Mauro Mazza Gets Started as Italy’s Frankfurt 2024 Commissioner

In News by Porter Anderson

The newly appointed commissioner from Rome for the 2024 Frankfurt Guest of Honor Italy has met with AIE on plans for the program.

In the Guest of Honor Spain pavilion at the 2022 Frankfurter Buchmesse. Image: FBM, Bernd Hartung

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Italian Author Delegation Deadline: July 31
As was reported by the Association of Italian Publishers‘ (Associazione Italiana Editori, AIE) industry-focused Giornale della Libreria, Mauro Mazza has met with the AIE director Fabio Del Giudice to start the process of identifying some 80 authors who are expected to be invited to be part of the delegation for Guest of Honor Italy at Frankfurter Buchmesse in 2024.

Publishing Perspectives readers know that this year’s guest of honor at Frankfurt (October 18 to 22) is Slovenia with its lyrical “Honeycomb of Words” program and pavilion plans, presented in a news conference on June 15. On that evening, as coincidence would have it, Italy’s national leadership named Mazza the new “extraordinary commissioner” to lead the Italian guest of honor program in 2024.

Planning for the Italian program had encountered headwinds in May, leading to Ricardo Franco Levi resigning his post as Rome’s appointed extraordinary commissioner for the Frankfurt program. Our story on that resignation is here, and Levi remains president of the Federation of European Publishers (FEP), which has shown staunch support for him and his work.

Mauro Mazza

On a proposal from the Italian prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, the council of ministers in Rome has subsequently approved the appointment of Mazza to the role of extraordinary commissioner for the 2024 Frankfurt Guest of Honor Italy event.

In making the appointment, Meloni’s minister of culture, Gennaro Sangiuliano, said, “After the resignation of Ricardo Franco Levi, we wanted to choose a high-profile figure by appointing our colleague Mauro Mazza as commissioner who, in addition to being a writer and an important essayist, showed great organizational skills when he directed, among others, RaiUno, the most important Italian television network.”

Sangiuliano has expressed his full faith in Mazza’s ability to carry the work forward, particularly thanks to Mazza’s “cultural sensitivity” that reflects what the minister has called “a pluralist participation” open to a free exchange of “all the editorial expressions of our nation.”

Broad Diversity in Italy’s Authors Delegation

Mazza is a journalist by background—having worked for II Secolo d’Italia and the Adnkronos agency—and formerly the director not only of Rai 1, but also of Rai Sport and Tg2. He’s also the author of many essays and three novels.

His most recent book is Lo Stivale e il Cupolone: Italia-Vaticano una coppia in crisi  (The Boot and the Dome: Italy and the Vatican, a Couple in Crisis) from Il Timone (November 2022). In it, he examines Italy’s long and special relationship with Catholicism. Amid a contemporary weakening of religious culture in parts of the national character, he argues, Italy is following the lead of various components of Europe.

And in beginning the selection of a shortlist of Italian authors and illustrators for the Frankfurt guest of honor program, Massa and the AIE team have agreed that the delegation is to be “representative of the Italian publishing scene, pluralist and balanced by literary fields, genres, and ages, and the publishing houses to which they belong, thus involving authors published by large groups as well as small and medium-sized houses.”

Writers of fiction, essays, poetry, children’s books, and comics are to be identified, with priority going to authors whose work has been published in German or scheduled to be published in German in 2024.

Full details about proposing authors for the “Frankfurt 2024” delegation to Frankfurter Buchmesse can be found here, with a deadline of July 31 for submissions.

More from Publishing Perspectives on Italy and its book publishing industry is here, and more on the Italian Publishers Association (AIE) is here. More on the Federation of European Publishers is here. More on Frankfurter Buchmesse is here, more on its guest of honor program is here, and more on Guest of Honor Slovenia 2023 is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.