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Book Club


L’Arte della Gioa (The Art of Joy) – The new IIC Book Club on the cult novel by Goliarda Sapienza

The Italian Cultural Institute is pleased to present a series of 5 meetings dedicated to Goliarda Sapienza’s novel L’Arte della Gioia (The Art of Joy). The Book Club is organised by the IIC to celebrate the 100th anniversary from the writer’s birth. The novel has just been adapted to the screen by Italian director and actress Valeria Golino in the series L’Arte della Gioia, casting Tecla Insolia and presented this year at the Cannes Film Festival.

The Art of Joy tells the gripping story of Modesta, a young girl in early 20th century Sicily who embarks on a journey of self-discovery, driven by a desire for a better life.

Born poor and trapped in a difficult life, Modesta – a name that sounds like a social condemnation – struggles to stand out. Having escaped a fire in which her parents and sister perish, she is taken into a nuns’ convent. But wherever she goes, the unscrupulous Modesta brings upheaval and revolution, driven by a desire to break free from the oppression of a life that others have decided for her.

Join the IIC Book Club to discover more about the figure of Goliarda Sapienza and read together in English and Italian the most beautiful pages of her book, as a masterpiece recently re-discovered by the critics.

Soon we will publish the complete program of the meetings.

Facilitator: Gaia Pasini, winner of MAECI scholarship to work at the Italian Cultural Institute. She is a graduand student in the Master’s degree Italian Language and Culture for Foreigners at the University of Bologna (Italy). She has been studying the works of Goliarda Sapienza and has passion and knowledge to communicate the Italian literature to an international audience.

When: Choose between Tuesday afternoon and Thursday evening sessions:
Tuesdays from 2pm to 3.30pm
Wednesdays from 5.30pm to 7.00pm
Dates: July 30th and 31st, August 13th and 14th, August 20th and 21st, August 27th and 28th, September 3rd and 4th

$150 for the whole series (Non-members)
$130 for the whole series (IIC members)

To sign up for the Book Club, send an email to:

What about the books?
Materials and handouts will be provided by the facilitator at each meeting.
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch for assistance.