The Strega Prize is one of the most important Italian literary awards.
It all started in 1944 when Maria and Goffredo Bellonci decided to host a literary salon in their home in Rome. They invited artists, writers, intellectuals and soon they became known as the “Sunday friends” – Gli amici della domenica.
Three years later Guido Alberti, the owner of the firm that produces the Strega, a famous Italian liqueur, and the Belloncis decided to award a price for the best work of fiction written in Italian. The price was named Strega, of course!
How can you participate?
Well, you need to respect some requirements. First, your book has to be written in Italian and published between the 1st May of the previous year and the 30th April of the current year
Secondly, you must have the support of two Sunday friends at least.
How is the winner chosen?
It’s the Sunday friends who decide the winner of the Strega prize.
Let’s see two of the books that have won the Strega prize and that also have good reviews on the major online retailers.
IL FIGLIO DEL SECOLO
This book was written by Antonio Scurati and won the Strega Prize in 2019.
It’s about Mussolini’s rise to power from 1919 to 1925, from the creation of the Italian Fasci of
Combat to the murder of Matteotti. Each chapter is about a specific character and each report is supported by historical documents.
Il figlio del secolo is not just the story of Mussolini’s rise but also the story of Italy and Italians, the atmosphere there was in those years, the fear and expectations of Italians, etc.
LE OTTO MONTAGNE
Le otto montagne won the Strega Prize in 2017 and was written by Paolo Cognetti.
The book had a good success and was translated in 35 languages. Le otto montagne is about the story of Pietro and Bruno.
Pietro is from Milan and during the summer he goes to Grana, a little town in Aosta valley, with his family. There he meets Bruno, the son of a farmer, and they soon become friends.
Bruno grows up in Grana where he works as a farmer first and then as a construction worker.
Pietro, instead, grows up between Milan and Turin when he works as documentary film director.
Life will bring them together again after the death of Pietro’s father. Indeed, with his father’s death, Pietro inherits a plot of land near Grana and he has the idea of building a lodge with the help of Bruno.
During their life there will be ups and downs but their friendship that will last no matter what.
Have you ever read a book that won the Strega Prize? Did you like it?
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