Venice, September 1, 2021- Saturday, September 4 at 8.30pm at the Venice Arsenale, will take place the award ceremony of the 59th edition of the annual Italian literary prize “Premio Campiello”. The ceremony will be live broadcasted worldwide on Rai5 and streamed on Ray Play.
The five finalists to compete for the prize are: “Il libro delle case” by Andrea Bajani (Feltrinelli), “L’acqua del lago non è mai dolce” by Giulia Caminito (Bompiani), “Se l’acqua ride” by Paolo Malaguti (Einaudi), “Sanguina ancora. L’incredibile vita di Fëder M. Dostoevskij” by Paolo Nori (Mondadori), “La felicità degli altri” by Carmen Pellegrino (La nave di Teseo).
The “Campiello” is an Italian literary prize formulated by Confindustria Veneto that awards Italian literary works. It was founded in 1962, by the will of the industrialists from the Veneto region, with the aim of seeking a contact between the Venetian business industry and the Italian cultural world.
During its history, the Premio Campiello proved the worth of its cultural choices by catching the attention of the public toward a number of authors and books that have marked the history of Italian literature.
Now, during the year of the celebration for the 1600th anniversary of Venice, the Premio Campiello reaches its 59th edition: it was first introduced in 1963 and based on the island of San Giorgio. The winning novel was “La tregua” by Primo Levi.
The first Venetian to win the Campiello prize was the writer Alberto Ongaro, who won everybody in 1986, with his novel “La partita”. It would still take another 35 years to achieve a new Venetian success with Andrea Molesini and his “Non tutti i bastardi sono di Vienna”, which won the 2011 edition.
In 1964 to win the Premio Campiello was “Il male oscuro” by Giuseppe Berto, native of Mogliano Veneto and author of the short novel “Anonimo veneziano”, published in 1976.
The Prize would be later hosted in some of the most representative cultural backgrounds of the city: from the Teatro La Fenice to Palazzo Ducale, settings of a unique city on which still today some of the most important characters of the cultural scene appear.
Today the Prize, which is considered as one of the most prestigious of Italy and among the most important on the Italian literary scene, represent a way through which Venetian Industrial personalities offer their contribution to the promotion of the Italian narrative field, encouraging and spreading the passion for books, with the belief that the prize finds its major goal when “creating new readers”.
The way through which winners are declared has never changed during the past editions, and it's the result of the work of a double jury, a technical and a popular vote.
The first jury is in charge of appointing the five finalists that will be chosen among those who are eligible for the prize, in accordance with the terms and condition of the contest. The second jury changes every year and is composed of 300 readers, who are called to choose the winner, and whose names are kept secret until the ceremony, to ensure the absolute freedom of judgement.
Over time, the Premio Campiello has developed into many other initiatives, always working for literature and culture, understood in their broadest meaning. For this reason, the purpose of the ceremony is not limited to this official closing event but instead its goal is to preserve a function of permanent cultural service, throughout the whole year. These kinds of activities and awards are intended to increase communication and engage an always wider audience in this major cultural process. Two examples are the Campiello Giovani (for young authors) and the Campiello Europa.
Fun Fact: the origin of the name
Since it was born in Venice, the prize needed a true Venetian symbol: the idea came from Edilio Rusconi, then a journalist and not yet an editor, who took part in the first juries of the festival and found in the typical space of the Venetian public life, the campiello, the inspiration to define the cultural event. The name should underline the crucial participation of the 300 readers needed to choose the winners, the popular vote, and the bond between the city where the prize was born. The campiello, in fact, in the popular Venetian tradition has always represented a meeting point for cultural and commercial exchanges.
The word “campiello” also recalls the idea of Carlo Goldoni’s theater: the eighteenth-century Venice, with its calli and campielli, with its crowded word of people coming from every social class, whose vices and virtues were well represented by the author. In the same way the word and its ties resound in the Premio that is handed to the winner. The prize, that is awarded to the winner, is a silver reproduction of the typical Venetian well, still present in many campielli, the so-called “vera da pozzo”, essential for the city as it was the only source of drinking water supply. The prize is ichnographically inspired by the “vera da pozzo” of San Trovaso, that you can find in the Dorsoduro district of Venice.