Wild writers for wild readers | A preview of the Turin International Book Fair

Posted on 08 March, 2022

It’s the favourite moment of the year of every Italian bookworm, and it’s getting closer. From May 19 to May 23, the Turin International Book Fair will open its doors once again to readers and writers from all around the world. With more than 150.000 visitors in barely four days, the 2021 edition was a striking success. And now, director Nicola Lagioia wants to score a double. On March 8, 2022, speaking from the stage of the Astra Teather, in Turin he disclosed the theme of the new Book Fair and the names of some of the guests.

Cuori Selvaggi

“Cuori Selvaggi”, which translates as Wild Hearts, is the title of the forty-fourth Fair. It is a paean to the emancipatory power of literature, but also a necessarily provocative title. Ever since he took the reins of the festival, Lagioia has never refrained from going political when he felt like it, and this time is no different. As can be read on the Fair’s official website:

We live in a restless, turbulent world, full of enormous problems but with just as much hope for the future. Culture and art have always sought to explore our hearts of darkness, but also the luminous leaps of which our hearts are equally capable. In the name of friendship, peace between peoples, dialogue, and the meeting of cultures, Turin will be one of the most important places for a coming together of those who truly believe that it is always the light that will open up in our hearts.

Lagioia himself did not mince his words: the Fair, he said, directly condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and aims at positioning itself as a force for peace and dialogue amongst cultures. Accordingly, the press conference was opened by Ukrainian actress Lidia Liberman, who read the poems of Taras Shevchenko and Lina Kostenko, and the testimony of a woman resisting in Kharkiv.

To embody this spirit, the editorial consultants have put together a list of wild reads to inspire its audience. From Tolstoj to Toni Morrison, from Clarice Lispector to Stephen King, any reader will find something for them. And possibly, some form of enlightenment too. 

Wild Hearts is the title of the forty-fourth Fair

Naming names

It goes without saying, though, that there’s also a second list readers are keen to see: the guest list. The full roll of names will be made public in April. But meanwhile, Lagioia has already disclosed some of the authors who will fly to Turn this spring. 

Jokha al-Harthi, the first Arabic-language writer to win the Man Booker International Prize, will talk about her bestselling novel Celestial bodies. Chilean writer Benjamín Labatut will present When We Cease to Understand the World. This year’s Mondello International Prize will go to Annie Ernaux. And then there will be Cristina Morales, Jennifer Egan, Joël Dicker, Joe R. Landsdale.

But the Fair’s wild hearts won’t only be writers. German director Werner Herzog will come to talk about his films and books. And Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs will be in Turin to tell us his story in the name of sports culture.

Read our coverage from the Turin International Book Fair 2021:

See you there

These premises nurture good expectations. A pressing, thought-provoking theme for a rather well-assorted Fair. Hopefully, the editorial board’s take on the issue will be as measured and faceted as it was announced. A real force for dialogue and mutual understanding, against the over-simplicity that becomes so tempting in the face of a crisis. And hopefully, the Fair’s pacifist stance won’t involve only Ukraine, but all the oppressed peoples in the world. 

As we did in 2021, Hypercritic will be at the Fair to report about it. The bar is set very high, and expectations as well. And who knows, maybe the next roll of names will spice things up even more.

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