New Strega award rules make room for small publishers

(AGI) Rome, Feb 24 - The Strega Prize, a literary awardpromoted by the Maria and Goffredo Bellonci Foundation and byLiquore Strega, with the patronage of the City of Rome and thesupport of Unindustria (the union of businesses andindustrialists in Rome, Frosinone, Latina, Rieti, and Viterbo),will now be awarded under new regulations. A new voting system,protection for small and medium publishers, more space forforeign authors writing in Italian and different kinds ofnarration will now be the name of the game in a spirit ofpluralism and diversity with which the Prize's governing body

(AGI) Rome, Feb 24 - The Strega Prize, a literary awardpromoted by the Maria and Goffredo Bellonci Foundation and byLiquore Strega, with the patronage of the City of Rome and thesupport of Unindustria (the union of businesses andindustrialists in Rome, Frosinone, Latina, Rieti, and Viterbo),will now be awarded under new regulations. A new voting system,protection for small and medium publishers, more space forforeign authors writing in Italian and different kinds ofnarration will now be the name of the game in a spirit ofpluralism and diversity with which the Prize's governing bodyintroduced the new rules on Monday. "In a literary panoramathat changes with the times, with an offer that is continuouslyredefined and new forms of authorship and reading methods, it'svital to continue guaranteeing a plurality of voices and ideas,protecting those specific facets and differences that are thewealth of the Italian publishing market," said the president ofgoverning body, Tullio De Mauro. The first important innovationis a new voting system for the five finalists. The jury - the"Amici della domenica" group of the Bellonci Foundation, thevoting body of 400 men and women, sixty frequent readers, andfifteen reading groups founded by schools, universities, andItalian Cultural Institutes abroad - will have to express itspreference for three of the twelve competing books during thefirst round of voting instead of only one previously. This newrule will increase the number of votes necessary to reach thefinal, leading to a more considered and reliable decision. Thesecond change is the introduction of a clause favouring thepresence of small and medium publishers in the last five,taking literary diversity as a value in and of itself andrecognising the role of this market segment - nearly 40 percentof the sector - in promoting new authors and researchliterature. If the final five candidates do not include atleast one book published by smaller companies, the book (orbooks if they are linked) that received the most votes will beadded to the finalists. In another important change, foreignauthors writing in Italian and narrative forms not in prosewill be eligible for the prize. The previous rules admittednarrative books written in prose by Italian authors, with onlya few exceptions such as the graphic novel "Unastoria di Gipi"in 2014 and the participation of Albanian author Ron Kubati in2008. The following are the main dates of the 69th StregaPrize. Entries will have to be presented to the secretary'soffice by April 3; the 12 competing novels will be announced onApril 16; the first round of voting for the five finalists willtake place at Casa Bellonci on June 10. The final date for thesecond round of voting and the announcement of the winner, willby July 2 at the Ninfeo in Villa Giulia, in Rome. The governingbody of the Strega Prize for 2015 comprises, alongside Tulliode Mauro and the president of the Bellonci Foundation, ValeriaDella Valle: Alberto Foschini and Giuseppe D'Avino, Presidentand CEO of Strega Alberti Benevento SpA respectively; formerprize winners Paolo Giordano, Melania G. Mazzucco and EdoardoNesi; journalist and essayist Simonetta Fiori; journalist andliterary critic Enzo Golino; historian of the Italian languageLuca Serianni; Rome's councillor for culture Maurizio Stirpe;Maurizio Stirpe and Giuseppe Gori, respectively president andvice-president of Unindustria. (AGI) . .