Reading About Love in All Its Forms
7 9 2019
Reading About Love in All Its Forms

An anthology of love edited by young readers

The heavy rains of Friday afternoon don't threaten the enthusiasm of the young readers gathered under the tent in the Museo Diocesano courtyard.

They come from different Italian cities, schools and reading clubs; over the past few months, they took part in the Anthology!2019 - Amore, second edition of the project aimed at collecting the answers of Italian teenagers to the question: "What are the most beautiful love pieces you would like to read in an anthology?". The young readers (all between 14 and 18 years old) are helped in the selection by the Italian writer and mathematician Chiara Valerio, and the Argentine-Canadian writer Alberto Manguel.

Before the beginning of the vote, moderator Simonetta Bitasi asks Manguel and Valerio what should be the rules to create a good anthology. The two writers agree: personal taste as a pure hedonistic approach should be the main principle of choice. During a one-hour lively and passionate discussion, the jury and the audience dissect and evaluate the list of the 39 finalist pieces, selected in the previous weeks by the young editorial staff.

The selection ranges from the Italian writer Stefano Benni to the Polish poet Maria Wislawa Szymborska, from the young-adult fiction writer Kevin Brooks to the Indian poet Rupi Kaur, and many more. This mix of authors, prose, and poetry, of classic and modern ways to write about love, indicate the insatiable curiosity of teenage Italian readers: they agree that a good anthology shouldn't just include classic names, but also texts that are no usually found in school books.

The tone of the discussion shows their desire to reread and reinterpret literature with a fresh eye, as a tool to help them face the problems of reality without taboos. Anthology!2019 - Amore can be requested through the website Read On (Reading for Enjoyment, Achievement and Development of yOuNg people) is the European project to promote reading for children between 12 and 19 years, in partnership with Festivaletteratura Mantova.