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Cassino, ITALY. June 2013.

Il Diario di Bobby Sands. Storia di un ragazzo irlandese (The Diary of Bobby Sands. The Story of an Young Irish Man) - by Silvia Calamati, Laurence McKeown and Denis O'Hearn –is the winner of the seventh International Award 'CITTA' DI CASSINO. LETTERATURE DAL FRONTE'.
The book, the Italian translation of I arose one morning. A Biography of Bobby Sands for Younger Readers by Denis O’Hearn and Laurence McKeown with photographs and additional materials by Silvia Calamati, is previously winner of the 2011 Alessandro Tassoni Award, Modena, Italy, for the book published in Italy that most represents the universal values of human rights.

The Italian Cultural Association LETTERATURE DAL FRONTE (Cassino) was set up in 2006 to continue the activities carried out by the 'Commiteee to remember the Battle of Monte Cassino'.

The Association LETTERATURE DAL FRONTE believes that nothing like a good novel, a good story, a good movie, is able to make a better portrait of an era or historical period. Nothing like culture is able to express the feelings, moods and conditions of the times in which we live.

The Association created a Literary Prize devoted to this kind of literature. The main events are held in the town of Cassino, internationally recognized as a 'martyr city of Europe', as a result of the war of 1943- 1944.

The title of the book that won the Seventh International City of Cassino Award 'LETTERATURE DAL FRONTE', dedicated this year to the Irish literature, was announced at a ‘nomination ceremony’ at the Pedagogical High School Varrone of Cassino, on May 23rd 2013.

Hundreds of students from high schools in four Italian cities (Rome, Trieste, Cassino and Pico), together with juries all over Italy (including two public libraries and a jury presided by the Trieste Association 'Radici e Futuro') gave the majority of their votes to The Diary of Bobby Sands by Silvia Calamati, Laurence McKeown, Denis O'Hearn (289 votes): a strong recognition to the life and the prison struggle of Bobby Sands and his comrades, who gave their lives for the freedom of Ireland and its people.
The writer-poet Seamus Heaney, winner of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature, whose collection of poems 'Fuori campo' has achieved considerable success in Italian schools, won second place (265 votes). The well-known Irish writer and poet, who could not attend the Nomination Ceremony, sent greetings to the Cassino students by videoconference and read out one of his most beautiful poems, The Tollund Man.
The other two Irish books in the competition were: "The Dead Republic" by Roddy Doyle (259 votes) and "The Star of the Sea" by Joseph O'Connor (224 votes).
The award ceremony will take place in Cassino, on October 19th 2013. Denis O’Hearn is Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University, State University of New York, and a Board Member of the Fernand Braudel Center for the Study of Economies, Historical Systems, and Civilizations. Laurence McKeown, a playwright and filmmaker, is a former hunger striker and political prisoner. Silvia Calamati is an Italian journalist and photographer.

The ruins of the City of Cassino after the battle (1944)

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