Literary history teaches of the existence of so-called bibliographies of the absurd, the most famous being that compiled by Rabelais in Gargantua and Pantagruel, which lists more than a hundred books belonging to the Library of the Abbey of St. Victor. Imaginary books, never printed by anyone, but which hint at the writing of the possible and infinite universes a text can generate. That shouldn't surprise anybody: in literature, the line between possibility and reality is always ephemeral, as Marcella Brancaforte and Marco Trulli, the artistic directors of Librimmaginari, the festival organized by the Viterbo branch of Arci (the Italian Recreation and Cultural Association) and dedicated to the promotion of high-quality picture books, know very well.
The peculiarity of this festival, and I would say its cultural value too, lies in the dedication of the time and care necessary to focus upon books and their influence, as well as workshops and performances organised with the help of local associations. It's a vertical festival, which, to the promotion of mainstream books prefers to take a deeper, multi-perspective approach, as shown by their decision to propose a different theme each year. In the fifth and most recent edition, held between March and May 2015, it was Avventure dello Sguardo, a wonderful title alluding to a desire to understand the journey and the landscape through imaginary maps created by artists of varying ages and backgrounds, including many promising young illustrators.
In this way, Librimmaginari is an event forged from convergences and synergies; not simply “a festival for children, aged between two and ninety”, as Marcella calls it, but also a container of experiences which attempt to recount alternative, visionary worlds through the power of drawings and words. In order for a book to exist it is sufficient that it be possible, wrote Borges; and if we then accompany it with pictures, we might even run the risk of making it real.
The story of Librimmaginari has been written by Giorgio Nisini, writer
A festival dedicated to the promotion of high-quality picture books. Based in Viterbo, it held its fifth edition in 2015.