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Premio Napoli World Literature Prize awarded to poet John Ashbery

With a talk by Charles Simic

John Ashbery and Charles Simic
John Ashbery and Charles Simic

Two of America's finest and most widely-acclaimed poets will make a rare joint appearance to celebrate this prestigious international prize at Columbia University’s Italian Academy.

Poet John Ashbery is the winner of the Special “Premio Napoli” 2009 Prize for World Literature; poet Charles Simic is the winner of the “Premio Napoli” Prize for WorldLiterature, for the book “Club Midnight.”
The Premio Napoli Foundation, based in and sponsored by the city of Naples, Italy, organizes conferences, cultural events, and discussion groups on topics of international interest, and produces several publications. Each year a jury of about 14 prominent writers and editors chooses the books that qualify for consideration for the €5,000 prizes in two main categories, Italian and World literature. The books are then distributed to more than 170 "reading committees" around the world, totaling about 1,600 people. Each casts a vote for the best book of the year in each category. Past winners include Nobel laureate novelist Orhan Pamuk, Ryszard Kapuscinski, Abraham B. Yehoshua, Aharon Appelfeld, Sandra Cisneros.

Speakers: Silvio Perrella, (President, Premio Napoli Foundation); Nelson Moe (Columbia University and Barnard College); Barbara Faedda (Italian Academy); Anthony Tamburri (Calandra Institute).

John Ashbery was born in Rochester, New York, in 1927 and earned degrees from Harvard and Columbia. He has published more than twenty collections and has won the three major American prizes --the Pulitzer, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has received two Guggenheim Fellowships and was a MacArthur Fellow from 1985 to 1990. He has served as executive editor of ARTnews and as the art critic for New York magazine and Newsweek.

Charles Simic, the USA’s 15th poet laureate, is an emeritus professor of creative writing and literature at the University of New Hampshire. Born in Yugoslavia in 1938, Mr. Simic immigrated to the United States in 1954. A translator, essayist, and memoirist as well as a poet, he counts a Pulitzer Prize and a MacArthur Fellowship among his many awards.

Sponsored by the Fondazione Premio Napoli,
The Italian Academy of Columbia University,
and the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute.