Italy scored an extraordinary success at the 2016 National Book Festival, organised by the Library of Congress and held on September 24 at the Washington Convention Centre. Over 220,000 people visited the festival in one day.
Two events put Italy under the spotlight this year. First, a special panel in the international section of the Festival dedicated to Primo Levi and to the English translation of his Complete Works, presented by Festival Director Marie Arana and moderated by Michael Abramowitz of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The panel featured Ann Goldstein of the New Yorker, one of the translators of Levi's Complete Works, as well as critic Adam Gopnik and the Director of the Centro Primo Levi in New York, Alessandro Cassin. The presentation was accompanied by a film by Cynthia Madanskys - produced by the American Initiative for Italian Culture (AIFIC).
The second extraordinary event was scheduled in the "Food and Home" section. It was dedicated to Italian cuisine in the presence of Victor Hazan - the first importer of Italian wines to the United States and husband of the famous Marcella Hazan, who revolutionized the idea of Italian cuisine in the U.S. Mr Hazan presented his latest work "Ingredients: Marcella's Guide to the Market". In this book, his wife's ideas are drawn on in order to help readers select the best ingredients and prepare outstanding dishes. Alessandro Frassica was on the same panel, and presented the English translation of his latest work "Veggie Panino", which is revolutionising the idea of American sandwiches. The panel was moderated by Guy Lamolinara, an expert in international cuisine.
The 2016 National Book Festival was the first major institutional event presided over by the newly appointed Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. In the course of the inaugural Gala of the Festival, Ms Hayden warmly recalled the Italian Embassy's great contribution to the success of the event.