The Bridge / Il Ponte is a project of Casa Delle Letterature of Rome and the Embassy of the United States of America in Rome. The Center for Fiction joined as the American partner in 2019. Now in its sixth year, the award is sponsored by Centro Per il Libro e La Lettura, CEPELL, and the Federazione Unitaria Italiana Scrittori, FUIS, in collaboration with the American Academy in Rome, the Italian Consulate in NYC, the Italian Cultural Institute in NY, and the Fondazione Civitella Ranieri. Funding is also provided in the United States by an anonymous donor.
The Bridge Book Award unites the Italian and American cultures, and aims to strengthen mutual understanding through literature. The prize covers the translation costs in the opposite language. Its purpose is to promote knowledge of the best and most recent publications in fiction and nonfiction of the two countries.
The prize includes two components, one Italian and one American with a mirror structure, and is awarded to a new work of fiction as well as a new work of nonfiction of the two countries each year. The American authors are selected in two rounds of voting by an Italian jury, made up a number of jurors for fiction and for nonfiction. Symmetrically, the Italian authors are selected by an American jury with the same numbers of members.
The selection of candidates for all the books, as well as the selection of the members of the jury, is made by the Executive Committees of the Italian and American Prize composed by one representative of all the institutions that curate and promote it. The books in competition, ten for each country, i.e., five for fiction and five for non-fiction, must have been published in their respective countries during the year preceding the award. The winning authors receive a $1,000 cash prize, plus the translation of their book into the opposite language. American winners travel to Rome for an award ceremony there and Italian winners attend an award ceremony in the United States at The Center for Fiction.
Winners of The Bridge Prize 2019
Italian Selection – Fiction
- Romana Petri, Pranzi di famiglia, Neri Pozza
Italian Selection – Nonfiction
- Massimo Castoldi, Insegnare libertà, Donzelli
American Selection – Nonfiction
- Pamela O. Long, Engineering the Eternal City, University Chicago Press
American Selection – Fiction
- Maaza Mengiste, The Shadow King, W. W. Norton & Company
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