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Are you a book lover and never miss an opportunity to look for new gems for your bookshelves? Then mark this appointment on your calendar: from June 15 to 22, 2024 the highly anticipated “Salerno Literature” Festival returns. A cultural event not to be missed in the beautiful setting of the city's historic center!

by Roberta Cascone

June is an important month for culture in the city of Salerno: it is the month of the “Salerno Literature” Festival, which between meetings, lectures and many books will enliven the city for a whole week, from June 15 to 22. Each year a different theme is chosen and the one for the 2024 edition will focus on one of the most famous authors of the 20th century, whose death’s hundredth anniversary is celebrated: Franz Kafka! This year's theme is “The Right Questions”: one of the event's artistic directors, Paolo di Paolo, explained that the choice stemmed precisely from a short story by Kafka, entitled “Investigation of a Dog,” in which the narrator asks precisely how “among the many questions, the right ones can be drawn out.” According to di Paolo, this is precisely the task of those involved in culture: to continually question and interrogate what surrounds us.
The festival's other director, Gennaro Carillo, also pointed out that the theme goes beyond the writer alone: in an age when we often presume to have all the answers, it is important to make room for doubts, because only in this way can we “experience the curiosity and restlessness that are the very essence of literature and thought.”

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The Festival at the Salerno Cathedral. Ph by

What's new in the "Salerno Literature" 12th edition

As I mentioned, the 12th edition will focus on the figure of Franz Kafka. Gennaro Carillo added that although the Bohemian author has never stopped being read, loved and interpreted, he always remains an “unfathomable abyss, an enigma.” That is why an entire section, Meridian K, will be dedicated to him at the Salerno festival, where historical-critical lectures and readings of his works will also be held. The name Meridian K refers both to the imaginary line that serves as the point of reference for this edition and to the upcoming release of a new Mondadori Meridian dedicated precisely to Kafka.
Paolo di Paolo then pointed out how Kafka's works will influence the city of Salerno throughout the week: his words and stories will enliven the spaces and alleys of the city, while in the Writing Room, a new feature of this edition, it will be possible to leave thoughts and reflections. 
This year, to the already well-known “fiction,” “classical” and “philosophy” sections, the “Tale of Science,” dedicated to nature and the theme of climate change, and “Verification of Powers: politics/justice,” which will instead deal with current issues, have also been added.
In addition, the festival will be an opportunity to elect the winning book of the Salerno Book of Europe Prize, which will be chosen from the finalist trio, to which “Days of the Sea” by Pierre Adrian (Blue Atlantis), “The Witches of Manningtree” by A.K. Blakemore (Fazi) and “The Liquid Earth” by Raphaela Edelbauer (Rizzoli) belong. 

But the Festival is not only literature! In fact, on June 18 and 20, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., guided tours will be organized at the Pinacoteca in Via Mercanti, to let Salernitans and non-Salernitans rediscover the beauty of Palazzo Pinto. 

The premises for an all-round cultural event are all there: read on to find out the program in detail!

Tra.Vel.Mar S.r.l.

2024 edition's poster

The 2024 edition's program

The program for this edition is really packed! I suggest you read it carefully (in the “A few tips” box below you will find the link) to identify the meetings and activities that best suit your tastes. You really will be spoiled for choice!

The Festival will kick off on June 15 at 10:30 a.m., when it will be inaugurated in the presence of institutions and the entire staff. Throughout the day there will be meetings at all the festival locations; the Writing Room is also worth mentioning, where participants will be asked to leave their “right question.”

Throughout the week, then, well over 140 Italian and international guests will animate the historic center to engage with the public. Among the protagonists will be Irvine Welsh, Daria Bignardi, Eva Cantarella, Marcello Flores, Gabriel Zuchtriegel, Diego de Silva and many, many others. 

And watch out! For lovers of contemporary Italian literature there will be a surprise: on Saturday, June 22, The Festival will host the 6 finalists of “Il Premio Strega,” Italy's most famous literary prize! The appointment is set for 10:30 p.m. at the Cathedral, with the “Serata Stregata.” Just the perfect way to end a cultural event of the highest level!

So, the Salerno Literature Festival is not to be missed: come to the historic center of Salerno and breathe culture!

Tra.Vel.Mar S.r.l.

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  • You will find the complete program at this link.

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