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Feature on Italian Author Primo Levi Opens the International Stage at the Library of Congress National Book Festival in Washington D.C.

New York, NY, August 10, 2016 – On Saturday, Sept. 24, at 12 noon at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in the U.S. capital, the Library of Congress 16th National Book Festival in collaboration with Centro Primo Levi NY and the Embassy of Italy will pay tribute to author Primo Levi, the Italian scientist and Auschwitz survivor who whose life-work focused on understanding the relation between man and power, human nature and the genesis of fascism.

The Festival runs from 9  am to 10 pm, is free and open to the public. (www.loc.gov/bookfest)

The panel will feature Primo Levi’s translator, Ann Goldstein of The New Yorker, as well as The New Yorker cultural critic Adam Gopnik, and will be moderated by Michael Abramowitz of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. With the participation of Alessandro Cassin of Centro Primo Levi. A Q & A session with the audience will follow.

The Primo Levi tribute opens the International stage that, for the second consecutive year, features writers from around the world. The Italian Ambassador in the US, Hon. Armando Varricchio, expressed his appreciation for the initiative stating that “The choice of the Library of Congress to celebrate Primo Levi  at the 16th National Book Festival testifies once again to the relevance of his message, and to the undeniable value of memory and his literary work”.

The program will be introduced by a short film on Primo Levi by multimedia artist Cynthia Madansky (www.madansky.com) using little known archival images and footage provided by the Center for Contemporary Jewish Documentation in Milan (www.cdec.it) and RAI Teche (www.teche.rai.it). The film is made possible in part by the generous support of the Viterbi Family, Dr. Claude Ghez and the American Initiative for Italian Culture (www.aific.org).

Image: This photo is part of the Annamaria Levi Zimet’s collection in the CDEC Digital Library. www.cdec.it

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The Library of Congress National Book Festival is an annual literary event that brings together best-selling authors and thousands of book fans for author talks, panel discussions, book signings and other activities. Over its 16-year history, the National Book Festival has become one of the pre-eminent literary events in the United States.

The Centro Primo Levi  is a New York based organization inspired by the humanistic legacy of writer and chemist Primo Levi. The Center offers public and academic programs and publications on the history of Italian Jews and Judaism. Its main focus on 20th century totalitarianism expands to a history of over two thousand years in an ongoing effort to present the experience and perspective of a minority and its relation with mainstream culture in ancient and modern societies.

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About the filmmaker and the panelists

Cynthia Madansky’s films integrate hybrid forms including autobiography, experimental tropes, cinema verité, literature, anthropological observation and dance, engaging with cultural and political themes, such as identity, nationalism, displacement and war and foregrounding the human experience and personal testimony. The most recent works include 1+8, a video installation on the eight borders of Turkey and two films produced as fellow at the American Academy in Rome, Anna Pina Teresa, exploring one of Anna Magnani’s legendary gestures in Roma Città Aperta and E42 a cinematic exploration of Fascism’s urban space.

The New Yorker’s editor Ann Goldstein published her first translation from Italian in 1992. Since then, she has become one of the most appreciated translators of Italian literature having brought to the international public the works of some of Italy’s most prominent writers, including Elena Ferrante, Primo Levi, Giacomo Leopardi, Aldo Buzzi, and Alessandro Piperno. Ann Goldstein co-authored with Domenico Scarpa the “Lezione Primo Levi 2015” entitled In Another Language published by Einaudi and Centro Internazionale di Studi Primo Levi in Turin (www.primolevi.it) and aimed at high-school students. She discussed her translation of Levi’s work in an interview published in Public Books (http://www.publicbooks.org/interviews/paying-attention-like-primo-levi-an-interview-with-ann-goldstein).

Adam Gopnik has been contributing to The New Yorker since 1986. During his tenure at the magazine, he has written fiction, humor, book reviews, profiles, and reported pieces from abroad. He was the magazine’s art critic from 1987-1995, and the Paris correspondent from 1995-2000. Gopnik has three National Magazine awards, for essays and for criticism, and also the George Polk Award for Magazine Reporting. In March of 2013, Gopnik was awarded the medal of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters. He lectures widely, and, in 2011, delivered the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s Massey Lectures.

Michael Abramowitz is Director of the Committee on Conscience which conducts the genocide prevention efforts of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Prior to his appointment, he worked as a reporter and editor for The Washington Post since 1985. Among the subjects he covered were local and national politics, foreign policy, health care, and business. Between 2006 and 2009, Abramowitz was White House correspondent for the Post. Abramowitz is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a non-resident fellow of the German Marshall Fund and was a media fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford.

Alessandro Cassin is the director of Centro Primo Levi’s online magazine, Printed Matter and CPL Editions which published over 10 books since its debut in 2015. Coming from a tradition of publishing —his father published the first edition of If This Is A Man in English—Cassin began working in experimental theater and was awarded the Premio Ruggero Rimini 1989 for Il Presidente Schreiber. He has been a cultural reporter for Italian publications including L’Espresso and Diario. He is a contributor of The Brooklyn Rail. His book Whispers: Ulay on Ulay co-authored with Maria Rus Bojan received the 2015 AICA Netherlands Award.

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