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Envoy's villa hosts Russian-Italian literary award in Rome

December 06, 2013, 13:32 UTC+3 ROME
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ROME, December 06. /ITAR-TASS/. A jury of acclaimed Italian Slavists assemble at the Russian ambassador's Rome residence on Friday to announce the winner of an international award judging 15 translations of classic and modern Russian literature released in Italy over the past two years.

The theatre of Villa Abamelek, home of Russia's envoy, is the setting for this year's ceremony, latest in a series set up in 2007 at the initiative of First Russian President Boris Yeltsin.

This seventh event will be the culmination of a Russian art festival held traditionally in December. It has the support of Russia's ministries of foreign affairs and culture and the Russian Scientific and Cultural Centre (RSCC), acting under the aegis of Rossotrudnichestvo, the agency fostering ties with former Soviet nations in the Commonwealth of Independent States.

The award aims to attract readers to the most expressive and significant works of Russian literature, irrespective of their time of creation and genre, whether poetry, novel, short story, play, essay, autobiography or memoirs. The organisers seek to contribute to fostering Russian-Italian literary ties and mutual enrichment of the two great cultures.

Among translations of classics in the contest are Fyodor Dostoevsky’s "Crime and Punishment", Vladimir Gilyarovsky’s "Moscow and Muscovites", Isaak Babel’s "Odessa Tales", Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s "New Man.Three Tales", Yevgeny Zamyatin’s "We" and Ilya Erenburg’s "The Unusual Adventures of Julio Jurenito".

Modern literature reflecting contemporary Russian society and life has also found its readers in the Italian Apennine mountains.

Along with a bronze opened book sculpted by Viktor Kyuchkov, the award-winning translator and publisher receive monetary reward. In 2010, the festival introduced an award for the best debut translation. Last year, it went to the translator of Zakhar Prilepin’s novel "Sin", staged during the annual Rome arts festival this year.

The festival, hosted by the historical Rome palace Santa Croce, where the Russian cultural centre is situated, showed screenings of Grigory and Pavel Chukhrays’ films. It traditionally unites films in a programme called "Fathers and Children. Comparison of Generations".

Over the years, Italian audiences have become familiar with such famous film-making dynasties as the Bondarchuks, Khotinenkos, Naumovs, Ghermans and Todorovskys.

Spiritual life is another part of the festival. Works of the Russian master Olga Kirina, preserving and reviving traditions of Russian ancient birchbark icons, will be displayed until the end of the month.

The festival will symbolically finish on December 7, the day of St. Catherine the Great Martyr, with concerts of St. Petersburg Chamber Choir in St. Catherine Orthodox Church in Rome and the Catholic basilica St. Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs.

This year, the Russian community celebrates the 210th anniversary of the Orthodox parish in Rome.

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