Festival of Italian Literature in London

We spoke to one of the festival's organisers, Giorgia Tolfo, about this year's programme highlights.

What is FILL and how did it begin?
FILL is a festival of literature and ideas with writers and thinkers from different backgrounds, discussing literature and politics, migration, translation, and contemporary topics.
It was created by an independent group of London-based Italian authors, journalists, translators, and academics in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum. We felt more urgently the need to create spaces for people of different backgrounds to create dialogue and confrontation. Spaces to share ideas, experiences and knowledge and share perspectives and insights. We wanted to create a bridge between the Italian community and the other communities in London.
The first year, due to proximity to the referendum, we focused on the relationship between the Italian and the British community.
Later we felt the need to open up to other communities as well. This is the direction we are working on now, with the support of the British Council and other cultural institutions that have to partnered with us and joined the dialogue we’ve started.
Only including more voices we can make ideas stronger and louder.
Which event in this year's programme are you most looking forward to? 
Every year the programme becomes more and more ambitious. This year we've got:
Turkish journalist Ece Temelkuran will discuss the rise of populism and nationalism in her country with Italian philosopher Donatella Di Cesare.
Strega-prize winner author Edoardo Albinati, just published in the UK, will discuss subjectivity in the contemporary novel with Rachel Cusk .
Novelists Anthony Cartwright and Alberto Prunetti will share their experience writing about the working class.
But there’s more!
What are you reading at the moment? 
I’m an omnivorous reader and although reading is a very private activity, working on the festival and thinking about the programme has made it almost a group activity. Each of us brings a brick and we build a common building of knowledge. This in practice means I’m often reading several things at the same time.
In particular, now I’m reading Deborah Levy’s latest novel, The Man Who Saw Everything, partly because she’s a great novelist and partly because I’d like to see her at FILL one day. I'm also reading an essay by Spanish writer Sergio Del Molino (La España vacía, currently unpublished in the UK) on the perception of the deserted and abandoned areas of Spain and how literature and anthropology have contributed in shaping their biased representation. And some poetry by the Italian poet and essayist Franco Arminio, who’s written extensively on abandoned places in the south of Italy, but also on the practice of reconnecting to them.
How can people get involved with FILL?
The easiest way is to come to the Festival! Listen to the debates taking place and contribute to them, ask questions and share thoughts. Or simply meeting people. FILL is an inclusive space where the audience is part of the debate and they can come and spend the day there talking and connecting with others
Another way to get involved is to support our activity which takes place during the rest of the year. We have a new series of events, “Extra Fill”, which will expand our network of collaborations and partnerships. We are also always looking for people who can help, both as volunteers during the festival, but also as bloggers, journalists and creatives. Spreading ideas, debating them and connecting people is at the heart of FILL.

Explore the FILL programme
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