Italy in France: ‘Passions Italiennes’ at the Paris’ Book Festival, April 21-23, 2023

Fifty authors are among the Italian delegation being readied for Italy’s guest-of-honor turn at April’s Salon du Livre de Paris.

Before Frankfurt 2024, Italy is Guest of Honor in Paris

Yes, that’s a red Vespa speeding past the Eiffel Tower. And midway through April in Paris, this and more Passions Italiennes will be on display at the Festival du Livre de Paris welcomes Italy as its pays invité, its guest of honor market.

“Seven days of meetings, lectures, dialogues, exhibitions, and performances,” says the Association of Italian Publishers (Associazione Italiana Editori, AIE) are being planned as a mix of “words, ideas, and emotions” with the festival welcomes Italy to France’s capital.

There are, in fact, two events here.

The guest of honor program is at the festival from April 21 through 23 at the Grand Palais Éphémère. But prior to that, an eighth edition of Italissimo, a festival of Italian literature and culture, will have opened the week, running from April 18 through 23 at multiple venues in Paris.

A corps of more than 50 “special ambassadors” of Italian culture are being dispatched, the writers among them presenting their most recent books and translations arriving on the French-language market. The programming, in fact, is described as forming “a moving photograph” of Italian publishing, including fiction and nonfiction, travel and children’s literature, poetry, philosophy, history, music, and more.

The Italissimo program is curated by Fabio Gambaro, director of the Italian Cultural Institute in Paris. That festival, since 2016, has established an annual, familiar presence in Paris, with events staged at the Maison de la Poésie, the Italian Cultural Institute, the Consulate General of Italy, the Théâtre de l’Odéon, the Théâtre Les Déchargeurs, Sciences Po , Sorbonne Université, Sorbonne Nouvelle, the L’Entrepôt and Panthéon cinemas, the Maison d’Italie, the Bibliothèque Publique d’Information of the Centre Pompidou and the high schools of the Paris region.

From the classics, Gabriele D’Annunzio and Dante will be the subjects of tributes, including the actor and director Toni Servillo’s inaugural presentation, Dante’s Voices at the Théâtre de l’Odéon on April 17.

And while that program will focus, once again, on a broad spectrum of contemporary and classic Italian art and culture, Italian books and publishing will take stage at the Festival du Livre, including a presentation of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair‘s exhibition on the work of Italo Calvino at the show’s spazio, the Italian pavilion.

The pavilion reportedly will comprise 500 square meters (5,380 square feet) in the Eiffel Room, on the northern end of the Grand Palais Éphémère, and its development has been led by Italy’s trade promotion agency, called ICE, with a design by Agence Isabelle Allegret.

For a look at the overall festival’s exhibitors, there’s a display here. You’ll find there’s a special festival of religious publishing included, with more on that here. “Science for All” is the emphasis in another specialized book event.

In the Italian Pavilion: Calabrian Olive Trees

At the center of the “Italian Passions” pavilion, the spazio incontri will serve as a venue for appointments with authors and publishers, working in a professional program dedicated to the rights-trading interests of both countries. Books displayed, in fact, are expected to be divided into two-thirds in French and one-third in Italian, while a pavilion bookshop will be open for sales at this largely public-facing festival.

There’s history of a good kind here, when it comes to rights-marketing between Italy and its French hosts.

In 2020, France was the second biggest European-market buyer of international rights to publish Italian books, a total 917 rights deals–and that represented an 8-percent increase over 2019. In the same year in Italy, 2,280 titles were translated from French.

And this friendly but not entirely balanced level of international exchange may be one factor behind the Italian publishing community’s goal for its Frankfurter Buchmesse guest of honor year (2024) to equalize the number of Italian books it exports for translation with the number of non-Italian works to which its publishers buy the rights for Italian publication.

For continues reading:, Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief.

Photo: Publishing Perspectives