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The Women's Fiction Festival has established a literary prize, 'La Baccante'. Each year, Harlequin Mondadori, the Festival's main sponsor, awards the 'La Baccante' literary prize to an internationally renowned author of women's fiction in Italy and throughout the world.
The 'La Baccante' prize is itself a work of art by a rising local artist, Lela Campitelli.

The winner of the 2004 'La Baccante' prize
Maria VenturiThe first winner of the 'La Baccante' prize for best women's fiction was Maria Venturi, an Italian author known for her deeply emotional and original stories which add lustre to women's fiction in Italy. Maria Venturi is a writer, a journalist, op-ed journalis, All her books have been published by Rizzoli and BUR and are written - proudly - in a very accessible style. Her fifteen books fly off the shelves, have all been bestsellers and have been translated into Bulgarian, Rumanian and Polish. Her latest book, published by Rizzoli, is Butta la luna. Many of her books have been turned into blockbuster made-for-TV films and mini-series. The most recent is Incantesimo, now in its seventh year on the RAI channel.
These are just some of her books which have been filmed:
"Butta la luna", "L'amante è finita", "Chi perdona ha vinto", "Da quando mi lasciasti", "In punta di cuore", "Addio e ritorno", "La donna per legare il sole".

Maria Venturi maps out human emotions on both a grand and intimate scale, in her unique and unmistakeable literary voice, very down-to-earth yet never condescending or repetitive. Both Oreste del Buono and Italo Calvino appreciated her genuine literary talent.
Maria Venturi's fiction is in line with the best of English-language women's fiction, with a thoroughly Italian twist.

In Greek mythology, the Bacchantes represented wild, mystical, uncontrolled and ferocious rapture , culminating in the practice of cruel rites. The Bacchantes were the priestesses of the cult of Dionysus, the symbol of occult knowledge and - above all - the incarnation of the natural principle of the psyche, instinct. It is indeed that very natural principle which, when released, possesses the spirit and produces art, dance, music and song.
This jewel Bacchante is the embodiment of the exact poetic opposite, and is meant showcase the Bacchante as the symbol of women, highlighting the role of women in culture.
Indeed, is it not part of the very essence of woman, the holder of the secret of life, to be associated with instinct? In my own mind, the Bacchante became not only the custodian of the mysteries of the cult, but also the bearer of the seed, represented by the ogival-shaped stone in the belly, the seed that indeed is already blossoming in the folds of the tunic, turning the woman into a flower, a flower however capable of holding her own life in her hands.
The form of the circlet refers to the classic shape of a travelling mirror.
At the end of a long, personal journal leading to deep knowledge of self and through the prism of art, women reattain their proper place in history.

Lela Campitelli
Goldsmith artist
Laboratorio Materia


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