Strega Prize

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Strega liqueur advert (1902)

The Strega Prize (Italian: Premio Strega [ˈprɛːmjo ˈstreːɡa]) is the most prestigious Italian literary award.[1] It has been awarded annually since 1947 for the best work of prose fiction written in the Italian language by an author of any nationality and first published between 1 May of the previous year and 30 April.


In 1944 Maria and Goffredo Bellonci started to host a literary salon at their home in Rome. These Sunday gatherings of writers, artists and intellectuals grew to include many of the most notable figures of Italian cultural life. The group became known as the Amici della Domenica, or ‘Sunday Friends’. In 1947 the Belloncis, together with Guido Alberti, owner of the firm which produces the Strega liqueur, decided to inaugurate a prize for fiction, the winner being chosen by the Sunday friends.[2]

The activities of the Bellonci circle and the institution of the prize were seen as marking a tentative return to ‘normality’ in Italian cultural life: a feature of the reconstruction which followed the years of Fascism, war, occupation and liberation.

The first winner of the Strega, elected by the Sunday Friends, was Ennio Flaiano,[3] for his first and only novel Tempo di uccidere, which is set in Africa during the Second Italo-Abyssinian War. It has been translated into English as The Short Cut.

Maria Bellonci published a history of the Strega prize, titled Come un racconto gli anni del premio Strega, in 1971.[4]

Selection process[edit]

Since the death of Maria Bellonci in 1986, the prize has been administered by the Fondazione Maria e Goffredo Bellonci. The members of the now 400-strong prize jury, drawn from Italy’s cultural elite, are still known as the Sunday Friends. For a book to be considered, it must have the support of at least two Friends. This initial long list is whittled down at a first ballot to a short list of five. The second round of voting, followed by the proclamation of the victor, takes place on the first Thursday in July in the nymphaeum of the Villa Giulia, Rome.[2]


Telecom Italia have joined Liquore Strega as sponsors of the prize.[5]

Premio Strega speciale, 2006[edit]

In 2006, the seventieth year of the Strega Prize, a special award was made to the Constitution of Italy, a document which was drawn up and approved in 1946, the year of the Strega’s inauguration. The award was received by former President of the Italian Republic Oscar Luigi Scalfaro.[6]



  1. ^ M. A. Orthofer (July 3, 2014). "Premio Strega Europeo". complete review. Retrieved July 3, 2014. the Premio Strega, the major Italian book prize
  2. ^ a b Gino Moliterno, ed. (2002). Encyclopedia of Contemporary Italian Culture. Routledge. p. 469. ISBN 978-1-134-75877-7.
  3. ^ Robin Healey (1998). Twentieth-century Italian Literature in English Translation: An Annotated Bibliography 1929-1997. University of Toronto Press. p. 43. ISBN 978-0-8020-0800-8.
  4. ^ Katharina M. Wilson (1991). An Encyclopedia of Continental Women Writers. Taylor & Francis. p. 109. ISBN 978-0-8240-8547-6.
  5. ^ Britannica Book of the Year 2014. Encyclopædia Britannica. 2014. p. 285. ISBN 978-1-62513-171-3.
  6. ^ "La cinquina del 60° Premio Strega" (in Italian). June 9, 2006. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  7. ^ "Premio Strega, trionfo per Edoardo Nesi: 138 voti al suo "Storia della mia gente"". La Repubblica (in Italian). July 8, 2011.
  8. ^ Maike Albath (June 23, 2015). "Sexuelle Nöte". Neue Zürcher Zeitung (in German).
  9. ^ "Premio Strega 2013, il vincitore è Walter Siti con "Resistere non serve a niente"". Il Fatto Quotidiano. July 3, 2013.
  10. ^ "Letteratura, Premio Strega 2014 Vince la "sinistra" di Piccolo". l'Unità (in Italian). July 4, 2014. Archived from the original on July 7, 2014. Retrieved July 4, 2014.
  11. ^ "Nicola Lagioia vince il Premio Strega 2015". La Stampa. July 3, 2015.
  12. ^ Francesco Pacifico (July 6, 2018). "First Woman Wins the Strega Prize in Fifteen Years". The Paris Review. Retrieved July 7, 2018.

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