Turin, Italy: In the realm of literary wonders, the Turin International Book Fair (Salone Internazionale del Libro di Torino) took attendees on a journey inspired by Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland."
Aptly themed “Through the Looking Glass,” this year’s edition, held from May 18 to 22, invited readers to explore new worlds.
An opening speech by Belarusian journalist and writer Svetlana Aleksievič kicked off five jam-packed days of conferences, workshops, awards and commemorations, including the 50th anniversary of J.R.R. Tolkien’s death, the centenary of Italo Calvino (born in 1923), and the bicentenary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s famed novel, “Frankenstein.”
One of the most anticipated guests at the event was Nigerian Nobel Prize laureate Wole Soyinka, who presented the Italian version of his latest novel “Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth,” published by La nave di Teseo.
The Prof, the Uncle and the trailblazer
At 88, Soyinka exhibited the zest and vigour of a young man, encapsulating the curious wonder of the event that catered to all ages. He greeted both readers and journalists with his signature sharp insights and self-confidence, which have been many decades in the making.
Soyinka’s legacy is a great one. African writers who grew up reading his books in Nigeria, and in various African and global institutions, fondly refer to him as “Uncle Soyinka” or “Prof”, short for professor. Just a few minutes in his presence, listening to his masterful storytelling, reminds us exactly why.