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Turin book fair boycott row over Salvini's far-right publisher

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Turin book fair boycott row over Salvini's far-right publisher
Books for sale at last year's Turin fair. Photo: AFP
17:46 CEST+02:00
Publishers are boycotting the famous Turin book fair over the presence of the neo-fascist publisher of Italian deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini's new book.

Several participants have already pulled out of the festival, and the director of the Auschwitz museum is leading calls for the Turin Book Fair to rescind the invitation to the event, which opens on Thursday.

League leader Salvini caused controversy when he chose Altaforte, a publishing house with close links to neo-fascist CasaPound, to publish his new book “Io Sono Matteo Salvini, intervista allo specchio” (“I am Matteo Salvini, interview with the mirror.”)

The book is set for publication on the day the Turin book fair opens.

League leader Matteo Salvini's book will be published on the opening day of the festival. Photo: AFP

The Altaforte publishing house's output includes books on fascism, including one cowritten by Benito Mussolini, the Italian fascist dictator.

Francesco Polacchi, the director of the Altaforte publishing house, is a member of the neo-fascist CasaPound party.

Polacchi told the Ansa news agency on Monday: "I'm a Fascist. Antifascism is the real ill of this country.

in a letter to the organising committee, Piotr Cywinski, director of the museum at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death. appealed to the organisers to withdraw the invitation to Altaforte.

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"We cannot ask the survivors to share the space with those who question the historical facts that led to the Holocaust, with those who re-propose a fascist idea of society." wrote Cywinski, himself a Holocaust survivor.

While several writers and publishers have protested the decision to invite Altaforte, not all of them agree with a boycott.

Publisher Stefano Mauri said he "preferred to fight ignorance with good books".

Turin's mayor Chiara Appendino, a member of the Five Star Movement which forms the ruling coalition government along with Salvini's party, also opposed a boycott.

"We will certainly not abandon the field, because ideas are fought with stronger ideas," she said in a Facebook post.

However, the city government of Turin and the regional government of Piedmont issued a complaint to police on Tuesday asking prosecutors to weigh whether Altaforte was guilty of apology of Fascism, a crime in postwar Italy.

Asked about the affair on Tuesday, Salvini said "culture comes from everywhere".

Salvini previously published an autobiograpy in 2016, copies of which were destroyed by protestors when he visited the city of Bologna to campaign for his party, then known as The Northern League.

The Turin book fair is one of the biggest events in the Italian publishing calendar.

 
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