Italian Literary Award Withheld from Fascist As Jewish Donor Protests

A major literary award to an Italian writer with a Fascist background was canceled today by the award jury under threat by the Olivetti Corporation to stop its annual contribution of $25,000 for the prizes if the award went through.

Arrigo Olivetti said “I did not veto anybody but only confirmed that, as an anti-Fascist and a Jew, I would have the corporation funds diverted to better causes” if Guido Piovene were selected for the principal $7,000 Viareggio Prize, for his book “The Furies.”

Piovene had been considered certain to win the award until the Olivetti ultimatum. The Olivetti official said that, as a publicist, Piovene had supported Mussolini’s anti-Jewish racial laws. The jury, embarrassed by the ultimatum, urged the writer to withdraw; but he refused, asserting that his political past, which he had not denied, was not a literary question. The jury, assigning the award to another entry, was reportedly considering resigning.

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