The Ostana Prize is a literary, translation, music and cinema prize dedicated to the mother tongues of the world, regardless of their number of speakers or the size of their territory. For 2024, the awardees are: Koumarami Karama (Dioula language, Burkina Faso) – Special Prize; Firat Cewerî (Kurdish language, Turkey) – International Prize; Stefen Dell’Antonio Monech (Lagin language, Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy) – Historical Language Minorities in Italy Prize; Daniel Petrilă (Romani language, Romania) – Youth Prize; Jayde Will (Latgalian language, Latvia) – Translation Prize; Michèle Stenta (Occitan language, France) – Occitan Prize; Arnold De Boer “Zea” (Frisian Language, The Netherlands) – Music Prize; Roger Williams (Welsh Language, United Kingdom) – Cinema Prize. Eight categories for eight artists who, each accompanied by a tutor, will spend the 28th, 29th and 30th June in Ostana together with the participants of the festival in an atmosphere of exchange and convivéncia (the Occitan medieval art of “cohabitating together in harmony”).

Ines Cavalcanti, Artistic Director of the Ostana Prize, states: “This year too, the Ostana Prize has succeeded in its aim of bringing eight artists to the festival, awarded in diverse categories, who represent the sum of creative actions towards the promotion of “endangered languages”, term defined by UNESCO. The fire indeed still glows beneath embers, and it can be revived thanks to the “breath” of all those who will participate in the three days of the Prize”.

The programme and the stories of the awardees for 2024

Koumarami Karama - Premio specialeThe Ostana Prize has always celebrated artistic production in native languages in any form: from poetry to prose, from music to cinema, from art to translation. The Special Prize of the 2024 edition goes to Koumarami Karama, a young multifaceted artist from Burkina Faso who, both with her authorial and dramaturgical work and with her research work, contributes to keeping her mother tongue, Dioula, alive and active. Actress, theater director, playwright, Karama was born in 1984 in Naniagara, in the Cascade region. With her texts in Dioula she deals with the defense of the original Burkinabé values ​​and how they can live and dialogue in the contemporary world, with constant food for thought on gender relations: she reconciles profound African values ​​with a modernity that enhances female emancipation and favors raising awareness of the problem of terrorism in the country. In the theatrical field she is recognised as an actress, playwright and director: she has twice obtained the first prize of the prestigious RITLAMES of Ougadougu, Burkina Faso, a theater festival aimed at native languages ​​(Rencontres internationales de théâtre en langues maternelles). The 2024 Special Prize is awarded to her in recognition of her dramaturgical research and for her social activism within the Dioula world. Koumarami Karama will be the protagonist of a conversation and theatrical walk on Sunday 30th June at 10h: “N’tséé: I have the power to do” curated by Oliviero Vendraminetto, in the company of the Collective of musician-artists of the Ostana Prize.

Firat Ceweri - Premio internazionaleLanguage as conciliation, therefore, but also as a form of resistance: two common threads that unite the production of the artists that the Ostana Prize has hosted in these sixteen years. In fact, to receive the 2024 International Prize, Ostana is counting on Firat Cewerî: he is a writer, translator, journalist, publisher and innovator in modern Kurdish literature. He began writing poetry in Kurdish as a teenager, when he moved with his family to Nişebin (Nusaybin), where he joined the revolutionary movement and founded a cultural association with some friends. In 1980, Firat Cewerî had to leave the country and settled in Sweden. In the same year he published his first book and was involved in Kurdish literary movements and activities. At the beginning of the nineties he founded the magazine Nudem (New Times), published for ten years in a row, something which played a fundamental role in the development and resistance of Kurdish literature, encouraging new writers to write in their native language. He has also translated into Kurdish numerous works of world literature. Since spring 2023 he has been guest editor of the Swedish international magazine PEN/Opp, which gives space to writers and journalists who are not allowed to publish in their home countries. Firat Cewerî’s novels and short stories have been translated into Swedish, German, Italian, Arabic, Turkish, Persian and the Sorani dialect (Iraqi Kurdish variant). To date he has published five novels: the last, “Ez ê yekî bikujim” was translated into Italian with the title “Il Matto, la Prostituta e lo Scrittore” by Francesco Marilungo for the publishing house Calamaro Edizioni (2022). Firat Cewerî is rewarded for his commitment and determination to promote Kurdish in all its richness, in particular in the variant spoken in Turkey: Kurmanji. In a historical, cultural and political context like the Kurdish one, where the defense of one’s own language clashes with the attempt by the dominant powers to limit it, Firat Cewerî, even from exile, has never stopped caring for his people, contributing to the dissemination and development of his own language and literature, writing and publishing poems, short stories, novels, translating works of world literature into Kurdish, working assiduously to promote publishing in the Kurdish language.
Cewerî will be in Ostana on Saturday 29th June at 17.15h, in a conversation with Aldo Canestrari entitled “I am sick with a literary virus: my language is my refuge“.

Daniel Petrila - Premio giovaniPoetry and translation, after all, are fundamental allies in the battle for the survival of mother tongues, and many authors, even young ones, are strenuously committed to this fight, keeping the embers of their mother tongues alive. This is the case of Daniel Samuel Petrilă: born in 1993 in Salonta, Bihor county (Romania), he is a Romanian poet and translator of Roma origin. Born to a Roma mother and Romanian father, Daniel lived his childhood in a traditional Roma community where Romani was spoken on a daily basis. At 19 he began publishing poems in “Adolescenţa Tini”, the magazine of the National College “Arany Janos” from Salonta. In parallel with his poetic and literary activity, Daniel graduated from the University of Bucharest in Roma Language and Literature and he works in the field of linguistics, in particular Roma linguistics. His most important publication in this field is the Dialect Dictionary of the București Roma language in 2019. Today Daniel is an important and recognised voice of the young Romanian Roma intellectual world, currently coordinating the online magazine “Rromano Vak” (Voice of the Roma), and organizes the international literary creation and translation competition “Bronisława Wajs”. He receives the Ostana Youth Award for his commitment and for his already consolidated role as a point of reference in the Roma intellectual world. The spreading of writing, in a context in which the illiteracy rate remains high among the population, represents the tangible hope for bridging the socio-cultural gap and allowing Roma people to access better social conditions.
Young Romani poetry: writing to overcome the shame” is the title for the conversation he will have with Marco Ghezzo, scheduled for Saturday 29th June at 14.30h.

Arnold de Boer - Premio composizione musicaleAs per tradition, the Ostana Prize dedicates a section to musical composition, and the 2024 edition has the opportunity to welcome an exceptional artist: Arnold De Boer, aka “Zea“, singer and guitarist since 2009 of the legendary Dutch underground band The Ex. In 2011, Arnold De Boer’s life was turned upside down by a tragedy: the death of his mother, at a very young age, from cancer. In a moment of great pain, the inspiration to return to writing came in the language that he had always shared with her, his mother tongue in the literal sense of the term, and so he began to write texts in Frisian. First in 2017 and then in 2021, he released two entire albums in Frisian which were very well received internationally. His compositions in the Frisian language are personal, intimate and direct, his lyrics are poetic; and language plays an absolutely central role: language as a source, as a wall, as a weapon, as time, as history, language as a musical form. For this reason De Boer works both on his own texts and on compositions by other Frisian writers, poets and songwriters. Over the last twenty years, Arnold De Boer has performed in more than forty countries on all continents and it is remarkable that wherever he goes, he now sings mostly in Frisian. For his artistic, linguistic and cultural activism, he founded a record label with which he promotes his work of spreading Frisian but also music and languages ​​from all over the world. The Ostana Prize wants to recognise his use of his native language in music, which is expressed in a great attention to contemporaneity, sensitive to history, with an intelligent and communicative style. He is recognised for his ability to be cross-cutting, his praise of multilingualism, his awareness that each language expresses something unique and that this uniqueness, within the multitude, must be preserved, innovated, vitalised, because, as Arnold says, “growing up speaking more than one language is an antidote against mental rigidity.
On Saturday 29 June at 21h he will have a conversation with Flavio Giacchero; followed by an Evening “en convivéncia” with the musicians-artists of the Ostana Prize.

Roger Williams - Premio cinemaMultilingualism, after all, is truly a bridge that allows us to live in multiple worlds, and Roger Williams knows this well: he is an award-winning Welsh writer and producer who works in both Welsh and English. He has written and produced numerous feature films in Welsh: his latest work, Y Sŵn (2023) won the BAFTA Cymru award for best feature film in 2023 and received a nomination for the “Broadcast and Celtic Media Festival awards”. In the film, Williams recounts the troubled political struggle of Gwynfor Evans, who fought for the creation of the S4C television channel entirely in Welsh: a real story that came to directly affect politics across the Channel, led by Margaret Thatcher, between 1979 and 1980. In this year’s Ostana Prize he receives the Cinema Award for the value of his work in recounting the political struggle for the affirmation of the Welsh language in the television world and for his ability to speak to the new generations: those who speak a minority language need to appear in the media and for this reason it is necessary to give them space and representation in it.
Cinema, TV and new media: the Welsh experience” is the title of the conversation, hosted by Antonello Zanda, Director of the Babel Film Festival, which is scheduled for Friday 28th June at 20.45h. The conversation will be followed by a screening of the film Y Sŵn (2023, 89 minutes).

Jayde Will - Premio traduzioneTranslation is undoubtedly another of the fundamental pillars of the Ostana Prize, a crucial tool for the preservation of mother tongues. The 2024 Translation Prize aims to pay homage to Jayde Will’s vast work and great contribution to the dissemination of knowledge of literature in the Latgalian language, the most distinct dialect of Latvian language spoken mainly in Latgale, in the eastern part of Latvia. Born in Nebraska, US, Jayde Will moved to Estonia in the late 1990s, where he earned a Master’s Degree in Fenno-Ugric Linguistics from the University of Tartu. Since 2007 he has translated almost 30 books, from the history of Lithuania to Latvian poetry. Ever since he became interested in Latgalian in 2018, Jayde Will has set out to bring new Latgalian poetry, which broke with the conservatism of Catholicism and an insistent Soviet past, to the attention of a European and global audience. In 2020, the anthology “The Last Model. Padejais models” was published by Francis Boutle Publishers: a collection of poems by Ligija Purinaša, Raibīs and Ingrida Tārauda and the first English translation of Latgalian literature. His translations appear in collections and anthologies; the essays, stories and poems he translated have been widely published in literary and lifestyle magazines, including Words Without Borders and the Italian The Passenger, published by Iperborea. At Ostana he will receive the Translation Prize for the great effort made in valorising Latgalian and making it equal to the other languages ​​of Latvia. Through the bilingual anthology “The last model, padejais models”, Will made the spirit of three young Latvian poets available to a wide, English-speaking audience, bringing the writers of a minority that remained invisible back to the center of the Latvian public debate in the eyes of many, marking a turning point in the recent history of this country’s literature.
At Ostana he will be in conversation with Mariona Miret on Saturday 29th June at 11.30 am.

Michele Stenta - Premio lingua occitanaFor obvious reasons, the Occitan language has always had a special place at the Ostana Prize and for the 2024 edition the Occitan language Prize will be received by Miquèla Stenta. Born in 1945 in Sète (in the Hérault department in Occitania), Miquèla Stenta has dedicated her entire career to Occitan: as a teacher of Occitan, she continues to pass on her love for the language; as a researcher, she has conducted important research on the ‘troubadour’ tradition, on the values ​​of courtly society before the Albigensian Crusade and on the role and life of women in the Occitan world in the 12th and 13th centuries. She has published works on medieval literature and society, created concerts on troubadours and trobairitz and helped great texts of the Occitan Middle Ages such as Flamenca and the Canço de la Crosada be diffused and known. In her career of over fifty years, Miquèla Stenta has cultivated a way of thinking with both a historical perspective and a contemporary flavour, giving new life to the study and diffusion of the great Occitan tradition. She is involved in cultural activism within the Institut d’Estudis Occitans.
In Ostana she will be in conversation with Gisèle Naconaski, on Friday 28th June at 5pm, for a meeting entitled “Female writing and worldview: from Medieval “fin’amor” to contemporary Occitan literature“.

Stefen DellAntonio Monech - Premio minoranze linguistiche storiche in italiaThis year too, the Ostana Prize offers an in-depth analysis of a historical Italian linguistic minority: Stefen Dell’Antonio Monech receives a prize for his notable commitment to the promotion and dissemination of the Ladin language through literature, music and theatre. Stefen is a multifaceted artist who makes daily life an active testimony of his identity, linking it to the care of the territory and translating it into literary art: an “om da mont” (“mountain man”) who has made the Ladin language and identity a job – today he is a naturalistic mountain and cultural guide – who knows how to be an incentive for future generations. He writes lyrics for songs and nursery rhymes, plays, art, history and ethnography books, teaching tools for schools, prose and poems. He creates educational material and cultural programs for radio and television. He is one of the founders of the Sedimes theater group and a member of the Ladin literary group Scurlins, with whom he organised numerous editions of the Dis de Letradura, an inter-Ladin festival dedicated to the languages ​​of the Dolomites. The Award is intended to recognise Stefen Dell’Antonio Monech also for the numerous Mascherèdes, “domestic” theatrical farces in use during the carnival between the towns of Alba and Penia, in the upper Val di Fassa.
Ladin in Val di Fassa: following the footprints of tomorrow” is the title of the conversation he will be having with Sabrina Rasom, scheduled for Saturday 29th June, at 10h.

The Ostana Prize and the Babel Film Festival from Cagliari, Sardinia, have collaborated for years to bring about the cinema section. They share experiences between Sardinia and the Occitan Valleys of Italy: every year, the Babel Film Festival, directed by Antonello Zanda, Tore Cubeddu and Paolo Carboni, is responsible for proposing the name of a director who will receive the Cinema Prize at Ostana. Premio Ostana, in turn, participates in the Babel Film Festival for the proposal of the Italymbas Award, and awards a film in a minority language. The winning film of the Italymbas 2024 Award is “L’ultima Habanera” (“The Last Habanera”) by Carlo Costantino Licheri, which will be screened on Saturday 29th June at 16.15h.

The Awards Ceremony of the 16th edition of the Ostana Prize will be held on Sunday 30th June starting from 14h. During the award ceremony – which will be presented by Paola Bertello – various artistic performances will alternate with the authors’ appearances, curated by: Paola Bertello, Flavio Giacchero, Luca Pellegrino, Marzia Rey and Mariona Miret.

The complete programme of activities of the Ostana Prize is available and constantly updated on the website As always, the meetings are open to everyone and free of charge.