Prada Journal: winners revealed

Five winners of a contest inspired by the classic literary salon

Held last week at the Prada Epicenter on Broadway, New York City, the event revealed the winners of the Prada Journal literary contest. For the occasion, the Prada Epicenter was transformed into a modern "theater for conversation and exchange of ideas" inspired by the classic literary salon. Storytelling as a three-dimensional publishing experience.


Soundproof panels and a black carpet were used to create the optimal acoustic characteristics of an ideal reading environment. Several specifically studied interventions transformed the space from an acoustic viewpoint and, at the same time, created an extraordinary visual effect.


The lighting was conceived to be theatrical, dramatic, intimate, dark and warm. The contest was launched by Prada in collaboration with Giangiacomo Feltrinelli on April 18, 2013, and new talents from all over the world have taken part. The creative challenge was taken up by 1,313 people who sent in their manuscripts in response to a question by Prada Journal: "What is the reality our eyes see? And how is this reality filtered by lenses?"


Mattia Conti, Leisl Egan, Angel Mario Fernández, Sarah Harris Wallman and Peng Yang are the five winners of the contest and they will receive a cash prize of 5000 euros. By the end of 2013, Prada and Feltrinelli will publish the selected stories in an e-book that can be downloaded free from the website.


In a world of images, Prada emphasizes the strength of words. Words brought into focus by the lenses of the Journal vision collection. Eyewear that becomes a favorite tool for exploring surroundings and expressing them in words. The evening began at 7 pm when the winners' stories were read by Jonathan Ames, Zoe Kazan, Anthony Mackie, Jay McInerney and Gary Shteyngart. Oliver Platt was the presenter and the cocktail party that followed was animated by DJ Jeffrey Tonnesen. Guests included Mamie Gummer, Paul Dano, Giovanna Battaglia, Zani Gugelmann, Christopher Bollen, Sofia Sanchez Barrenchea, Jessica Joffe, Meredith Melling, Michael Avedon, Valerie Boster and Olivier Rizzo.


The winners in detail:


Gli occhi di Malrico (Malrico's eyes) – Mattia Conti

Malrico Is shortsighted, so shortsighted that he can't see much further than the end of his nose. Even the glasses with very thick lenses that his mother strived to give him were not of any help. Then Teresa appeared. She could only see things in the distance and inexplicably they became friends for the only reason that they complemented each other. The saga begins during the main character's preadolescence and continues to his old age; it is a story that hangs by a thread and although it is short it succeeds in telling a life story. Mattia Conti was born in 1989 and lives in Molteno in the province of Lecco. In 2011 he won the Campiello Giovani Award.


Punch line - Leisl Egan

Moptop, Poxy, Vladimir and Big Cheese: a group of clowns that puts on shows that no longer excite anyone. The tragic situation is made worse by Moptop's attacks of melancholy and the arrival of Moondust whose innovative exhibitions puts all the protagonists in the shade. A story of dignity and lost love in which this ramshackle group of comedians tries desperately to show its public astounding reality. They soon discover that there is no show more touching than reality itself, seen and filtered through the unique and powerful lens that makes it memorable: the heart. Leisl Egan was born in 1980. She lives in Melbourne, Australia, where she writes for television.


Juan se fue a las estrellas (Juan has gone to the stars) - Angel Mario

Fernández Carlitos is six and can't find his brother, Juan. When he asks his mother where he is, she tells him that thanks to a pair of wings Juan has flown up to Heaven. Confused and full of questions, Carlitos passes the time wondering where his brother has gone, if he is alone and if he really has arrived up there. It is the start of a compassionate journey in search of the road to the stars. Balanced between ingenuity and affection, Carlitos crosses the woods behind his house to find the secret passage that might take him to his brother. Angel Mario Fernández was born in Argentina in 1959. He lives and works in Soraluze in the Basque Country, an autonomous community of Spain.


One car hooks into the next and pulls - Sarah Harris Wallman

A train runs along its tracks and observes the passengers getting on and off. A silent, disenchanted commentator on human behavior. His eyes see and record everything outside the windows, even his passengers' most intimate moments, specifically those of an elegant woman and a businessman. A reflection on the fickleness of relationships as seen through eyes that are not human but are fully aware of the pettiness of human errors. Sarah Harris Wallman was born in 1978 and is a university professor and writer. She lives in Connecticut, where she teaches at Albertus Magnus College.


Gray story – Peng Yang

A strange thunderstorm and an abandoned newborn baby. This is the start of a story punctuated with visionary descriptions, the exchange of letters and news items. A synthesis of different eyes that follow the life of this child who was born dumb but is remarkable at using his hands to make all sorts of animals and figures. The hands that punctuate shadow plays are given the task of opening the eyes of others by moving elegantly through the languor of a rural setting where we find a boat at anchor in a river, night lanterns, bamboo canes and a cobalt blue moon. Peng Yang was born in 1984. He lives in Beijing where he graduated at the Academy of Cinema. He is a writer.