Designed in 2014 and edited by Doctor Giorgio Albonico, the International Literature Prize City of Como combines the promotion of quality literature with the commitment to the tourist-cultural enhancement of the Como area.
"The deadline to participate in the prize is the 20 June but, taking into account the difficulties that both the people and the post offices had - despite having always worked - in early June we will decide whether to make a small extension to submit the application "Giorgio Albonico tells me, that I meet at the Eleutheria Association headquarters in Como; “In case we will let you know through the communication channels of the Prize”.
How registration is going?
"We are on the level of two years ago, indeed we have overcome them; compared to last year we are aligned, so I would say well, considering also the fact that, usually, many of the arrivals are concentrated in the last fifteen days. I would say that I am very happy, the answer was ".
There is already an idea of the date and place of the award ceremony?
“We set Villa Olmo for the 3 October, you will have to see the evolution of the situation. Last year we filled two rooms in the villa because we had invited both the winners and the finalists, it had been a ceremony followed with great interest; we had then organized, the following Sunday, a boat trip to Bellagio during which an actor had read the texts that arrived in the final. This year we will have to deal with distances, the quota entrances, we will see how we can organize ourselves; the use of outdoor spaces would certainly be good, however in that case the variable would be time. Nor is the possibility of postponing the award ceremony in the hope that, maybe early next year, things have improved. We'll see".
A Literary Award that, in the cultural field, in recent years it has gained increasing prestige
“We are in the seventh edition. The first year I thought few subscribers arrived, instead we started with well 1200; but it's not just the number of subscribers who, in the years, increased, how much prestige and interest that has been created around the prize ".
In addition to being president of the Association, Giorgio Albonico is also a writer and travel enthusiast. He was born in 2019 his beautiful book: “Through the worlds. Memoirs of Richard Francis Burton ”, ed. Barrow. Publication that earned him the invitation, Friday 5 giugno, on the occasion of the world environment day, at the prestigious event "Grand tour in Italy, between culture and nature ", event organized by the monthly magazine Read all, in collaboration with the Literary Parks.
"Readers will judge that the book is beautiful", Albonico says smiling because, holds, although the author likes his book, a certain critical spirit should be armed. "That certainly beautiful is the figure of Richard Francis Burton, a very interesting character, who has traveled halfway around the world and it is a pity that he is little known in Italy; in fact, in order to write about it, I had to translate several texts from English. In writing about him, I traveled in part, in part I identified myself in his travels and, me too, it was a truly remarkable experience ".
The journey came before or after writing?
“I was able to make some trips just as I wrote about it, so I was able to live the two experiences simultaneously. Obviously my mode was different from his that, in 1800, he didn't arrive at his destination by plane, as I did instead. The coasts of Tanzania, the long journey to Lake Victoria; he was even the first westerner to travel the route from Medina to Mecca dressed as an Arab. Really a character ".
The question asked by the event organizers: “How the trip will change? No more spaces to cross but places to live "introduces an interesting theme
“Francis Burton was moving with the means of the time: l’Africa, like many other places, he reached her by ship. Another traveler and writer from the 1800s, Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor, he left London and arrived in Istanbul on foot: that was traveling. The costumes were known, power, the climate, the people themselves; we moved through the journey - Hurry up slowly, the Latins said. The tourism that has been there until yesterday did not allow to learn much about the places visited, beyond the purely notional aspects. Burton was an explorer, an ethnographer, he was one who considered foreigners as owners of a culture different from ours and not inferior peoples. Western culture of the time thought that Africans were almost on par with beasts and, from this point of view, Burton developed, and promoted, an innovative thought ".
The mind of the scholar, of the one who wants to understand what he doesn't know. What can you tell us, today, a man like Burton?
“It can help us pay attention and recover the spirit of the place we visit; there is a passage from the book in which I narrate Burton's journey with another explorer, the journalist Henry Morton Stanley: at some point they pass by a village in Tanzania together, and they see that all the inhabitants are drunk following the death of their king. Stanley is shocked and thinks he is faced with a sleeve of fools - inferior beings, defines them - while Burton, with his scholarly approach, understand the ritual value of what they are witnessing, to pay homage to the soul of the king who had passed to the other world. Here is the new point of view that one must try to take when traveling. Sometimes, in the face of what we don't understand, we are led to give a negative opinion ".
Seen how things will go this year, how we can go back to being explorers of our places?
“We will have to learn to look at them with another eye. Often those who go to the lake the first thing they are looking for is George Clooney's villa. But the Brienno cypresses also deserve a look, the docks of the lake, the routes that should be noted not with the eye of the hurried tourist, but seen with a particular eye, on foot or by boat ".
A final invitation for the Literary Prize
“In addition to participating, I invite everyone to subscribe to the Youtube channel. Just one click, it's free, the link is on the Facebook page of both the Prize and my profile. With 1000 participants we can create interesting live streams; only a hundred people are missing, then let's start with this too ".