Have you ever been to a borderland? I was born in the exact center of our peninsula. The pass of my country (Rionero Sannitico, known for the historical surrender of Girardengo exactly 100 years ago) marks the end of the Central Apennines and the beginning of the Southern Apennines. In short, born in the center of Italy, I chew little of borders. The editors of Manaròt magazine, a new Italian literary magazine that we have selected for ours Secret Mag Club of June.

Manaròt is a strange creature, who however lets himself be loved. Daughter of a territory that has shaped it, between Trentino and Alto Adige / Südtirol, it brings back in its pages with essential graphics all the cultural contaminations, hybridizations and creative chaos that only border areas know.
Nicolò Tabarelli and Davide Gritti tell us about their editorial project, including funny anecdotes and literary forays.

Nicolò, Davide, how would you describe MANARÒT to those who don't know you?
MANARÒT is a literary magazine that, starting from Trentino Alto-Adige Südtirol, is proposed to an Italian and European panorama. We define it atesina (ie relative to the Adige river), an operational definition that is useful for keeping the provinces of Bolzano and Trento together. We want to link these two provinces because MANARÒT's basic ambition is to be a link between Italian and European beginners, in particular with those from the German-speaking area. How much the Central European spirit really passes from this direction is something that we too are gradually discovering. Trento and Bolzano are forty minutes away by train, but it seems that there is not much dialogue between the "scenes" of the two cities, which are very fertile at the moment. We are among the first to try to do by trait d’union, at least in the context of fiction. More simply, MANARÒT is a place where young beginners meet and, to paraphrase one of our authors, “try to bring Italian fiction to 2021”.

If I'm not mistaken "manaròt" is a term borrowed from the Trentino dialect which means "ax". Why this name for a literary magazine?
there he wanted to call it Fasoi, beans, but Davide blocked him immediately. For a while, the question of the name faded away until "manaròt" came up, one of the few words in the Trentino dialect that we knew (we both came to Trento to study and we both grew up in Lombardy). We liked the sound immediately, although many readers and the Fragile collective they pronounce "manarò", in French. We liked even more that the ax could symbolize the break we are trying to bring. A break with the style in which fiction magazines seem to be conducted in Italy. Finally, it was an absolutely new and useful name for online indexing (although we soon discovered the existence of Mia Manarote, a Czech porn actress, who has better SEO than ours).

MANARÒT gives space and voice to young Atesian writers, seven in total. You are very attached to regionalism, yet this does not seem to constitute a limit, quite the contrary. Tell us about this choice and if we can talk about an Atesian literature.
Good fiction is universal (or should be). No one would ever say that telling about a provincial town, nicknamed the “brick city”, known above all for its container traffic, could be interesting. Yet Newark is the centerpiece of Philip Roth's work. It doesn't matter which places are told, if the prose is good and the themes are universal, you can write about and from any province of the empire. The link with regionalism is given above all by our personal roots in the area and by the desire to focus on authors who refer to Trentino-Alto Adige / Südtirol, but it is never a localistic retreat. Whether we can really talk about an Atesian literature is the main question of the second issue.

How were the authors of the first issue selected? Is there a common thread that binds the stories?
The authors and female authors have been selected in the most disparate ways, drawing on a pool of young, new or unpublished writers. Riccardo Micheloni had been within a few degrees of separation from us for years, even if we did not know him personally. Flavio Pintarelli was a friend of Nicolò on Facebook even though they had never sent each other a message. From Flavio we received a list with the most interesting names in the Bolzano area and that was a great way to get to know Maddalena Fingerle. Daria De Pascale was found by Davide by scanning several Italian lit blogs. Alessandro Monaci is a militant colleague in the editorial staff of CTRL Magazine.

To link the stories we use three tools. The first is the theme, which we recount in the "censuses" (the name we have given to ours call). In the census we undertake to write an article pouring out the elements of inspiration from the number and the stimuli of the period. In this way we try to create an access point to our imagination. Our authors have so far been very good at using this passage, even if everyone combines what they want and there are also those who completely overturn it.
The second is editing, which we operate for the benefit of the individual story and the author, but having a clear broader perspective. During the final phase, however, the most important element is the index. We try to create references, playing on the different registers and creating narrative layers or levels. This is the mix and mastering of the magazine.

manarot magazine

Not just text, in the heart of MANARÒT we find photographic plates from 1921, which represent the first visit of the Italian sovereigns to Trento, reworked by Michael Zemel. An almost dreamlike project that personally, as a lover of vintage photos and artistic / cultural / temporal contaminations, I really appreciated. Why this deviation from the word to the image?
Words and images in MANARÒT are two parallel journeys. The idea of a photographic insert was born from the practical need to lighten a magazine that already asks a lot of the reader (each issue always contains seven "short" stories, on average around ten pages), which has quickly transformed into an alternative investigation additive on the theme of each issue. In this case the photographs, of the Trentino historical museum foundation, they are archival material in themselves, part of a NACHLASS, and this might already be enough. But we were interested in integrating digital and analog and we asked Michael Zemel, Israeli but a graduate of RUFA in Rome, to apply one of the most digital techniques that exist, the creative coding. The photos themselves are not beautiful, but as you say they are dreamlike and evocative as needed.

Ritual question: why a paper magazine, or rather proudly paper, as you have declared, in an era dominated by digital?
Although we are not immune to the charm of the editorial object as such, the real reason is that, in our opinion, the format of the book (or in this case of the magazine) is the technology better to enjoy long stories, as we want them in MANARÒT. The question remains whether, in absolute terms, it makes sense to write fiction in 2021, but we prefer not to ask ourselves this question.

Any anticipation on the second issue?
It's another bomb. It comes out on July 15th. It will be in the Frabs shop. Run to buy it!

July 02, 2021 — Anna Frabotta

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