Casa della Letteratura begins its 5th year of activity on the 2nd March: a programme of 17 literary conferences at Villa Saroli, 4 projects with local realities, as well as various translation-related initiatives. We talk about this with Fabiano Alborghetti, cultural promoter, poet and president of Casa della Letteratura.
The narrative thread of the season is “Ancora luce” (“More light”). How did you chose it?
The narrative thread was chosen in continuity with the last programming editions, “Abitare” (2019), “Di fronte” (2020), “L’Oltre” (2021), “Dopo le macerie, orizzonti” (2022). “Ancora luce” comes from a reflection on the complexity of the last three years: considering the rubble which is not entirely left behind, a new, positive look was needed, one that was able to invoke hope by welcoming it into itself. Hope is often considered a didactic and empty term, something we tend to lose; through the meetings we have planned, we wanted to give form to hope, to make people understand that there is something profoundly new, positive, unexpected waiting for us. “Ancora luce” belies the words of Goethe, who on his deathbed asked for “more light”: we ask, we affirm “more light” on the threshold of a house with its doors completely open.
More than 20 literary conferences are planned over the coming months. What are the themes that will be discussed?
Themes will be diverse, having to do with identity and the light that identity contains.
We will begin with “Dialoghi in città”, in which the physical dimension of place is expressed by two very different poets through a series of evocations (02.03). Then there will be the grand opening with Alessandra Carati, who tells us a story seemingly distant in time, namely an escape during the Yugoslavian war, a young woman who makes a new life for herself elsewhere, becoming an established professional while having to deal with her audience. A story set before the 2000s, but with which we can find parallels if we look at what is happening in Ukraine today (09.03). Then we have the ecopoetry of Prisca Agustoni, who recently won the Swiss Literature Prize (23.03); mental illness recounted by Giorgio Boatti (06.04); silence becoming speech again with Leopoldo Lonati – who returns to writing after 17 years of silence (20.04). There will also be a disillusioned view of contemporary society by Francesco Targhetta (05.05), the possibility of magic and fairy tales with the “Barone Rampante”, recalling the 100th anniversary of Italo Calvino’s birth (15.05). We will talk about rebirth after an earthquake with “Trema la notte” by Nadia Terranova (21.09). We will have the profoundly social poetry of Valerio Magrelli (05.10), and the ironic poetry of Alessandra Carnaroli, author of a collection that desecrates the idea of depression, bad moods, and not having hope (26.10). Jessica Zuan from Graubünden will solicit several universes, taking us to places that we must be able to recognise in the diversity they represent when we look at them; the conference will be moderated by Chasper Pult (09.11).
We have also organised a beautiful meeting entitled “Tutto il mondo che io sono e tu non sai” (“All the world I am not and you don’t know”) in which we address cognitive diversity: people who are not writers or poets, who have physical difficulties or even more serious ones, find the possibility to write what they are, and through writing be more understood by us who would otherwise reject them.
A thread that runs through different types of light; where there is shadow, it somehow tries to lighten the darkness.
You collaborate with several associations in Ticino. What are this year’s initiatives?
Since its opening, the Casa della Letteratura has been trying to network as much as possible, recognising the importance of creating constant collaboration with other associations. One of the most fruitful collaborations is with the Monte Verità literary societies. We also collaborate with Pro Grigioni Italiano Bregaglia and Moesano, with the Archive of Cognitive Diversity, with Edizioni Svizzere per la Gioventù, with Lettere dalla Svizzera della Val Poschiavo, with LongLake during the summer – and these are the confirmed collaborations so far, but over the course of the year the interfaces with different entities increase as we go along.
Casa della Letteratura also looks beyond Gotthard, thanks to “Cari Vicini” (“Dear Neighbours”) with the Literaturhaus Zurich.
“Cari Vicini” initiative was born within Literaturhaus Zurich in 2003, with the intention of bringing into dialogue the two opposites of the Röstigraben, the German-speaking and the French-speaking part. When Casa della Letteratura arrived, a bridge was automatically created to propose “Cari Vicini” also in Ticino. As the only Italian-speaking contact point, Casa della Letteratura presents Italian-speaking authors from Italian-speaking Switzerland in the German-speaking part, and German-speaking authors in Ticino, translated where possible. The collaboration is very successful, offering special looks usually at an author’s entire production, or at a single book that contains something special – for example, Vincenzo Todisco self-translated a book into Italian, giving a grain of sand in the mechanism that could have broken the whole thing, and this did not happen.
Casa della Letteratura also promotes the translation of new Swiss authors. Who are the authors for the next two years?
We are still thinking about this at the moment. On the topic of translation, in April we will have a literary breakfast with two female translators in dialogue: Paola Messori (translator from Hebrew into Italian) and Margherita Carbonaro (translator from German into Italian). There will also be the “Cari Vicini” conference, and two more to be confirmed – if we cannot do them this year, we will move them to 2024. Literature is never in a great hurry.
The new season at Casa della Letteratura opens on 02.03 by the conference with Lia Galli and Andrea Bianchetti.
All conferences are free admission; booking is recommended.
More information: casadellaletteratura.ch