18 May-22 June 2006. This fifth edition of the world class literature festival sees an impressive line-up of internationally reknowned writers who stand on the magnificent stage at the Basilica di Massenzio and read their work. This year, the programme boasts two Nobel laureates the South African Nadine Gordimer and Portugals Jos Saramago as well as a rich offering of international best sellers and emerging writers. Last years edition saw the participation of 40,000 spectators and a full house at almost every reading. The novelty this year is represented by a new formula in which many authors will find themselves face-to-face with other authors with whom they have something in common. Thus, the best-selling Italian, Erri De Luca will be on stage with the Catalan writer Javier Crcas, Susanna Tamaro with Sandra Cisneros, Alessandro Baricco with Dave Eggers. Opening the festival this year is John Irving who shot to fame in 1978 with The World According to Garp. Other big names coming up are those of Richard Ford, Alan Hollinghurst, Arturo Prez-Reverte, Zadie Smith and many more. Tickets are free but must be picked up an hour or so before the performance in front of the entrance to the Basilica di Massenzio in Via dei Fori Imperiali. For information tel. 0668134697, www.festivaldelleletterature.it
Festival Internazionale di Filosofia di Roma. 11-14 May. This is the first edition of an event organised by the Fondazione Musica Per Roma in conjunction with city authorities and a new association of philosophy and human sciences scholars. The theme of the festival, which aims to become one of the citys most important annual events, is Instability, in all of its philosophical, scientific, artistic, religious, political, and sociological declinations. Over 40 different events make up the programme of the four-day festival with lessons, lectures, round-tables, performances and concerts.