Babel is a literature and translation festival, and every year there is a new guest language or nation. On Babel’s stage, authors engage in dialogue with their Italian translators, the people who took their work word by word into another language. The discussion is always preceded or followed by readings from the author in the original language and by the translator in Italian.
Among the authors Babel has invited so far are: Derek Walcott, Amitav Ghosh, Ismail Kadaré, Adam Zagajewski, Mourid Barghouthi, Elias Khoury, Guillermo Arriaga, Sandra Cisneros, Jamaica Kincaid, Ha Jin, Paco Ignacio Taibo II, Ljudmila Ulitskaya, Ruben Gallego, Mikhail Aizenberg.
Babel also offers a programme of translations from different artistic languages with art exhibitions, films and concerts, as well as translation workshops, school visits, publications of new translations in books and magazines, events in other cities and countries, and more.
Babel is recognized by critics, institutions and the general public as one of Switzerland and Italy’s main literary events. In 2013, Babel was awarded two prestigious Swiss literary prizes. This success is undoubtedly due to Babel’s guests, the passion they showed in their readings and the festival’s special atmosphere. We also like to think that these are direct consequences of the pressing relevance of Babel’s concerns.
Translation, a literary practice and a metaphor for the crossing of borders, a creative act and a cultural characteristic of this century, has proven important for all the writers, artists and musicians who have attended the festival, and a compelling stimulus able to connect experience and research.
Year after year, we are developing and expanding translation’s rich implications, letting Babel be an uplifting moment of pleasure and reflection in continuous progress.