nigeria). Selected poems by Mohamed Moksidi (Morocco) will be presented by Simone Sibilio (Ca’ Foscari) and two of Emine Sevgi Özdamar (Turkey/Germany) by Stefania Sbarra (Ca’ Foscari).

Michele Bugliesi, Rector of Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, stated, “Incroci di civiltà is one of the most prominent cultural events for Ca’ Foscari, an event created as a symbol of inclusion of cultural and linguistic diversity, themes that represent our University, our scientific research, our projects and the interests of our academics and researchers. This year, for the 11th annual event, the festival continues to inspire many readers and attracts the biggest names in the international literary scene to Venice. Topical issues and the interest in different cultures continues to be the heart of ‘Incroci di civiltà’, that can count on its precious collaborations with the main civic institutions, which I thank for their support.”

Flavio Gregori, Provost for Cultural Activities and Relations at Ca’ Foscari, commented, “Incroci di civiltà is one of the best moments in Ca’ Foscari’s cultural calendar. Much like the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella recounted in the 150th inauguration ceremony for the academic year, Ca’ Foscari has a special place in the Italian landscape for its studies and teaching of foreign languages and literature all over the world. In an exemplary way, Incroci represents this vocation by allowing writers from more than 20 countries dialogue with our professors and with the readers in the audience. Incroci is not just a festival goes on for lasts four days but is a year round project for its organisers, the professors, the students, and the editorial world with all the people that collaborate. Its a real recognition and appraisal on a national and international level, becoming one of the most important events, central to the anticipated cultural life in Venice.”

Pia Masiero, director of the Incroci di civiltà festival, “Its a privilege for me to be the director again this year for Incroci della civiltà, for everything it represents for the university and for the city. It is not a book club, nor is it a simple showcase for the most recent novels, but a moment of profound reflection on the themes that continue to be central to this day and age. Incroci di civiltà is a beautiful and successful way in which Ca’ Foscari creates a dialogue with the rest of Venice.”

Giovanni Dell’Olivo, director of the Venice Foundation, “This privileged glimpse into the lives of writers and is a fantastic opportunity to observe the modern world and read what's new. The approach, the meeting, the dialogue, and the crossing over of cultures from near and far allows us to address and analyse the most urgent current issues. The growth of our community is close to our hearts and this international showcase, for the quality of its contents and the stature of the artists is the lifeblood of our goals. The Venice Foundation continues to support Incroci di civiltà for this reason, as part of a consolidated relationship of collaboration, actively organising alongside the University, aimed at the cultural development of the community and in particular of young people.”

The opening will take place on Wednesday April 4th at 5pm  in the Teatro Carlo Goldoni. Ian McEwan will be presented with the Bauer Ca’ Foscari Prize and will talk alongside Susanna Basso, his highly esteemed translator who as well as being the italian ‘voice’ of McEwan, she has dealt with other authors such as Alice Munro, Kazuo Ishiguro and Jane Austen. The opening will also include the presentation of the Bauer Youth Prize to the Spanish writer Eugenia Rico.

The second day of the festival will begin at 10am in Auditorium Santa Margherita with Furukawa Hideo, one of the leading figures in contemporary Japanese literature, considered as the only real successor of Murakami Haruki and the winner of numerous literary appraisals.

This will be followed by a meeting with the Israeli lawyer and writer Yishai Sarid at noon. Not only has his spy story Limassol won numerous international awards among which was the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière in 2011. The Third will be released during the festival, it received the Bernstein Prize in Israel in 2916.

At 2pm the 1938 Anthropology: history, narration, memory, will be presented by Simon Levis Sullam who will tell the story of the anti-Jewish persecutions from the wake of fascism until the Holocaust on the 80th anniversary of the racial laws. Through unpublished stories by famous Italian writers and historians he will recount history with his stories; historical events, their stories, their memories. This will be followed by the award ceremony for the Ca’ Foscari 150th anniversary Literary Competition for the entire Cafoscarina community at 3.30pm: a brief piece in prose or verse about the Ca’ Foscari experience.

The collaboration between the Campiello and Incroci prizes continues: at 4pm Donatella Di Pietrantonio, winner of the Arminuta in 2017 will talk with the Australian writer Michelle de Kretser, who published her latest novel, The Life to Come in 2017.

At 6pm, the afternoon in the Auditorium will draw to a close with one of the great contemporary African writers, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o of Kenya. The author will also be a guest for this years Waterlines- writers and artists in residence in Venice- an international project of Collegio Internazionale of Ca’ Foscari University of the Venice and San Servolo Foundation and of the Venice Metropolitan Services, who will collaborate with Ca’ Foscari’s new ‘Center for the Humanities and Social Change’, to welcome this champion of linguistic pluralism in Africa and human rights in the world, author of fundamental novels and essays on the world today.

At 9pm there will be the usual evening appointment at the Teatrino of Palazzo Grassi, which will host the multifaceted Yasmina Reza, French author of plays and novels, winning multiple awards on an international level. Her work God of Carnage (2006) was adapted by the author herself for the film by Roman Polanski, Carnage (2011).

The programme for April 6th will open with Incroci contemporary poetry, which will be on the stage at Auditorium Santa Margherita, at 9.30am. This will feature the Russian Sergej Gandlevskjj, the Scottish Kathleen Jamie and the Moroccan Mohamed Moksidi.
The Italian translation of a selection of poems by Mohamed Moksidi will be the first translation of his work. An unpublished poem will be debuted for the festival for the new collection, ‘Incroci di civiltà’ published by Cafoscarina, together with the translation of two stories by the Turkish / German writer Ermine Sevgi Özdamar.

The Incroci poetry will continue at 11.30am in the same Auditorium, with Abdilatif Abdalla of Kenya, who was exiled for his criticism of the party led by Jomo Kenyatta; as well as Gioconda Belli from Nicaragua, known worldwide for her poems and for partaking in the Sandinista revolution; and the highly acclaimed Chilean poet Raul Zurita, also strongly marked by the political events of his country, arrested and tortured under the Pinochet dictatorship.

At 2pm in Auditorium Santa Margherita, we will have the pleasure of Ermine Sevgi Özdamar’s company, author of theoretical texts, stories and novels for which she has received numerous awards, including the Bachmann Prize in 1991 and the Heinrich von Kleist Prize in 2004. The Italian translation of his work premiers at the festival for the ‘Incroci di civiltà’ collection, published by Cafoscarina,  edited by Stefania Sbarra.

It continues at 4pm with the Norwegian writer Erika Fatland, names in 2015 among the best Norwegian under 35s, and selected by Literary Europe Live in 2016 among the ten most interesting emerging voices in Europe, and the famous Swedish writer and journalist Elisabeth Åsbrink. Her first novel that was translated into Italian, 1947, was translated in 15 different countries.

Also at 4pm the writer and teacher Eraldo Affinati will be the protagonist in IAS- Script interrogation, that will be held in Giudecca’s Women’s Prison. Affinati, finalist for the Strega Prize has recently published all the names of the world.
Bookings for this meeting will open on Tuesday 6th March at 2pm and it will be possible to register until Saturday March 10th.
To participate, you must register by sending an email to  info@associazionecloser.org with: Name and Surname, Tax Code, Place and Date of Birth.
The data is requested by management to authorise access to the institute and will be processed in accordance with the ItalianLegislative Decree 196 of 30th June 2003. Only the first 50 requests will be considered and incomplete or incorrect ones will be excluded. Everyone will receive a confirmation email within 24 hours.

The events in the Santa Margherita Auditorium on thursday will conclude after 6pm with Dag Solstad, considered to be one of the best Norwegian contemporary writers, the only one to have received the Critics Prize three times, as well as the Nordic Council Award. Incroci di civiltà is the first foreign literary festival that has the honour of hosting him.

Also at 6pm, at the Casa dei Tre Oci, visual storytelling for the festival will continue. Photographs taken by Boris Mikhailov from the 7th annual Incroci di civiltà will be on display. He is one of the most important photographers of post-socialist Europe, who was invited in collaboration with Palazzo Grassi to document the 2014 event. Silvia Burini will accompany Mikhailov, director of the Study Centre of Russian Arts CSAR of Ca’ Foscari University, as well as Denis Curti, artistic director of the Tre Oci.

At 9pm, the third day of the festival will finish at Fondaco dei Tedeschi, where Tash Aw, a writer with Malaysian origins, born in Taiwan, twice nominated for the Man Booker Prize and translated into 23 languages, will speak with Eraldo Affinati.

For the morning of the 7th April, Incroci di civiltà will move to the Fondazione Querini Stampalia, where at 10am Thanasis Valtinòs the Greek author of short stories, novels, screenplays, and winner of multiple prizes and appraisals will be present. He was the winner of the prize for the best screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival in 1984 for the film Voyage to Cythera, written in collaboration with Theo Angelopoulos and Tonino Guerra.

At 11.45am, the Incronti will proceed with two writers who has chosen Italy as her ‘adopted homeland’: Liliana Nechita, Romania, known for her activity in raising awareness on migration phenomenons of Romanian mothers and for their social involvement and the defence of the rights of women. We will also be joined by the Spanish Eugenia Rico, winner of the Bauer Youth Prize, considered as one of the best and most innovative writers in spanish language in the last 10 years, author of the new genre described as ‘interactive novels’ or ‘European romance’.

At 4pm in the Teatro Goldoni, the audience will be able to assist one of the incontri highlights of the festival, which will be led by Toni Servillo, who leads ‘Aperitivo con gli interpreti’ organised by Teatro Stabile of Veneto- the national theatre in collaboration with Ca’ Foscari. Servillo will be in the Teatro Goldoni from April 6th to 15th with the show Elvira, in which he is the director and interpreter. For this event, tickets will be free until there are no more places.

Finally, at 6pm at the Auditorium Santa Margherita, it will be Wole Soyinka’s turn, one of the leading exponents of contemporary African literature in English and the first African to have received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1986. Special mention will also be given to the Nonino family for ‘Imprese per la Cultura’ Bauer- Ca’ Foscari Prize.

Entrance to Incroci events will be free, with obligatory online booking on http://www.unive.it/pag/11642. This will be available from Thursday March 22nd at noon.

There are two events that will have different bookings:
- The event with Toni Servillo on Sunday April 7th at 4pm at the Teatro Goldoni where the entrance is free without bookings until it is full.
- The IAS (Interrogatorio Alla Scrittura) event with Eraldo Affinati which will take place at the Women’s Prison in Giudecca on Thursday April 6th at 4pm. Booking will be made available from March 6th at 2pm and will close on Saturday March 10th. To participate in this meeting it is necessary to send an email to  info@associazionecloser.org containing: Name and Surname, Italian Tax Code (‘codice fiscale’), Place and Date of Birth.
The data is requested by management to authorise access to the institute and will be processed in accordance with the Italian Legislative Decree 196 of 30th June 2003. Only the first 50 requests will be considered and incomplete or incorrect ones will be excluded. Everyone will receive a confirmation email within 24 hours.

For the 11th annual festival of 2008, Incroci di civiltà benefits from a huge network of collaborators:
Partner the BAUERs Venice / Civic Museum Foundation Venice / Marsilio
With the support of the Chilean Embassy in Rome / Embassy of Sweden in Rome / The Venice Center for International Jewish Studies (BEIT Venezia) / Casa dei Tre Oci / Centre for Humanities and Social Change at Ca’ Foscari / Centro Tedesco di Studi Veneziani / Collegio Internazionale Ca’ Foscari / CSAR Centro Studi delle Arti della Russia / Department of Linguistics and Comparative Cultural Studies / Department of Asian and North African Studies / Department of Humanities / Grafiche Veneziane / Querini Stampalia Foundation / Il Volta Pagina / Japanese Cultural Institute in Rome / The Romanian Cultural Institute for Humanities Research / NORLA - Norwegian Literature Abroad / Palazzo Grassi - Punta della dogana / Poetry Vicenza / San Servolo - Metropolitan Services Venice / Società Dante Alighieri / T Fondaco dei Tedeschi - DFS / Waterlines.

In collaboration with the Alliance française de Venise / Casa di Reclusione Femminile della Giudecca / Closer - Cultural Association / Department of Philosophy and Cultural Heritage / Giulio Einaudi Editor / Foundation Il Campiello / Iperborea / Lineadacqua / Premio Dubito International / Tempo Forte - Italy and Greece 2018 / Teatro Stabile del Veneto - National Theatre. Librarie partner Cafoscarina / Libreria MarcoPolo / Liberia Stadium / Punto Einaudi Venezia.
Organisation:  Foundation University Ca’ Foscari Venice.