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Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia

Italy culture minister makes gaffe at top book prize event

Strega Prize won by the late Ada D'Adamo.

Italian culture minister Gennaro Sangiuliano is under fire after implying that he had not read the books shortlisted for the Strega Prize, Italy's top literary award, despite having voted.

During the award ceremony in Rome on Thursday night - which saw the recently deceased Ada D'Adamo win posthumously with her book Come d'aria - the event's presenter Geppi Cucciari asked the culture minister to say a few words.

"I have listened to the stories that are expressed in these shortlisted books this evening and they are all stories that captivate you and make you think" - Sangiuliano said -"I'll try to read them."

There followed an awkward silence, with a seemingly stunned Cucciari asking: "Ah... you....you didn't read them?"

Sangiuiliano then insisted that he had read the shortlisted books - "because I voted" - before stating that what he meant to say was that he wanted to "delve" into them.

"Beyond the cover, inside!", quipped Cucciari, before calling for a round of applause for the minister.

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