Yesterday’s event in Ostuni was very special: after a journey begun in Oxford, my protagonist Tommaso “came home” to the beautiful city through which he and Anna “walk”.
I have lots of people to thank for the success of this bilingual presentation to an audience consisting, in fairly equal parts, of Italian and native-English speakers:
- The authorities who took the initiative of offering a literary event for both an Italian public and the sizeable Anglophone community resident in and around Ostuni. My thanks to Mayor Gianfranco Coppola, City Councillor Antonella Palmisano and Director of Museums Michele Conte, who gave the welcome addresses, and to their wonderful team, especially City Library Director Francesca Garziano and Press Officer Paola Loparco
- Francesco, Paola and Ilaria Casanova of the Bottega del Libro bookshop, whose support at the event and in the weeks leading up to it was precious
- Last but certainly not least, my wonderful interviewer Francesco Dimitri, another Apulian author living and working in London. Francesco writes in both Italian and English. His most recent titles include To Read Aloud and The Book of Hidden Things (which is set in Puglia) and he collaborates with The School of Life. I can’t wait for his That Sense of Wonder, which is due out in November 2018.
Francesco and I translated – from English into Italian and vice versa – everything we discussed. We had wondered how well this would work and were delighted to hear that people loved it and that many of them actively enjoyed the challenge of trying to understand what was being said in the other language before hearing the translation into their own tongue.
Francesco’s questions were insightful and stimulating, and those from the audience showed warm engagement with the novel. As always, it was so lovely, afterwards, to meet those present, to hear their thoughts on the book and to learn of their backgrounds.
Photos © author.
Images of City of Ostuni’s poster and of Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno by the respective sources.