Italy to award, encourage Pakistani writers: Consul

KARACHI: Consul at Consulate of Italy in Karachi, Gianluca Rubagotti, said on Monday that Italy is a superpower in the cultural field, very body knows about our art, our cinema, our music, our language, and our life-style.

“Italy is the country with the highest number of UNESCO-recognized sites (51). The Italian institutions in Pakistan (Embassy and Consulate) want to put Italy back on the map of Pakistan. We have to increase the knowledge between our two countries, and people-to-people activities are one of the best tools,” he said while addressing a press conference on Italy Reads Pakistan Award by Metropoli d’ Asia and the Consulate of Italy in Karachi at a local hotel. The award will be presented to a Pakistan writer.

He said: “We decided therefore to launch this competition and we need two strong partners from the Italian and Pakistani side. Andrea Berrini and Metropoli di’ Asia is an established publishing company which is doing a great job in bringing the cultures of Italy and various Asian countries close to each other. When I asked him to focus on Pakistan, he was enthusiastic knowing about the vitality of the literacy scene in the county. And then of course, the Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) is the best platform here, and I am very thankful to the organization, and to Ameena of Oxford University Press in particular, to have accepted to be part of this journey. To highlight the importance of this event, Stefano Pontecorvo, Ambassador of Italy in Islamabad will be here to grace the occasion at KLF. There is a big asset we can start from Pakistan community in Italy, the biggest in continental Europe.”

He said that people who live, study, work , often with the whole family. You can ask them, they would tell you that living in Italy in enjoyable, as people are nice. The idea is therefore to bring a bit of Pakistan in Italy. And since the market of books in Italian language is much bigger than in English, we think this is the best way to penetrate into the Italian minds and hearts.

He said: “This is of course not the first time a Pakistan author is published in Italy, and in the panel of the KLF we will have the honour of the presence of Mr Naqvi and Ms Bina Shah who will be able to share their first hand experience, but it is the first time that a process of search within the vibrant and upcoming literary scene of Pakistan is launched.”

He said that there are some fundamental differences between this award and other awards in the framework of KLF. In your press package, you have the regulation and condition to be eligible. Italy should strike your attention that we are not aiming at somebody who is already internally recognized. For the winner, Italy will be first international market of circulation, if not the first market at all. We strongly believe that institutions should support those who have fewer possibilities to emerge. We therefore encourage all the young and talented novelists of Pakistan to participate. This is a serious competition. Therefore, the entries will be from young Pakistanis.

Ms Ameena Saiyid, Managing Director of Oxford University Press, noted writer Bina Shah and prominent literary figure Fozia Naqvi were also present on the occasion.