Turin’s much-awaited for book fair، Salone del Libro (Turin International Book Fair)، opened its doors today to a throng of students، professors and literary aficionados. The early turnout set a new record for Europe’s largest book fair، with crowds waiting hours outside of Lingotto Fiere to get in، La Stampa reported.
More than 40 countries are present at the fair، which Nicola Lagioia، director of the Turin Book Fair said hopes “it will be one of the richest and hopefully most beautiful editions ever.” Indeed، if he has his way، for the next five days (10-14 May)، Turin would be an international capital of world culture.
“I calm down when I see what’s happening at the gates، and the lines were long this morning. Seeing all those people and great writers is exciting. The Book Fair is not just a stalwart for Italian literature، it’s also a vast laboratory،” said Lagioia before Cercas’ inauguration speech. In a room full of top-level Italian politicians like the President of the Italian Senate، Elisabetta Casellati; Robert Fico، President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies and the Minister of Culture، Dario Franceschini، Lagioia added: “Publishers are the heroes of our cultural scene.”
But it was the Spanish writer، Javier Cercas، who set the tone of this 31st edition with a quote by French poet and philosopher، Paul Valéry، who often said: “I write half the poem. The reader writes the other half.”
The regional councilor of Apulia، Loredana Capone، also made headlines as well at the fair with a presentation on her community library project. The 120 million euro investment would see public libraries erected in all corners of Puglia، as a way to address cultural shifts and ensure growth among the people of the South.
“It’s the Apulian community who want a fresh start from stereotype that people in the South have little to say،” Capone said، adding that they want to rewrite their story so that “culture and reading make up the bulk of the region’s social infrastructure.” It’s also a way to challenge regional low levels of productivity and literacy compared to the rest of the country.