Conversation with Javier Cercas
and Bruno Arpaia
The first event in the festival is a conversation with Javier Cercas.
The meeting will be chaired by Bruno Arpaia, who will accompany us on a voyage through the cultural universe of the protagonist of this year's Dedica. The discussion will touch on a number of aspects, including the way in which Cercas lives his writing and his relationship with memory and history, starting from the recent history of his own country, which plays a central rôle in much of his literary work.
Other important aspects are discussed in the monograph which, as usual, accompanies the festival. This year's edition is edited by Bruno Arpaia, and includes an interview with the author, essays by Alberto Manguel, Jordi Gracia García and David Sanmiguel, as well as two previously-unpublished essays by Javier Cercas: "Hugh Grant and the Future of the Novel" and “The Pact”, which the author has kindly prepared for Dedica.
Novelist, essayist and journalist: Javier Cercas is one of the most original and applauded authors in the world of contemporary Spanish literature.
His early work tends to the postmodern, distinctive for its metaliterary approach and his love of the grotesque and the paradoxical.
His novel "Soldados de Salamina" (Soldiers of Salamis) marked the beginning of a new phase, which focuses on an investigation of the relationship between history and fiction in the process of construction of the collective memory.
"Soldados de Salamina", though without espousing any ideological opinion or theory, discusses the great unresolved problem facing a generation: the Civil War.
A largely-unknown event which took place in the closing days of the war becomes an occasion to reflect on the impact of the nation's history on an individual and, at the same time, to assess the possibility of salvaging human dignity notwithstanding the violence of the period.
In his subsequent works, too, Cercas delves into the past with the aim of uncovering the dark events hidden beneath a historical event or in the experience of those who were actually there.
His reflections on these historical events – in which a consideration of the ethical responsibility of literature is implicit – are discussed in an unusual and engaging narrative style: a blend which won Cercas the praise of the general public and also accolades from the most authoritative Italian and international critics.
Bruno Arpaia graduated in Political Science and, after teaching American History at the University of Naples, began his career as a journalist. In 1990, he joined the daily newspaper "la Repubblica", and in 1998, resumed his career as a freelance journalist. He works as a publishing consultant, and is a leading expert and translator of Spanish and Latin-American literature. To date, he has published six novels: I forestieri, Il futuro in punta di piedi, Tempo perso, L’angelo della storia, Il passato davanti a noi, L’energia del vuoto. He is also the author of a book/conversation with Luis Sepúlveda entitled Raccontare, resistere.
Sat 09 March – at 4:30 pm
Giuseppe Verdi Municipal Theatre