Tempo di Libri returns to Milan

14 February 2018

Stories to lose yourself in, characters to beguile you, suggestions to reflect on and a healthy dose of culture to enjoy and celebrate: Tempo di Libri returns to Milan, with a new location (fieramilanocity, in the heart of the city, with 35 thousand square metres in Halls 3 and 4), new dates (from Thursday 8 to Monday 12 March), longer hours extending into the evening, and a new director, Andrea Kerbaker.

Organised by La Fabbrica del Libro (a company jointly set up by AIE – Associazione Italiana Editori and Fiera Milano), the Milan International Book Fair will open its doors to visitors and guide them through five themed itineraries, one for each day:

Women (Thursday 8 March)
Rebellion (Friday 9)
Milan (Saturday 10)
Books and Images (Sunday 11)
Digital World (Monday 12)

Five fully-packed days, preceded on the evening of 7 March by Incipit, an opening event at which university students will be reading hundreds of first sentences from famous novels. Starting the following day, over 500 initiatives will line the path of the itineraries, exploring the many offshoots of the publishing world: from food and wine (Tempo di Libri A Tavola) to sports (Bar Sport), from the charm of antique books to prodigies of the digital world (Da Gutenberg a Zuckerberg), without forgetting the MIRC Milan International Rights Center focusing on the negotiation and sale of rights, and programmes for schools, universities and the professional sector.

A wide-ranging and varied panorama of meetings, guests and professionals from different sectors. An array of foreign and Italian authors have already confirmed their participation at Tempo di Libri including Roddy Doyle, Yasmine El Rashidi, Alan Friedman, Joe Lansdale, Clara Sánchez, Luis Sepúlveda, Gianrico Carofiglio, Donato Carrisi, Sveva Casati Modignani, Francesca Cavallo and Elena Favilli, Paolo Cognetti, Fabio Genovesi, Dacia Maraini, Aldo Nove, Francesco Piccolo, Hans Tuzzi. Appearing alongside them will be scholars and scientists (Serge Latouche, Manfred Spitzer, Peter Wadhams, Roberto Burioni, Piergiorgio Odifreddi) and figures from the world of art (Tullio Pericoli), entertainment (Pupi Avati, Nino Frassica), digital media (Gino Roncaglia) and cooking (Iginio Massari, Benedetta Rossi)…

The thirteen rooms and two workshops at fieramilanocity will also be the stage for innovative author itineraries, daily features, readings and events that will interlace different languages and disciplines including music, the cinema, comics, the theatre and exhibitions. You might want to attend an English lesson with theatrical teacher John Peter Sloan, find out more about your sign of the Zodiac with Internet astrologer Simon & the Stars, or listen to the voice of a great actor over the speaker system reading Leopardi’s L’infinito, 200 years after it was written.

All these initiatives are the fruit of solid links that the event has been able to forge with some of the leading lights of Milanese, Lombard and national culture: from Gallerie d’Italia to the National Museum of Science and Technology, from Fondo Ambiente Italiano to the Piccolo Teatro and the Teatro Franco Parenti. Without forgetting a primary agreement with the most celebrated book fair in the world, the legendary Buchmesse in Frankfurt.


While in the dimension of time Tempo di Libri will extend across five days, in the dimension of space it can be imagined as an archipelago of thematic islands that communicate with each other through the language of books. The Bar Sport, with a series of meetings, debates and presentations, will host a discussion of competition in all its possible nuances, all its experiences and difficulties, since it has always been possible to narrate life and its stories through the metaphor of sport. Tempo di Libri A Tavola, on the other hand, will feature a kitchen in which great chefs, experts in the culture of food and wine, and stars of the TV will give their all in over 50 cooking shows a day, and there will also be a workshop for visitors to get their hands to work. There will also be a meeting area with dozens of events including tastings, book launches and practical demonstrations. This year will again see the creation, in collaboration with Fondazione LIA, of the I Libri di Tutti (books for everyone) area, dedicated to accessibility: as well as exhibiting various accessible reading solutions (from Braille to digital), a series of Readings al Buio (readings in the dark) will also be organised for the general public and schools in which visually impaired authors and readers will read out passages from books.

Alongside these meeting and exhibition areas there will be a collective space displaying valuable specimens of antique books (curated by ALAI – Associazione Librai Antiquari d’Italia), an exhibition itinerary (Da Gutenberg a Zuckerberg) exploring the evolution of books from the invention of printing to the latest frontiers of innovation and technology, and special spaces set up by the Amici Della Scala association (in 2018 the famous Milanese opera house celebrates its first 240 years). An “external” island will also be created in Progetto Carceri, which will involve a number of penal institutions in the Milan area in activities linked to the Dino Buzzati schools initiative (see the Junior Readers section).

How can you find your way around all this? All visitors can move around freely between the stands and rooms, following their own personal compass and building a unique experience based on their tastes, preferences, definite plans and instinctive choices. But Tempo di Libri also offers a number of unique, engaging alternatives. One example is the author itineraries: writers, scholars and other eminent guests will be leading visitors along special itineraries within the stands of exhibitors, talking about the books that they hold in their hands.


The third dimension occupied by the Fair – together with those of space and time – is that of the fusion of formats, arts and languages. This has been achieved through the participation of various partners from different disciplines in planning the Fair’s activities.

The eclectic recipe of Tempo di Libri finds room for a great deal of music, starting with themed playlists that will welcome visitors at the entrance to the Fair and continuing with other events based on the meeting of texts and sounds. The cinema will feature actively in different ways, beginning with appearances by directors, screenwriters, actors and the scheduling of themed events. The world of the media will be represented by guests like Eddie Newquist, who will talk about how the book world expands into other narrative contexts and how stories in books can become movies, TV series, exhibitions or video games. Performance will be the byword in a series readings to include Qualcosa (by and with Chiara Gamberale), a tribute to Alda Merini written by Irene Grazioli, a performance by Laura Curino, an itinerary that will conclude with a collective experience of reading out loud A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway to mark the centenary of the author’s wounding and transfer to Milan performed by volunteer readers from the Patto di Milano per la Lettura, and a moving interpretation of L’infinito by Giacomo Leopardi performed by an actor who – broadcast over the speaker system – will literally bring Tempo di Libri to a halt.

Visiting the Fair will also mean experiencing displays of many different forms: photographic shows (Fulvio Roiter), book collections and very rare books (in the Aldus Club area), book cover design (visitors will be invited to vote for the best ones of the year). Other formats exploring original communication solutions include daily features: every day will see performances by Gioele Dix, reflections on the main points by the guests of Silvio Perrella , and insights on the mountains presented by Marco Albino Ferrari. There will also be a poetic  rendezvous hosted by Marco Balzano (with Patrizia Cavalli, Valerio Magrelli and others), and the “maestri” (maestros) in a series of presentations by “Doppiozero” reflecting the theme of the day. Leading participants will include Franco Arminio (talking about Gianni Celati) Ferdinando Scianna (Henri Cartier-Bresson), Mario Calabresi (Bruno Munari), and Massimo Recalcati (Jannis Kounellis).


There is a significant category of readers for whom it is already Tempo di Libri: students at schools taking part in Il Gioco dei Perché (the game of why), an initiative inspired by I Perché di Dino Buzzati, the regular column written by the great writer and journalist from Belluno in the “Corriere dei Piccoli”. The first part of the project is taking place in the classroom, where teachers and their students are collecting their  «whys»; the second part will be held at the Fair itself, through workshops in which – with the collaboration of writers, illustrators, animators and educators – young participants will hunt for the answers.

Il Gioco dei Perché is just one of the many initiatives in the Tempo di Libri programme for children at primary and secondary schools. Available at www.tempodilibri.it/scuole, the schedule includes over 100 meetings, workshops and presentations that will enable students to take part in the event and meet their idols in the flesh while also experiencing other cultures, environmental themes and new technologies.

Poetry 4.0 will be a topic discussed by Francesco Sole with his pearls of wisdom delivered on post-it notes, Licia Troisi will explore the world of fantasy and Roberto Piumini will recreate the magic of Romeo and Juliet. There will also be appointments with the world of fairy-tales hosted by “Signora dei Gomitoli” author Gisella Laterza, a focus on dance with Aurora Marsotto, art experiences with Margherita Loy, illustrations with Giulia Orecchia, and Federico Maggioni will play with a great classic from Italian literary tradition. Arriving at the Fair from the world of YouTube will be Greta with her Coccole Sonore (children’s songs) and SiviShow, with themes ranging from fame to cyberbullying, while via Instagram comes the actress and model Beatrice Vendramin. The schedule will be in-tune with the overall spirit of the Fair: many events will follow the themed structure of the five days, and there will be a daily feature for the junior audience (edited by the eminent journalist Geronimo Stilton) and an exhaustive list of unexpected activities, from dance to yoga lessons. The workshops will also feature practical lessons on recycling (Comieco), the chance to try out being a reporter, artist or young architect (Focus Junior) and trips into the past to rediscover a Milan in continual evolution (Fondazione Pirelli). A series of workshops for the youngest children, created in collaboration with Mamamò, will focus on the digital world, while a daily feature will develop the Decalogo del Buon Digitale (good digital guide) to encourage an aware and creative use of the Internet and new media by children and parents. In parallel with this a programme for universities is also being developed. Tempo di Libri will be collaborating with  several universities to design special itineraries and meetings beginning with a series of events hosted by the Associazione Studentesca Letteraria Bocconi d’Inchiostro, with students talking to authors and industry professionals and joining in literary debates.


The Milan International Rights Center is a place where Tempo di Libri will provide Italian and international rights managers, editors, literary agents, publishing houses and talent scouts. A reserved space, open from 8 to 10 March 2018, where it will be possible to meet, negotiate the sale of rights and explore new relationships and market opportunities. MIRC will be the first major marketplace in the 2018 publishing events calendar. All information on taking part is available at www.milaninternationalrightscenter.it.

Tempo di Libri will also devote an ad hoc section of the programme to the professional world, with round tables, meetings and discussions that will touch upon all the key aspects of the publishing industry: from editing to translation, from the relationship between different industry sectors (print and otherwise) to the development of new digital platforms, internationalization and the sales of the rights; it will also address new ways of reading prompted by new devices, and the “resilience” of paper in the face of this challenge; new ways for readers to access news and choose sales channels, and an analysis of trends in the book market and the emerging market segments that it contains: from sports to food/wine and graphic novels.

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