Posted on 19 May, 2023

Hype, frenzy, and crowds, coupled with great expectations for this Turin International Book Fair, its thirty-fifth annual appearance. After 2020, the first one without masks, physical distances, and the fear of COVID-19. The pinch of madness of last year’s fair, called Cuori Selvaggi, or ‘Wild Hearts’, now manifests itself in a willingness to embrace the future and all it brings, with the catchphrase of Attraverso lo Specchio, or ‘Through the Looking Glass.’ This year should be an explosion, but we will see if it will be a firework or a huge rumble. So let us breathe the air of the SalTo23, that will take place from Thursday 18th to Monday 22nd, May 2023.

The ritual ceremony

The electricity of SalTo23 had been in the air for many weeks, but the official kick-off is always the institutional opening. The appointment in the Sala Oro of Lingotto Fiere involves all the main parties involved.

“The numbers of the Salone have doubled,” began Silvio Viale, President of Associazione Torino, Città del Libro, “starting with the surface area: 115,000 square meters of exhibition space, 48 halls, and 13 workshops, which will host 1,600 events”.

Following Viale, Giulio Biino shares with the audience that he questioned ChatGPT about the Turin International Book Fair. AI’s response focused on the event’s possible target audience, which Biino deemed too limited as everyone is the initiative’s target audience, as “books help people live better.”

Nicola Lagioia, the Director of the Turin International Book Fair, greets his Book Fair by recalling that here is where he got his first professional opportunity. Lagioia tells how this assignment was also a human journey made up of outstanding achievements.

Nicola Lagioia. Image courtesy of Salone Internazionale del Libro di Torino

“Reading Indices to be improved,” says Lagioia. ” There needs to be a dialogue between each actor to fight this battle of civilization.” The promotion of reading is of the greatest importance, and in citing the various occasions where this action can be supported, the Director also mentions the upcoming Frankfurter Buchmesse, or Frankfurt Bookfair, where Italy will be a guest country and which has lately created media cases, which Laioia did not conceal, but preferred not to elaborate on during the conference. Reading is essential for cultural and spiritual growth, and in closing, he wished the visitors “Enjoy your stay and, above all, good work,” thanked the editorial board, and concluded with “No one wins battles alone.”
The speeches by Viale, Biino, and Lagioia did not forget to remember and say thank you to the sponsors, institutions, professionals, and volunteers who make the Turin Book Fair possible.

The Mayor of Turin, Stefano Lo Russo, the President of the Piedmont Region, Alberto Cirio, the Italian Minister of Culture, Gennaro Sangiuliano, and the President of the Senate of the Republic, Ignazio La Russa, took turns at the podium affirming their closeness to the areas of central Italy affected by devastating floods, reminding us of the conflict in Ukraine, the importance of culture and reading, to be promoted especially among the younger generation.

Among the well-wishers, all welcomed Albania, the host country of this 35th fair. Elva Margariti, the Albanian Minister of Culture, invites everyone to go and discover literary Albania: in their space, a huge red rock. This rock is meant to be the Albanian living room, a work of art and a vehicle of thought. Albania may be seen as rocky and impenetrable, but if you enter, you will discover a place full of wonder, as happens in Chronicle in Stone by the Albanian author Ismail Kadare

Through the Looking Glass and…

It is not only a theme but almost a motto. This desire leads those who express it to transcend the mundanity of daily life to trespass into new worlds, where the real and the fantastic mingle, where anything is possible. This year’s poster, illustrated by Italian artist Elisa Talentino captures the wonder hidden behind the mirror.

The official poster. Image courtesy of Salone Internazionale del Libro di Torino

What Alice Found There

An event for all. A labyrinth of books in which to get lost and find valuable pieces and discover new publications.

There are meetings with authors and personalities from art and culture, and this year comics will be featured in many booths and appointments. But, thanks to the collaboration with Lucca Comics & Games, the public will be able to discover how stories can also be told through games and video games.

Among the new features is the Sala della Poesia (Poetry Room), created with Pordenonelegge, which is dedicated to Italian poetry.

Also, this year visitors can enter the magical Bosco degli Scrittori (The Writers’ Forest), or the new Sala della Montagna space, dedicated to storytelling and highland culture.

Staying on the high ground, in collaboration with Pinacoteca Agnelli, it is possible to access the Roof of the Fair: on the Pista 500 is set up a stage on which moments of entertainment will take place throughout the Book Fair.

Not only books but also Cinema, Theater, and Podcasts – all forms of storytelling not strictly related to paper animate this year’s fair.

Literature and gastronomy are a combination also present at SalTo23. On Monday, May 22, at Caffè Letterario, the space created in collaboration with Lavazza Group, our Founder and CEO, Alessandro Avataneo, will present the publication Kitchen Run (Mondadori) in the company of two of the book’s protagonists: chefs Luca Marin (MagazziniOz) and Federico Zanasi (Condividere).

The #hyperSalTo23

These days, Hypercritic’s team will cover the most relevant and significant events and produce writing engaging guests and the SalTo23 audience. Questions, suggestions, mood wheels…If you are curious, follow us on Instagram and Facebook! #HyperSalTo23.

Hypercritic thanks Nicola Lagioia for his hard work and wishes all the best to Annalena Benini as she leads the ITBF beyond the looking glass towards 2024.

Happy SalTo23, and remember to follow Hypercritic!

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