Since most Italians cannot read English and prefer reading in their own language, a publisher has undertaken the task of translating contemporary Pakistani novels into Italian.
Italian consul-general Gianluca Rubagotti made this announcement at a press conference at Avari Towers on Thursday afternoon.
“A publishing company plans to publish a contemporary Pakistani author in the Italian language,” he said. “Mostly people living abroad are ignorant about Pakistan. We would like the Italian people to read about Pakistan.”
Hence an Italian publisher, Andrea Berrini, of Metropoli d’Asia is going to undertake this task, he announced while introducing the Karachi Literature Festival award ‘Italy Reads Pakistan’.
“It is an honour for me to be here in Pakistan,” said Berrini, adding that her publishing house will be translating new works by talented Asians. “Asia is growing faster and at a rapid speed. We have done this kind of activity before in Indonesia and Taiwan.”
The jury, which comprises Pakistani writers Bina Shah, HM Naqvi and Salman Tariq Kureshi, will be sitting with another set of Italian jury members and going over 19 submissions to select the best work to be translated, he explained. The winner will be announced at the festival on Saturday.
“Italians haven’t read much of Pakistani writers, except for Mohsin Hamid,” Berrini pointed out. “The readership is more interested in reading about issues facing Pakistan or related to it. They know it’s not a rural country. They have a life similar to theirs.”
Oxford University Press managing director Ameena Saiyid viewed this as a great opportunity. “It is a wonderful initiative, which will lead to better understanding between Italy and Pakistan,” she said. “To read about Pakistan is really a way into the heart of the Italian people and readership, besides strengthening public diplomacy.”
A Princeton PhD, was a US diplomat for over 20 years, mostly in Eastern Europe, and was promoted to the Senior Foreign Service in 1997. For the Open World Leadership Center, he speaks with
its delegates from Europe/Eurasia on the topic, "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United." Affiliated with Georgetown University for over ten years, he shares ideas with students about public diplomacy.
The papers of his deceased father -- poet and diplomat John L. Brown -- are stored at Georgetown University Special Collections at the Lauinger Library. They are manuscript materials valuable to scholars interested in post-WWII U.S.-European cultural relations.
This blog is dedicated to him, Dr. John L. Brown, a remarkable linguist/humanist who wrote in the Foreign Service Journal (1964) -- years before "soft power" was ever coined -- that "The CAO [Cultural Affairs Officer] soon comes to realize that his job is really a form of love-making and that making love is never really successful unless both partners are participating."