Philip Roth remembers Primo Levi. The Grinzane Award in New York
Philip Roth received the first Grinzane Literary Masters Award in recognition of his merit as a writer and for introducing the work of Primo Levi to a wider American audience.
Philip Roth received the first Grinzane Literary Masters Award in recognition of his merit as a writer and for introducing the work of Primo Levi to a wider American audience. The prize, which brings an honorarium of $25,000, is awarded this year in memory of Primo Levi, the Italian Jewish writer, chemist, and Auschwitz survivor, on the twentieth anniversary of his death in April 1987.
The Premio Grinzane Cavour is one of Italy’s most prestigious literary prize. The Grinzane committee, based in the Piedmont region, awards annual prizes for contemporary Italian fiction, contemporary foreign fiction published in Italy, translations, essays, and young writers, as well as an Italian publishing award offered to figures with outstanding ethical and civil commitment, and the International Award, an acknowledgment for “lives devoted to literature.” This event launches the Grinzane Literary Masters Award, to be observed with readings from Mr. Levi’s works and a brief talk by Mr. Roth. The Centro Primo Levi of New York will provide a live video feed to its parent organization in Italy and other locations abroad.
Philip Roth on Primo Levi: “With the moral stamina and intellectual pose of a twentieth-century Titan, this slightly built, dutiful, unassuming chemist set out systematically to remember the German hell on earth, steadfastly to think it through, and then to render it comprehensible in lucid, unpretentious prose. He was profoundly in touch with the minutest workings of the most endearing human events and with the most contemptible. What has survived in Levi’s writing isn’t just his memory of the unbearable, but also, in The Periodic Table and The Monkey’s Wrench, his delight in what made the world exquisite to him. He was himself a magically endearing man, the most delicately forceful enchanter I’ve ever known.”
About Philip Roth: In 1997 Roth won the Pulitzer Prize for American Pastoral. In 1998 he received the National Medal of Arts at the White House and in 2002 the highest award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Gold Medal in Fiction, previously awarded to John Dos Passos, William Faulkner, and Saul Bellow, among others. He is the only author ever to have won the PEN/Faulkner Award three times (most recently in 2007). He has twice won the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. In 2005 The Plot Against America received the Society of American Historians’ prize for “the outstanding historical novel on an American theme for 2003–2004” and was named a Best Book of the Year by the New York Times Book Review, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Boston Globe, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Los Angeles Times Book Review, the Washington Post Book World, Time, Newsweek, and numerous other periodicals. In the United Kingdom, The Plot Against America won the W.H. Smith Award for the Best Book of the Year, making Roth the first writer in the forty-six-year history of the prize to win it twice. In 2005 Roth also became the third living American writer to have his work published in a comprehensive, definitive edition by the Library of America. The last of the eight volumes is scheduled for publication in 2013.
Compagnia di San Paolo is one of the largest non-profit foundations in Europe, pursuing aims of public interest and social use, in order to foster the civil, cultural and economic development of the community in which it operates.
Presented by Foundation for Italian Art and Culture, a non-profit organization in New York City promoting the knowledge of the Italian cultural and artistic traditions from the classical to the contemporary period in the United States.
Hosted by Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America at Columbia University, .an institution founded on the basis of an agreement between the Republic of Italy and Columbia University, promoting advanced research in all areas relating to Italian History and Society; presenting distinguished examples of Italian culture and art; and fostering a high level of academic and cultural exchange between Italy and the US.
Additional support from Centro Primo Levi for Italian Jewish Studies in New York dedicated to creating a growing, dynamic and contemporary forum for Italian-Jewish studies in North America, offering seminars and lectures and providing a U.S. based interface and access point for the Jewish archives and libraries in Italy.