This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)
John Banville in Italy, guest of honour along with Catherine Dunne, of the San Patrizio Livorno Festival 2019
Livorno, March 18th 2018
I am writing this post just a few hours after the end of the first day of the San Patrizio Livorno Festival, and a few hours before the beginning of the second #SPLF day.
We started with a video message from Catherine Dunne, the festival’s ‘godmother’, and some great news: John Banville is going to be the guest of honour of the San Patrizio Livorno Festival 2019.
John Banville is an extraordinary writer.
One of the most original of Irish writers. One of the most brilliant intellectuals in the world.
We are very happy, and honoured, that such a great writer has understood the scope, the reasons, the passion and the commitment involved in founding the San Patrizio Livorno Festival project.
I really hope to see you in Livorno, March 2019: we can say that, along with Catherine Dunne and John Banville, the voice of Ireland will be there as well.
Born in Wexford (you can find something about his relationship with his home county here) in 1945, John Banville has been writing novels, short stories and plays since 1971.
His strong cultural connections to and relationship with Italy led to his being awarded the Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia knighthood, an honour dedicated to those Italians and non-Italians who have distinguished themselves in promoting friendships and strengthening collaborative relationships between Italy and other countries.
John Banville’s novels have been acclaimed as masterpieces.
The most famous novel is The Sea / Il Mare (2005, published in Italia in 2006), Booker Prize winner.
I like to think that John Banville will be a future Nobel Prize laureate. I hope the #SPLF will bring him good luck.
In my very humble opinion, his masterpieces are Eclipse / Eclisse (2000, 2002) and Shroud / L’Invenzione del Passato (2002, 2003).
At the San Patrizio Livorno Festival 2018, we suggested that, were the Geneva Convention to be applied to characters, Banville would have been tried and convicted, never to be free again.
It was on the occasion of our first meeting, at Bergamo Scienza, 2009, I remarked to him that, in my opinion, his characters (the ones in Eclipse and Shroud) were prisoners in his mind.
He replied, with a devilish grin, that, yes: I was right.
And in those two books there is a lot of Italy: there is Turin (with its shrouds, in this case); there is the Milan Brera gallery; there is the Staglieno Genoa cemetery, and the Cinque Terre.
And Livorno too.
As, maybe, nothing happens by accident.