The International Literature Festival Returns to Rome

International literature festival in Rome

Basilica of Maxentius and Rome’s Libraries Host the Festival’s 2018 Edition this Summer

For the seventeenth consecutive year, the words of the most remarkable literary talents will reverberate through the Roman Forum this June and July. Since 2002, the International Literature Festival of Rome has invited 300 Italian and international authors whose prose and poetry has emblazoned the contemporary literary scene. Writers will speak at the Basilica of Maxentius in a series of eight events from June 7th to July 3rd on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9-11:30 p.m. The festival, conceived and directed by the House of Literatures’ director Maria Ida Gaeta, invites the public to immerse themselves in this creative atmosphere with its free admission.

Every year, a new theme inspires the guest authors to write and share an unpublished, specially composed work for the event. The festival’s last two themes– “Memories” (2016) and “Writers, Readers: the bandits of words” (2017)–preceded this year’s topic, “The Right, the Reverse: the inexhaustible stream of words.” This festival’s reflection on the ambiguous and arbitrary nature of words will invoke the exceptional craftsmanship of writers such as Stefano Massini, Olivier Guez, André Aciman, and Margo Jefferson. In previous years, guests have included Toni Morrison, Carlo Lucarelli, Jhumpa Lahiri, Sandra Cisneros, David Sedaris, and Zadie Smith.  

International literature festival in Rome

With recent collaborations with other artists, film makers, actors, and musicians, the Basilica’s readings have created a space dedicated to the raw deliverance of words and the growth of poetry. On June 28th, mathematician Paolo Zellini and five poetesses will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the poet Giacomo Leopardi’s work, “The Infinity.” On the last evening, July 3rd, the festival will host the five finalists of the Strega Prize, the most prestigious Italian literary award for the best work of prose fiction.

While the International Literature Festival of Rome continues its greatly anticipated readings in the Basilica, the festival is also breaking away from tradition this year. The Forum cannot contain this great celebration of words, which is spreading throughout Rome thanks to the Civic Libraries network. On May 3rd, the House of Literatures initiated a program of over forty meetings, presentations, and debates that will last until July 31st and take place in twenty-five Roman libraries. The program’s inauguration featured an exhibition of unpublished works by Maria Lai and will continue throughout various libraries in Rome. The libraries’ agenda, curated by Simona Cives and Maria Ida Gaeta, includes meetings with the authors of the twelve books nominated for the Strega Prize, discussions of constitutional and human rights, and meetings dedicated to the theme of fake news.

International literature festival in Rome

Within the libraries’ program, a series of more than twenty appointments and cultural discourses will be unfolding until June 25th. Scholars of various disciplines and other talented authors will host meetings that connect with the readings held at the Basilica. Also included in the program is Literature Off, the new addition to the festival that takes place in five rotating libraries. For five weekends, from May 18th – June 23rd, Friday evenings and Saturdays are dedicated to exploring themes addressed during the festival, with focuses on women’s writings, literature for children, and literature for the region.

For the entire calendar of Basilica readings, library meetings, and the Literature Off schedule, check out their website. 

June 7 – July 3

Civico di Venere Felice (Colosseo)

Tuesdays & Thursdays 9pm – 11.30pm

Free entry

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