Terzani Prize 2016

La fame (‘Hunger’) by the Argentine journalist and writer Martín Caparrós has won the 2016 edition of the Tiziano Terzani International Literary Prize. Published in Italy by Einaudi, the original title, El Hambre, was published by Planeta in 2011.

Nearly one billion people worldwide suffer from hunger and every year nine million human beings die of starvation. “The author – explains the President of the Jury, Angela Terzani – did not just provide a dry statistical account of the numbers affected by world hunger, insufficient in itself to rouse us from our difference, but, as Tiziano himself would have done, he took to the road, journeying across the world’s most poorest territories, descending into the hell of many - far too many – poverty stricken corners of the planet. He entered into the lives of the individuals concerned, he questioned them and listened to their stories with the piety of one who feels personally called to account and yet, simultaneously, with the insightfulness of the detached, no holds barred observer, and, above all, with the courage and passion of one determined to uncover, expose and denounce the mechanisms and interests at play behind a scandal invariably passed off as an inevitability, an unavoidable fact of life. On reaching the end of this intensely gripping read, which, thanks to the extraordinary agility of the writing, succeeds in making such an awkward and difficult subject so deeply compelling, no one can look the other way and carry on as if nothing has happened. One is left wanting to learn more. And — continues Angela Terzani, summing up – it is the boldness of its censure, its insightfulness, its timely reminder of our individual and collective responsibility and, first and foremost, the idealism of  the author’s vision and the hope he leaves us of a possible anthropological revolution capable of breaking the paradigms of “necessary” inequalities,  that the Jury awards the 2016 Tiziano Terzani International Literary Prize to  La Fame, by Martín Caparrós».

Martín Caparrós will receive the award at a special gala ceremony dedicated to the occasion on Saturday, May 7, 2016 at the Teatro Nuovo Giovanni da Udine (20.45), which has hosted the event, a highlight of the Vicino/Lontano Festival,  since its inception. The Festival, which celebrates its 12th edition this year, will take place in the heart of Udine from 5th  to 8th May. Attending the prize giving ceremony will be the writer and journalist Loredana Lipperini, one of the most popular presenters of Fahrenheit, the RAI 3  literary programme, who will be interviewing the winning author. The jury awarding the prestigious Terzani Prize includes: Giulio Anselmi, Enza Campino, Toni Capuozzo, Tommaso Cerno, Andrea Filippi, Alen Loreti, Milena Gabanelli, Ettore Mo, Carla Nicolini, Paulo Pecile, Valerio Pellizzari, Peter Popham, and Marino Sinibaldi. Info www.vicinolontano.it

Commenting on the winner, the Festival organisers said «We especially liked the choice of the jury because Martín Caparrós, in calling the privileged First World to account and denouncing our profligate attitude towards waste, reveals the intolerable imbalances that exist across the globe, proving that “there the wealth of one country cannot exist without the misery and hunger of another. ” Hunger becomes the lens through which Caparrós forces us to look at the world we live in, in the process bringing into view some of the  most pressing issues of post modernity: the soaring, ever increasing inequalities of our globalized world, the plunder of territories, the destruction and hoarding of resources, new forms of colonialism and slavery, old and new forms of exclusion, especially of women, the culpable inadequacy of governments and the impotence of international solidarity. These are just some of the themes playing out on the contemporary world stage, themes which the Vicino/Lontano Festival has always sought to investigate and deliberate upon, in the name of Tiziano Terzani».

Martín Caparrós was among the five semi-finalists of the 2016 Terzani  Prize, the other four being: Jonathan Crary for 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep (Verso Books, 2014); Kamel Daoud for The Meursault Investigation (One World Publications 2015); Alessandro Leogrande  for La frontiera  (Feltrinelli, 2015) and Lawrence Wright for Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief (Vintage 2013)

The Argentine journalist and writer, Martín Caparrós, was born in Buenos Aires in 1957. He was active in the underground press during the military dictatorship  of 1976-1983, living in exile  initially in Paris, where he graduated in history from the Sorbonne, then in Madrid, where he worked with El País, and finally in New York.  Since returning home following the restoration of democracy, he has worked for several newspapers and radio and television channels. However, he  continues to travel halfway around the world in order to conduct his investigations. He has been the editor of a number of magazine and cookery book titles, translated Voltaire, Shakespeare and Quevedo,and has won numerous international awards. He is the author of thirty books, including novels and essays. In Italy  he has published Il ladro del sorriso (Ponte alle Grazie 2006); Non è un cambio di stagione. Un iperviaggio nell’apocalisse climatica (Edizioni Ambiente 2011); and La fame (Einaudi 2015),  winner of the 2016 Terzani Prize.

Translation by Amanda Hunter