Witi Ihimaera was recently invited to attend the Premio Ostana, Italy, 19-20 June to receive the Premio's international award: Scritture in Lingua Madre for his work in Maori literature. The festival, which is in its second year, is an annual Italian event which celebrates writers of lingua madre (the mother tongue) mainly writing in Europe.
While in Italy, Ihimaera also lectured at Rome University where he met the translators of his third book into Italian, The Matriarch
, due out next year.
His visit coincided with the Italy versus New Zealand football match in South Africa. The television broadcast of the game began at 4 pm on 20 June and football is a religion in Italy and the Italians are very vocal about their team. However, Ihimaera realised something was happening when silence began to fall. He reports that the draw truly stunned the nation.
And I see in the latest Arts Foundation Update that he will participate in writers' workshops and symposia in Taipei and Taichung, as well as introducing two special screenings of the film Whale Rider (in Taipei on 2 July and Taichung on 4 July).
He will also take part in book promotion events involving educators, story tellers, parents and children (in Taipei on 1 July at the Taipei Public Library).
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