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Slightly More Than Expected from a Band of Novelists: On How and Why a Group of Writers Called Wu Ming Set to Disrupt Italian (nay, European) Literature and Popular Culture (and then Came to Boston to Brag About It)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008 @ 5:15 pm - 6:00 pm EDT

Wu Ming 1 is a founding member and representative of the Wu Ming Foundation, a collective of writers from Italy. Most members of the collective were deeply involved in the Luther Blissett Project, an international experiment in culture jamming, radical pranksterism and guerrilla mythology that ran from 1994 to 1999. During that time, a group of LBP activists wrote a controversial novel titled Q, which was published to much acclaim in 1999. In January 2000 the authors of Q founded the Wu Ming Foundation, which takes its name from a Chinese word meaning either “anonymous” or “five names” depending on how the first syllable is pronounced. The name is meant both as a tribute to dissidents (“Wu Ming” is a common byline among Chinese citizens demanding democracy and freedom of speech) and as a refusal of the celebrity-making machine which turns authors into stars.

Wu Ming’s works include 54, a novel with dozens of characters (including Cary Grant and Marshall Tito) set in 1954; the screenplay for Guido Chiesa’s movie Radio Alice (2004); and numerous “solo” novels, including Wu Ming 1’s New Thing (2004). They have also collaborated with musicians, actors, comic authors, playwrights, film-makers, graphic artists and academics in a plethora of multimedia and transmedia projects.

The group’s most recent novel, Manituana, was published in Italy in March of 2007. It is the first episode of an 18th-century pan-Atlantic trilogy which will keep them writing at least until 2012. Manituana reached as high as #4 in the Italian bestseller charts, and translation rights have been purchased by French and Spanish publishers. Manituana is also at the center of a complex transmedia project which is briefly described at http://www.wumingfoundation.com/english/giap/giapdigest36.htm. All of their books are freely downloadable from their website, http://www.wumingfoundation.com.

Event open only to the MIT Community.

Funded (in part) by a Director’s Grant from the Council for the Arts at MIT.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008
5:15 pm - 6:00 pm EDT


MA United States