The final report from the President of the Jury
Today marks the conclusion of the first edition of the International Literary Prize Galtellì. The Galte of Canne al Vento wanted to begin with a format entirely new in the national literary scene.
Grazia Deledda is one of the most widely translated Italian writers (both male and female) in the world. A prize in her name could only be achieved through a literary contest which surpasses regional borders and accepts narrative contribututions in Italian, Sardinian, the language of her own region, and in English, recognized by all as the currency of international language.
Certainly this completely innovative format, involved risks that today we can say were happily overcome. Indeed the international format is brilliantly showcased with a high level jury represented by the literary worlds of different continents, composed of Neria De Giovanni (President) and Evan Fallenberg (Hong Kong University), Mark Polizzotti (Publisher & Editor in Chief at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York) and Victoria Redel (Columbia University).
Only in this manner could we recieve a truly international response to the contest, at the conclusion of which, not without pride, we can declare the presence of approximately 200 submissions from 22 countries: 29 from the United States, 9 from the United Kingdom, 7 from Canada , 5 from India, 4 from Israel , 3 from Nigeria, 2 from Hong Kong, 1 each from Australia, Cameroon, Egypt, France, Germany, Ghana, Jamaica, Pakistan, Portugal, Singapore, Zambia and Palestine.
The reponse from a country like Italy, which was dubbed “premiopoli” (“literary prizes city”) in a recent book referring to its hundreds of literary awards, has been more than satisfactory. Writers participated in the competition from the following regions: Veneto, Piedmont, Liguria, Lazio, Campania, Puglia, Basilicata, Tuscany, Lombardy, Calabria, Abruzzo, Trentino, Marche and Molise.
Not the least interesting was the participation of Sardinian authors who had the option of writing in either Italian, or in the Sardinian language, with its many variants.
The jury can only applaud the level of quality demonstrated by the stories which followed the required guidelines within their composition. Many also faced with courage and determination the world Deledda narrated where Galtellì-Galte and its “reeds in the wind” were illustrated.
Therefore the jury has chosen, as per regulation, the following finalists: for the Sardinian language Maria Nieddu ; for Italian Simone Porceddu with “Piena di Grazia”, Joseph Tito Sechi with “Un newyorkese a Galtellì”, Enzo Valiante with “Espiazione”; for English Eliana Ramage with “The welfare of Baby D”, Oliver Shamlou with “Chicken” and Sarah Van Arsdale with “Through the leaves of the zapote tree”.
The themes that the contest proposed to the various writers were not limited to Sardinian ethos rather the guidelines represented values shared by all humankind in order to fully respect the literary consciousness of Grazia Deledda.
We like to remember in this regard that the same Grazia Deledda, after receiving the Nobel Prize, declared:
Fate gave me birth
in the heart of the lonely Sardinia.
But even if I were born
in Rome or Stockholm,
I think I would not have changed my nature
and I’d always have been the one I am:
a soul who is passionate
to life’s problems.
Therefore our Grazia not only intended to bring the traditions and customs of her native Sardinia off the island but especially, with her work and her life, she wanted to show how it is possible, even vital to share universal values, naturally present in all ethnic and territorial realities.
The rules of this contest were thus inspired in asking the compositions to be connected to deleddiane issues, like religious sentiment, the peculiarities of the social classes, the anthropological-cultural descriptions of the environment and the defense of identity.
It is the stubborn determination to be a Sardinian, Italian, global writer in the knowledge that you have universalized and defended its identity. For this reason the jury of the International Literary Prize has chosen after thorough and careful discussion, the story of Eliana Ramage as its winner.
In assessing the texts submitted we relied on two main criteria for awarding the prize: the literary quality and the elaborate way in which they reflected the issues concerning the work of Grazia Deledda. These reflections could be interpreted in a literal or figurative sense.
We have decided to reward Eliana Ramage because we feel that the author, has embodied the essence of Deleddiano thought in her story The Welfare of Baby D – family, sense of belonging, cultural identity and the elusive nature of “home” – making these its themes, with great ability and art.
In the able exploration that Ramage has presented the identity of a young girl caught between her American and British native environments, we found the universal reflection of the Deledda work. Also, since the locations and the time of the story of “The Welfare of Baby D” are very different from those in the “Canne al Vento“, we believe that these two works are reflected in each other in a very evocative manner.
Andrea Gallus for the work
“Sangue umano e divino”
Andrea Gallus with his story “Sangue umano e divino” has presented a story with narrative material for a whole novel! Galtelli and its territory are represented in a historical framework that demonstrates a strong understanding of the socio-cultural roots.
The center of the narration is the famous SS. Crucifix of Galtelli that refers to the miraculous tearing statue of the saint.
The conclusion which leaves us with the disappearance of the protagonist hints at the possibility of a sequel. Perhaps a narrative bait, a contrivance often used by Grazia Deledda.
The chairman of the committee
Neria De Giovanni