Strega Prize 2024, Donatella Di Pietrantonio wins with L'Età Fragile

First place Donatella Di Pietrantonio with Età fragile, second place Dario Voltolini with Invernale, third place Chiara Valerio with Chi dice e chi tace. It is in the historic setting of the National Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia Rome that the trio of the 78th Strega Prize is located. Six candidates competed for the prestigious literary prize: Paolo Di Paolo with Novel without humans (Feltrinelli), Donatella Di Pietrantonio with The fragile age (Einaudi), Tommaso Giartosio with Autobiogrammatic (fax minimum), Raffaella Romagnolo with Fix the Universe (Mondadori), Chiara Valerio with Who speaks and who remains silent? (Sellerio), Dario Voltolini with Winter (The Ship of Theseus). The event was broadcast live on television from 11pm on Rai3. Geppi Cucciari returns for the fourth time to host, alongside Pino Strabioli, who already directed the literary prize in 2016 and 2019. “There will be some surprises and among other innovations the restoration of the live count of the last 100 votes with the new anonymous ballots produced automatically by the electronic voting system that will be printed”, announced the director of the Bellonci Foundation, Stefano Petrocchi, who presided over the vote in the absence of the writer awarded in the last edition, Ada d'Adamo, who died of cancer before the final on April 1, 2023.

Clothing designer? The finalists' answer

Like any major event, fashion also plays its part. However, the fact that artists appear on stage in designer clothes arouses much controversy. Chiara Valerio is all Dior, Donatella di Pietrantonio wears a piece by Etro, Raffaella Romagnolo by Missoni, Dario Voltolini and Paolo Di Paolo are designed by Lardini and Tommaso Giartosio opted for Gucci. “Why should writers be the only category not to wear designer clothes?” asks Di Paolo, highlighting what he believes is an absurdity of the debate. “What is the malice, the error, the stumbling block if fashion houses believe they can offer clothes to the greatest Italian literary prize? It happens at the Davids, at the Oscars and no one raises an eyebrow. Why should only writers dress alone?” he adds. Di Pietrantonio, on the other hand, sees things differently: “Controversy is absolutely necessary.” If there were no stylists, it would have been botched. Today, it's a question of beauty, so let it be.”

Between books, designer clothes and controversies

Chiara Valerio also had her say. “From a formal point of view, the controversy began on the day of the dozen when, for a joke we had organized in chat, we decided to all buy an object and Voltolini chose to buy 12 pairs of glasses for Tiger because they were all the same. We immediately thought that it was the sponsor and the brand who had thought of the glasses. When the designers offered to offer a dress for the Strega evening, another controversy broke out. So what should we do?”, says the writer. “There is a beautiful advertisement where Jean Cocteau sells televisions for Ribet Desjardins. What's wrong with writers wearing designer clothes?”, he comments. Instead, a somewhat provocative proposal comes from Giartosio: “It would be great if books were given away at fashion shows and competitions.” While Romagnolo jokes about the difficulty he would have had in having to buy a dress for each stop on the tour: “It's good that someone thought about how to dress us”, Voltolini, however, chooses silence. Perhaps he is waiting for his writings to speak for him. Between books, designer clothes and various controversies, this is how the six finalists in the competition are preparing for one of the most coveted evenings for writers.

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