With 143 votes, La scuola cattolica (The Catholic School) by Edward Albinati (Rizzoli) has won the seventieth edition of the Premio Strega.
La scuola cattolica is a monumental work of one thousand-three hundred pages in which Albinati recounts the 1970s, starting from the years spent at a private school in the Trieste district of Rome, also attended by the authors of the notorious “Delitto del Circeo”, a widely covered crime committed in 1975 that shocked the whole country, that serves as a means to explore the world as a whole, focusing on key issues such as Catholic education, the Italian bourgeoisie, the relationship between males and females, the institution of the family, adolescence, sex, violence; money, friendship, revenge. Mixing real people with fictional characters, legendary teachers, priests, thugs, little geniuses and psychopaths, enigmatic young girls and terrorists, Albinati builds a powerful and unstoppable narrative that courageously and openly address the great questions of life and history, as well as showing the other side of things.
I consider myself merely the editor of this book. I thank those who gave me the idea of writing it, those who had to reread it and my publisher Rizzoli who decided to publish it when I thought of abandoning it.
Albinati was born in Rome in 1956 where he still lives and teaches literature at the city’s Rebibbia prison, an experience he writes about in his diary Maggio selvaggio (Wild May) published by Mondadori in 1999. Among his most recent books published in Italy is Vita e morte di un ingegnere (The Death and Life of an Engineer) published by Mondadori in 2012 and now available in the Rizzoli Vintage series.