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Novel about National Hall arson shortlisted for Italian literary prize

Trieste, 11 January - Fiamme Nere, the Italian translation of the Slovenian novel Črni obroč (Black Ring) by Trieste-based writer and poet Marijo Čuk, has been nominated among the 11 finalists for the Italian national literary prize named after Russian writer Vladimir Nabokov.

Trieste, Italy
The National Hall, a former Slovenian commercial and cultural centre in Italy.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA
File photo

Trieste, Italy
The National Hall, a former Slovenian commercial and cultural centre in Italy.
Photo: National Museum of Contemporary History
File photo

The novel Črni obroč was published in 2020 by the Trieste-based publishing house Mladika, which also published the novel's Italian translation by Martina Clerici last spring.

The novel impressed the judging panel with its narrative excellence and incisiveness of subject matter, Mladika announced.

Črni obroč is the first-ever novelistic account of the arson of the Slovenian National Hall in Trieste by Italian fascists, written by Čuk in 2020, the year of the 100th anniversary of the event.

It describes the places and people of the time, from the fascist leader Francesco Giunta to the Slovenian nationalists who opposed the violence and were punished for their defiance, Mladika wrote.

They added that Čuk's testimonial novel about the suffering of a nation has previously received two other prizes in Italy, which means that Italians are also interested in stories recounting their own history and some of the horrors caused by fascism.

Since the Nabokov Prize was established at the beginning of the new millennium, thousands of novels have been read and evaluated by expert panels.

This makes the nomination of Fiamme Nere "an exceptional recognition for the author, the publishing house, the translator, the Slovene national community in Italy and Slovene literature in general", Mladika said.

The winners of the Nabokov Prize will be announced on 5 February at the municipal theatre in Novoli, near Lecce in the region of Puglia in southern Italy.

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© STA, 2022