KARACHI: 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.”
International book fair leaves readers wanting more
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.
Two-day book fair at UET
“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.”
Published in The Express Tribune, February 10th, 2017.