Lina Alushi has only 17 years. From 14 he is in Italy, today he lives in Novara. He participated in the competition Native language , a competition that wants to give voice to the stories of foreign women. And he won the Special Award Rotary Club Torino Mole Antonelliana.
Why did you take part in this competition?
My Italian teacher has decided to propose this competition, given my origins and my passion for writing. I thought it could be a great opportunity to express myself.
What prompted you to tell the story of your great-grandmother?
At first I thought of writing about anything else. Then, when I talked about this competition in the family, my mother suggested I talk about my great-grandmother's story. Actually, before I didn't know much about my family's affairs. The competition for me was an opportunity to learn more about my roots. Know at the same time the history of Albania and my family.
Have you intrigued your Italian friends and friends with your story?
My teacher asked me to read the story in front of my class. My companions were deeply surprised. Some have even cried. And then, everyone asked me more about Albania and my family. It was a very strong emotion, and made me very happy.
What was your reaction when you were told you had won the Special Rotary Club Award?
I absolutely didn't expect it: I just couldn't believe it!
Why did you win this award?
My story was judged to be the one that best conveyed the values of peace and tolerance.
Thank you very much, and good luck for the future!
We also spoke with Daniela Finocchi, creator of the competition.
How is the Lingua Madre contest born?
Lingua Madre is a sui generis competition: it is a permanent project of the Piedmont Region and the Salone del Libro, under the patronage of the European Commission. Born in 2005 to give voice to the stories of foreign women. It is open to all ages, to foreign women as well as to Italian women who see the diversity and the phenomenon of immigration with interest, it is basically free: it is simply a space for women to express their experiences, to know each other and confront each other.
Why really foreign women?
They are doubly discriminated: they are part of the world of women and of migrants at the same time. A previous winner of the competition very aptly explained our goal: we are afraid of the dark because it does not allow us to know what we have around us; it is the light of knowledge that makes us appreciate what surrounds us. Knowing the stories of foreign women means turning on the light in a world that is otherwise despised because it is not known in depth. And then women are the real new energy that our society will have to enhance, to change the current state of things.
What are the values that Lingua Madre expresses?
The fundamental value is the difference. And the comparison between different. We try to privilege the relationship between Italian and foreign women, and also a collaboration, above all in the case in which the foreign woman was not familiar with the language.
This competition has a remarkable collection of events, conferences and so on. Can you give us some examples?
Every year we organize about 100 events including conferences, meetings with authors, book presentations and so on. Furthermore a study group has been created to analyze the texts that arrive to our mailbox. The group consists of Italian and foreign scholars. There are so many ideas, and this study is bearing much fruit. The notice is presented everywhere: from schools to prisons. Now we also have a very interesting collaboration with AdaptLab, for the Turin Film Festival.
How many authors participate in the competition?
Almost 300 processed every year. There are also very young authors, even lower middle schoolers. A few years ago a twelve year old won! Now almost all the foreign writers who work in Italian publishing have come from here. It is a result of which we are very proud and satisfied.
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