The Premio Strega: A Coveted Crown for Italian Literature


The Premio Strega, bathed in the allure of summer nights and brimming with the prestige of Italian literature, is an annual award that celebrates the finest novel written in Italian. First presented in 1947, the Strega (meaning “witch” in Italian) has become a cultural phenomenon, influencing reading choices and propelling authors to national acclaim.

The Journey to the Strega

The path to Strega glory begins with a multitude of submissions. Publishers nominate their most promising works, and a jury of over 600 members, including literary critics, journalists, and academics, meticulously sifts through the entries. The jury votes in multiple rounds, winnowing down the contenders until a final five – the “cinquina” – emerges.

The Strega then takes on a festive air. The finalists embark on a whirlwind “Strega Tour,” traversing Italian cities to meet readers and promote their works. This national tour culminates in a much-anticipated final ceremony, traditionally held in early July at a prestigious venue in Rome. Here, under the watchful gaze of the literary world, the winner is revealed.

2023: The Triumph of “Come d’Aria”

The 77th edition of the Premio Strega, held in 2023, was a testament to the power of storytelling. Twelve novels vied for the coveted prize, each offering a unique perspective on the human experience. After a thrilling selection process, the “cinquina” was announced on June 7th at the Teatro Romano di Benevento. The finalists were:

  • Come d’Aria (Like Air)” by Ada d’Adamo (winner)
  • Altri mondi (Other Worlds)” by Donatella Di Pietrantonio
  • Il gioco (The Game)” by Alessandro Marzano
  • L’ultimo arrivato (The Last Arrival)” by Giancarlo De Cataldo
  • **Un destino magnifico (A Magnificent Destiny)” by Manuela Riva

On July 6th, at the Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia, the literary world held its breath as the winner was revealed. Ada d’Adamo’s “Come d’Aria” emerged victorious, captivating the jury with its poignant tale of a mother-daughter relationship tested by illness. The novel explores themes of family, identity, and resilience, resonating deeply with readers across generations.

d’Adamo’s triumph marked a significant moment in the Strega’s history. Not only was she a female author in a field often dominated by men, but “Come d’Aria” also represented a shift towards stories that delve into the complexities of human connection.

Beyond the Winner: The Strega’s Enduring Legacy

The Premio Strega’s influence extends far beyond the winner’s circle. The shortlisted novels garner significant attention, propelling them onto bestseller lists and propelling their authors into the literary limelight. The Strega also serves as a barometer of Italian literary trends, showcasing the evolving themes and styles that captivate Italian readers.

Furthermore, the Strega Tour fosters a vibrant literary community. The public gets a chance to connect with authors, discuss their works, and celebrate the power of storytelling. This national dialogue strengthens the literary landscape and encourages a love for reading across Italy.

As the Strega gears up for its 2024 edition, one thing remains certain: the award will continue to be a beacon for Italian literature, illuminating the works that capture the hearts, minds, and imaginations of readers.pen_sparktunesharemore_vert