Festival of Italian Literature in London

21 – 22 October

Two days of events featuring over twenty speakers, with a mix of established and exciting new voices. Italian, British, and international authors discuss literature, migration, the future of London, Italy, Europe, gender and contemporary culture.

Festival Line-Up

October 21
Italian Politics for Dummies (Panel Discussion) – 14:45
Italians (Reading) – 15:30
Gateway to Europe (Panel Discussion) – 16:45
The present is female. Women in storytelling (Panel Discussion) – 17:15
Sugo DJ Set – 18:15
The last London? Present and future of a global city (Panel Discussion) – 19:00
Closing Sugo DJ Set – 20:30
Suburra. When in Rome, do as Netflix does (Panel Discussion)- 21:00

October 22
Il cielo in una stanza / The world we live in (Panel Discussion) – 14:45
The Brexit of children (Reading) – 15:15
Citizens of Nowhere? (Panel Discussion) – 16:30
The secret history of Italian (and British) music (Panel Discussion) – 17:00
Sugo DJ Set – 18:00
Zerocalcare (An Evening with the Author) – 18:45
Closing Sugo DJ Set – 20:15



Italian Politics for Dummies

Saturday October 21, 14:45, Studio. £5

What is wrong (again) with Italian politics? The entire western world is in political turmoil, but when it comes to Italy, this turmoil seems to be deep and particularly complex. Is Italy once again in the vanguard when it comes to the decline of western democracy and new forms of populism? Is there something new happening in its political scene, or is it just something very old?

Christian Raimo is an author, journalist, and activist based in Rome. His literary fiction is published by Einaudi in Italy. He writes about politics and society in Internazionale magazine and he is often mentioned as one of the most political, outspoken, and lucid writers of his generation.
Jonathan Hopkin is professor of Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics. His research has mostly focused on parties and elections in Italy, Spain and the UK. He has published in a range of journals including the European Journal of Political Research and West European Politics.

Running time: approx 80 minutes
This event will be in English and in Italian with consecutive translation.




Saturday October 21, 15:30, Bar. Free event

Literary magazine Colla presents Italians, a special issue entirely dedicated to female Italian authors living outside of Italy. The event includes readings by Serena Braida – who will present her story Spiaggia finta in baracche a Camden – and by Berlin-based author Giorgia Bernardini, who will be joining us in London for this special event.

Readings by:
Serena Braida is a poet, writer and singer who writes both in Italian and English. Her readings and performances have been hosted at the European Poetry Night, Goldsmiths LitLive, and the Royal Albert Hall’s Elgar Room.
Giorgia Bernardini is an Italian author based in Berlin. Her short stories have appeared in magazines such as Rivista Studio, Altri animali, Abbiamo le prove and Pastrengo.

Introduced by: Paolo Nelli, author and lecturer at King’s College London.

Running time: approx. 60 minutes.
The readings will be in Italian; printed English translations will be provided.



Gateway to Europe

Saturday October 21, 16:45, Auditorium. £5

The moving and essential story of an Italian doctor who has worked for 25 years on the front line of what is perhaps the largest mass migration in human history. The island of Lampedusa has hit the world headlines in recent years as the first port of call for hundreds of thousands of migrants. Since the shipwrecks began in 1992,  Doctor Bartolo has been rescuing, welcoming, helping, and providing medical assistance to those who survived. But above all, he has been listening to them.

Pietro Bartolo was born in Lampedusa sixty years ago to a family of fishermen. He returned to Lampedusa after getting his medical degree, and has been running the island’s clinic since 1991. His book Lampedusa – Gateway to Europe is published in English by MacLehose Books.
Lidia Tilotta is a journalist of RAI Regional News and is the creator of the tv news show Mediterraneo (Rai 3). She is the co-author of the book Lampedusa – Gateway to Europe.
Chair: Clare Longrigg, author and editor at The Guardian.
With the presence of Marco Delogu, director of the Italian Cultural Institute.

Running time: approx. 80 minutes.
This event will be in English and in Italian with consecutive translation.



The present is female. Women in storytelling

Saturday October 21, 17:15, Studio. £5

While we talk about new exciting ways to write across genders, women’s writing is still cornered as marginal or “exceptional.” Things are slowly changing, but how? Four writers on the role of women in the cultural industry and feminism in the 2010s. Drawing from their different backgrounds – fiction, translation and publishing – these writers will compare their experience in making female voices heard.

Ka Bradley is a writer and editor based in London. Her writing has appeared in Granta, Under The Influence, Somesuch Stories, The Offing and Catapult, among others. She is an editor at Granta Books and Portobello Books, and an editorial director at 3 of Cups Press.
Jen Calleja is a writer and literary translator from German. She is the inaugural Translator in Residence at the British Library. Her debut poetry collection Serious Justice was published by Test Centre last year, and her short fiction and poetry have been published by 3:AM, Ambit, Structo and Funhouse.
Claudia Durastanti is a writer and translator based in London. Her writing has been featured in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Nero Magazine, and La Repubblica. She was the Italian Fellow of Literature at the American Academy in Rome in 2015. Her latest novel is Cleopatra va in prigione.
Sara Taylor was born and raised in rural Virginia. In 2017 she completed the Ph.D. in Creative and Critical Writing at the University of East Anglia. The Shore, her debut novel, was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and longlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. Her latest book is The Lauras.
Chairs: Emanuela Patti (researcher, University of Birmingham) and Stefano Jossa (literary critic, Royal Holloway University of London).

Running time: approx. 90 minutes.
This event will be in English.



The last London? Present and future of a global city

Saturday October 21, 19:00, Auditorium. £5

‘Brexodus’, housing crisis, frantic development plans, homelessness, social isolation, corporate greed are just some of the issues that overshadow the present and future of London. What will be of this city we live in? Is it really doomed to become a dystopia or, in the end, is this just London being itself – a restless, challenging, ever-mutating city? A panel with three different but interwoven perspectives on what is happening to our city.

Iain Sinclair is an author and filmmaker, well-known for his books on London and for his investigations in psychogeography. He is the author of nearly thirty books of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, including London Orbital (2002). His latest book is The Last London (2017).
Olivia Laing is a British writer and cultural critic. She has written about cities, art and gender, among other things. Her latest work, The Lonely City (2016), is a literary memoir on the meaning of being lonely and the deep relationship between urban loneliness and art.
Andrea Lissoni is Senior Curator of Film and International Art at Tate Modern. Before moving to London, he co-founded the international festival of electronic art Netmage in Bologna and was a curator at Hangar Bicocca in Milan. He sits on the board of Film London.
Chair: Marco Mancassola is a writer based in London.

Running time: approx. 80 minutes.
This event will be in English.



Suburra. When in Rome, do as Netflix does

Saturday October 21, 21:00, Studio. £5

Based on the eponymous crime novel, set on the Roman coast, Suburra is Netflix’s first Italian Original Series, a new entry in the increasingly lively scene of export-oriented Italian TV shows (Gomorrah, anyone?). In this exciting panel discussion, novelists Giancarlo De Cataldo and Hanif Kureishi will discuss Suburra, the relationship between literature and adaptions, and the imaginative power of contemporary TV series.

Giancarlo De Cataldo is the author, with Carlo Bonini, of the crime story Suburra (published in English by Europa Editions). He is also the author of the bestselling novel Romanzo Criminale, an essayist, the author of numerous TV screenplays, and a judge on the circuit court of Rome.

Hanif Kureishi is the author of novels, story collections, plays, screenplays, and essays. In 2008, he was awarded a CBE for his services to literature. The Times included him in their list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945”. His latest novel is The Nothing (Faber, 2017).

Running time: approx. 80 minutes.
This event will be in English and in Italian with consecutive translation.



Sugo Collective DJ set

Saturday October 21, 18:15 (approx. 45 minutes) and 20:30 (approx. 60 minutes), Bar. Free event

An Italian-inspired DJ set in the Festival Bar.

Sugo Collective is a group of eclectic DJs from Italy, UK and France all based in London. They bring together Italo disco, experimental dark electronic, jazz, world music and soundtracks from the 70s.


Il cielo in una stanza / The world we live in

Sunday October 22, 14:45, Studio. £5

Who is an Italian writer? Who can claim ownership of a language? In this unique collaborative performance, devised especially for FILL, six bilingual authors from different backgrounds come together for a poetic exploration of language and identity. A one-of-a-kind poetry event, exploring themes of belonging, multilingualism, exile, and the power of words to overcome borders.

A collaborative poetry performance by:
Katherine Angel is the author of Unmastered: A Book on Desire, Most Difficult to Tell (Penguin/Allen Lane). She has written extensively on sexuality, psychiatry, feminism, and gender. She teaches fiction and non-fiction at Birkbeck University.
Simon Barraclough is the author and editor of several books, including Sunspots (Penned in the Margins, 2015), Laboratorio (Sidekick Books, 2015), Neptune Blue (Salt Publishing, 2011), and Bonjour Tetris (Penned in the Margins, 2010).
Alessandro Burbank is a poet and performer. He devised the Palestine Project, promoting rap and poetry on the West Bank, and is an active contributor to LIPS, the Italian Slam Poetry League. He has performed widely in Italy and the UK.
Maria Borio is a poet, critic, and a poetry editor. Her poems have featured in Almanacco dello Specchio, Poesia and on the Journal of Italian Translation. Her collection L’altro limite is forthcoming with Lietocolle in 2018.
Marzia D’Amico is a poet and academic. She is currently working towards a PhD at the University of Oxford, with a thesis titled Homer’s Daughters. Issues, themes and expressions of feminine epic in modern Italian poetry.
Chrissy Williams is a poet and editor. Her first full poetry collection, Bear, has been published by Bloodaxe in 2017. She is the director of the Free Verse Poetry Fair. She has performed her poetry at the Royal Albert Hall, the Southbank Centre and for BBC Radio 3.

Curator: Livia Franchini (writer and translator, Goldsmiths University).

Running time: approx. 60 minutes.
This event will be in a creative mix of English and Italian.



The Brexit of children

Sunday October 22, 15:15, Bar. Free event

A kids-friendly literary event with Italian writer Pierdomenico Baccalario, who will be reading for the first time from a new Brexit-inspired story full of escapism, fear, borders and parallel worlds.

Pierdomenico Baccalario is one of the best-known Italian contemporary writers of children’s and young adult fiction. The novels of his Ulysses Moore series have sold more then 3 million copies worldwide. He lives in Reading.

Running time: approx. 60 minutes
This event will be in English.



Citizens of Nowhere?

Sunday October 22, 16:30, Auditorium. £5

Theresa May said that “if you believe you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere.” Issues of belonging, roots, community and bonds seem to matter more than ever in the Brexit-era world.

Helena Janeczek is an Italian writer and journalist who was born into a Polish-Jewish family based in Munich. She has written extensively about borders, history, nationality. Her novel Le rondini di Montecassino has been translated into English by New Academia Publishing/Scarith Books (The swallows of Montecassino, 2013). Her latest novel is La ragazza con la Leica.
Lauren Elkin is the author of Flâneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice and London. A contributing editor at the White Review, she works at the Citizens of Everywhere project for the University of Liverpool and in collaboration with The Guardian.
Chair: Claudia Durastanti is a writer and translator based in London.

Running time: approx. 80 minutes.
This event will be in English and in Italian with consecutive translation.



The secret history of Italian (and British) music

Sunday October 22, 17:00,  Studio. £5

Pop music, counterculture, movie scores, spaghetti western, progressive rock, obscure psychedelic sounds… What happened in Italy between the 1960s and 1970s opened up endless possibilities for contemporary music. There was a time in which Italian music was both deeply influential on British music and deeply influenced by it. A lively conversation on some secret music history.

Valerio Mattioli is a writer and journalist based in Rome. His book Superonda: storia segreta della musica italiana has chronicled the Italian avant-garde scene in the Sixties-Seventies. As an art curator, he has worked for the Venice Biennale and the Swiss Institute. He is currently an editor at Nero.
Rob Young is a Contributing Editor at The Wire and also writes for Uncut, The Guardian, and Frieze. His books include the critically acclaimed Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain’s Visionary Music (2010). The first volume of All gates open, a biography of the band Can, is due in spring 2018.
Chair: Beatrice Finauro (music selector, Sugo Collective).

Running time: approx. 80 minutes.




Sunday October 22, 18:45, Auditorium. £5

An evening with Italy’s most beloved cartoonist. Zerocalcare’s stories rely on a mixture of self-irony, pop culture and subtle melancholia, offering insightful perceptions of the contemporary world. This event will be in Italian.

Una serata con il più popolare disegnatore di fumetti italiano di questi anni. Le storie di Zerocalcare si affidano a un misto di autoironia, cultura pop e sottile malinconia, e offrono percezioni acutissime sul mondo contemporaneo.

Zerocalcare is an Italian cartoonist. His books have been massive best-sellers and he quickly became one of the most respected authors of his generation. Kobane Calling was published in Italy by BAO Publishing and translated into several languages; it has recently been released in the United States (Kobane Calling; Greetings from Northern Syria, Lion Forge Comics).

Running time: approx. 80 minutes.


Sugo Collective DJ set


Sunday October 22, 18:00 (approx. 45 minutes) and 20:15 (approx. 60 minutes), Bar. Free event

An Italian-inspired DJ set in the Festival Bar.

Sugo Collective is a group of eclectic DJs from Italy, UK and France all based in London. They bring together Italo disco, experimental dark electronic, jazz, world music and soundtracks from the 70s.