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Promoting La Torre and Korean Literature in Italy

 

2022.07.04

 

La Torre (Italian title for Tower (Moonji publishing)) by Bae Myung-hoon is the second Korean book we published, after Bae Suah's Notti invisibili, giorni sconosciuti (Italian title for Untold Night and Day (Jaeum & Moeum Publishing)).
We planned its publication so that it was ready as a preview at the Salone del libro di Torino, the most important book fair in Italy. We reached this moment with a lot of excitement, as 2022 has been an important year of change for our publishing house, with a rebranding operation with a new logotype and visual identity.

 

But let's start from the beginning. add editore is an independent publishing house founded in 2010 in Torino, a city historically linked to publishing.
In 2015, returning from a few years spent developing cultural projects in Southeast Asia, I launched the Asia series, which includes different literary genres (literary fiction and sci-fi, non-fiction, comics) in order to offer readers a sort of complete package to discover and learn about literature from the diverse and heterogeneous continent of Asia.
We have chosen to publish contemporary sci-fi because we believe it is a literary genre that manages to make the best of plots full of imagination, and entertaining while channeling the narrative power to depict our reality with political and social criticism in an illuminating and not obvious way. It is in this context that, when we discovered La Torre by Bae Myung-hoon, we thought it was a great book and perfectly suited for our catalog. We were very glad to find a licensing deal and start working on it.
The first promotional act lies in choosing the right translator for the book, and I am convinced that with La Torre, we made an excellent choice in entrusting the translation to Lia Iovenitti. We received many compliments on how the Italian book came out. Another fundamental piece is the cover: as we know, it can determine whether the book will end up on display in the window and whether in the bookshops it will occupy a prominent space, or will be relegated to the shelf. In this case, the merit of the book's visibility is due to a young Italian illustrator, Lucrezia Viperina, to whom we have entrusted all the covers of the Asia series, within the rebranding work inaugurated this year. We let our readers judge the result directly.
On the first page of the book, we always hide a secret element, a surprise to embellish the package. In this case, Lucrezia Viperina, after reading one of the stories in the book, drew a forgotten envelope in an elevator.

 

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Book cover of La Torre and first page of La Torre © add editore

 

 

We selected a fluorescent pantone color for the cover, both to convey a certain sense of unreality and position the book in a sci-fi esthetic, and to make it stand out even more in the bookstore. When we set up our stand at the Salone del libro, we were in great anticipation of the feedback from readers, and we noticed that many stopped by because they were attracted by La Torre. We also organized a promotional tour of 6 events for the book's release. Since the start of the covid-19 pandemic, this was the first time we have managed to invite an author from Asia. We tried to take advantage of the opportunity to take him to several cities, hosted by festivals, bookshops, and universities. The response has been great, with many young and new readers filling the rooms. It's obvious that Korean culture is attracting a lot of interest in the younger generation, which shows interest in everything Korean, sci-fi literature included. All the events were held in the Korean language with consecutive translations, offering the audience a chance to listen to the sound and enjoy the true words of Bae Myung-hoon. This was made possible thanks to the great work and ability of Lidia Cossu and Mary Lou Galimberti.

 

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Information of promotional tour © add editore

 

 

The book tour started in Venezia at Incroci di civiltà (Crossings of Civilizations). This international literary festival celebrates the city's long-standing tradition as the meeting place for people and cultures. Among their guests in the past editions: Ko Un, Salman Rushdie, Orhan Pamuk, Adonis, Javier Marias, Abraham Yehoshua, Vikram Seth, Michael Chabon, Antonia S. Byatt, Cees Nooteboom, Amitav Ghosh, Michael Ondaatje, David Grossman, Amélie Nothomb, Jeanette Winterson, Robert Coover, Rita Dove, Hanif Kureishi, and many, many others.

 

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Book tour started in Venezia © Stefano Marchiante

 

 

The presentation was held by Prof. Vincenza d'Urso and researcher Kang Soon Haeng, both from the University of Ca' Foscari. Then, Bae Myung-hoon traveled to the University of Napoli "L'Orientale," whose original nucleus dates back to 1732 and is considered the oldest center for Sinology and Oriental Studies on the European continent. Here Prof. Andrea De Benedittis organised a morning lecture with his students.
In Bologna, the event was hosted by the first Korea Corner in Italy, led by Prof. Antonio Fiori, at Centro Amilcare Cabral with the partnership of La Confraternita dell'Uva, a local and independent bookshop with a very strong customer base.
In Milano, the author met Paolo Salom, a journalist from Corriere della Sera, one of the biggest newspapers in Italy, for an in-depth interview. After that, we went to Verso bookshop, where Prof. Giacomo Calorio and Prof. Antonio Paoliello from University Bicocca managed an entertaining and interesting presentation. In the audience, there was also a representative from the General Consulate of the Republic of Korea.

 

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Interview with Paolo Salom © add editore

 

 

In Torino, we were playing at home and hosted the presentation in our own bookshop, Libreria Bodoni, located in the very centre of the city and with a tradition of welcoming many international authors, from Don De Lillo to Xiaolu Guo. We reached the capacity limits of the room, having people sitting even on the staircase in order to listen to a presentation focused on sci-fi. Members of Mufant, a sci-fi museum, interviewed Bae Myung-hoon.

 

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Interview with members of Mufant Ⓒ add editore (left), Ⓒ Luisa Romussi - La grande invasione (right)

 

 

The final event was held at the literary festival La grande invasione in Ivrea, where our publishing house was the official guest of the 10th edition.

 

The book tour has been featured in several local and national newspapers. We created a social media campaign on Instagram and Facebook, involving creators to share, comment, and spread the news. It worked! Just this morning, I got a call from a bookseller: "A young client bought La Torre today, and she was so thrilled because the author has been touring Italy! She couldn't go to the presentation, but she was able to follow it live on Instagram and then came to buy it." The results were visible in the events: the rooms were always full, and the signing session was significantly busy. Two book clubs are about to start, and we're looking forward to more initiatives and publications from Bae Myung-hoon and other Korean authors.

 

 


Written by Ilaria Benini (Editor at add editore)

 

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Ilaria Benini (Editor at add editore)

#Italy#Korean Literature#Tower#Bae Myung-hoon#add editore
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