This year too, the awards ceremony for the winners of Match Point, the competition for unpublished stories written in Italian by residents in the United Kingdom, now in its second edition, was held at the Italian Cultural Institute in London.
The award, the first ever of its kind, is organized by Il Circolo – Italian Cultural Association, a dynamic Italian charity promoting Italian culture for over twenty-five years in the United Kingdom, in collaboration with Londra Scrive, the creative writing school founded by the writer Marco Mancassola.
The competition was sponsored by the Consulate General of Italy in London and the final evening opened the twenty-third edition of the ”Week of the Italian language in the world”, an initiative organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
This year’s theme was ‘’What are you afraid of?’’ inviting the entrants to recount their innermost fears, real or imaginary. It was inspired by an artistic project (of the same name) by the Italian artist Alice Padovani. The project was promoted in the UK by WE RESTART, a London-based charity that joined the organisers’ team for the 2023 edition of Match Point.
The awards evening opened with greetings from Katia Pizzi, director of the Institute, the Consul General of Italy in London Domenico Bellantone and Simona Spreafico, president of Il Circolo, was conducted by Etta Carnelli De Benedetti – director of Il Circolo – who illustrated the spirit of the competition.
With over eighty participating stories, 70% written by women, and a wide age spectrum ranging from 19 to 74, Match Point confirmed its popularity among Italians and Italian speakers in the United Kingdom.
Marco Mancassola and Caterina Soffici then joined Etta Carnelli De Benedetti on stage to talk about the jury, which, in addition to them, included five other writing and publishing professionals: Olga Campofreda, Benedetta Cibrario, Isabella d’Amico, Daniele Derossi, Paolo Nelli and Giovanna Salvia.
It was underlined that the jury judged the stories, marked only by a progressive number, without knowing anything about the authors to guarantee transparency and objectivity in the choice.
We then reached the highlight of the evening with the call to the stage, one by one, of the twelve finalists in a crescendo of curiosity and suspense while waiting to discover the winners. Among the finalists, to underline the high average quality of the stories, the jury also awarded three special mentions to the short stories written by Agata Catalano, Rosario Morabito and Claudia di Marco.
The last three names were announced amidst the buzz of the public: the third prize went to “The Mutiny” by Simone Sturniolo. The second place to “Il falo” by Giovanni Biglino. Both receive a trophy and a cash prize of £500.
The winner of Match Point 2023 is the story “Nero pesto” by Filippo Rossi, who wins a trophy and a prize of £1000. Focused on the atavistic fear of the dark, the story was chosen with this motivation: “For the originality of the story told, the development that captivates the reader until the last line, the investigation into the archetypes of childhood fears, the interesting homage to a certain cinematic imagery, the tone infused with bittersweet irony.”
The winner originates from Veneto. During his academic career, he lived in Spain and Germany and for more than ten years, he has lived in London, where he practices the profession of electronic engineer. Asked to try to describe himself, he says that he likes “inventions, travel, sucking on cloves, people with a loud laugh and creating stories that he always forgets. He often reads books by unknown authors, but he has a deep crush on Camilleri‘s most famous novels. He orders his books on the shelves according to the character of the characters to encourage new friendships and prevent them from arguing.”.
The wife of the Italian Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Maria Grazia Lambertini, patron of Il Circolo, attended the ceremony and handed the prizes to the three winners.
The three winning stories, excerpts of which were read during the evening by actor Alex Marchi, also won a precious professional editing and, in the coming weeks, publication in the literary magazine Cattedrale – Osservatorio sul racconto, partner of the competition.
We close with an obvious but very suitable phrase, in Italian we say : ‘’non c’e’ due senza tre’’! Il Circolo is already thinking about the theme for MatchPOiNT 2024: Artificial intelligence, social media? Not decided yet…. follow us on the new il Circolo, and you will know!
To find out more about the activities of Il Circolo read our Events page.