Closure of the invitation to participate in our Prize provided the occasion for announcing the new chairman of the Gambrinus Giuseppe Mazzotti Literary Prize, elected on Tuesday 25 May during the first meeting of the new Management Committee.

Pier Francesco Ghetti will take the place of Roberto De Martin and remain in office until 2023. Ecologist and hydrobiologist, former Rector of Venice Ca’ Foscari University and Chair of the Centro internazionale Civiltà dell’Acqua, he is director of the Cà Foscari University Environmental Sciences Department.

Ghetti has a long-standing relationship with the Prize.  He won the XI edition in 1993 in the Ecology – Landscape section, with his book Manuale per la difesa dei fiumi, published by the Giovanni Agnelli Foundation, and he was also a member of the Prize Jury for some years.

10 May was the closing date for taking part with a literary work in the 2021 XXXIX Edition of the Gambrinus Giuseppe Mazzotti Literary Prize.

The huge participation in this year’s edition, 165 volumes submitted by 73 publishers, is an important sign that things are getting back to normal after the pandemic, which did not stop the Prize activities and the celebration of the 2020 edition. An excellent result, exceeded only by the 2016 edition (with a total of 186 volumes) that demonstrates the amount of interest in the issues linked to the multi-faceted vision of Giuseppe Mazzotti, which inspires the Prize dedicated to him.

The works received are distributed fairly evenly over the three sections competing this year: 52 for ‘Mountains: Culture and Civilisation’, 63 for ‘Exploration – Travel’ and 50 for ‘Window on the Triveneto Region.

The Jury called to examine the works comprises Margherita Azzi Visentini, Salvatore Giannella, Alessandro Vanoli, Alessandro Giorgetta and Domenico Luciani, who are joined this year by Benedetta Castiglioni, associate professor of Geography in the Padua University Department of History, Geography and Ancient History and for many years involved in research into the relationship between landscape and society, and Paola Gigliotti, lecturer in Sport and the Environment at Perugia University and competition doctor for the most important national and international summer and winter sports events held in Hochpustertal.

The Jury’s verdict will arrive at the end of October and the award ceremony will be held at Treviso, hopefully with everyone physically present.

On 28 March 1981, Giuseppe Mazzotti departed this life in the city he loved so well, where he had become one of the twentieth century’s protagonists of the province’s cultural life. He was an extraordinary personality, a true Renaissance Man whose interests embraced art, mountaineering, literature, landscape, photography, food and wine and a commitment to the community, coherently linked by his love for the Veneto land and culture and his city. “He has spoken, written and done. Let’s limit ourselves to recording the fact that he said, wrote or did certain things forty years in advance”: said journalist Gastone Favero in a video interview produced by the State TV (RAI) in 1972 to talk about Mazzotti’s passions and battles, in a conversation with friends such as Freya Stark, Toti del Monte, Andrea Zanzotto and Toni Benetton. His cultural sensitivity anticipated civil and cultural issues, still with us and still urgent, regarding the protection of Italy’s historic-artistic heritage and landscape seen as the result of the relationship between the environment and human intervention over time. Mazzotti’s sensitivity led him to acknowledge value and cultural dignity not just in works of art deemed as such, but also in crafts – so-called minor art – and in folklore, folk songs and culinary traditions. He was far-sighted in his intuition of the effects of exploiting the environment, particularly the mountain areas. Considering that this range of multifaceted interests was combined with outstanding skills in communicating and disseminating information through his books, articles, essays and photographs, the modernity of Giuseppe Mazzotti still stands out today. The Associazione Premio letterario Giuseppe Mazzotti was established immediately after his death, with the aim of rediscovering his relevance to our times and of continuing to transmit, particularly among the young, his thoughts, story and ‘civil battles’, by annually promoting a literary prize for works dealing with the issues that guided Mazzotti’s work and spirit.
On 16 April 2020 the famous Chilean writter Luis Sepùlveda died of coronavirus at Oviedo, Spain, at the age of 71; one of the great contemporary authors, he wrote hugely successful books that have been translated throughout the world.  Deeply sorry for his decease, we remember him with affection as our guest at San Polo for the award ceremony of the 1995 XIII edition of the Gambrinus Giuseppe Mazzotti Literary Prize, which he won in the 'Exploration - Travel' section with his book Patagonia Express, published by Feltrinelli.
The jury motivated its choice as follows: “A collection of twelve travel notes, milestones in a long itinerary through the solitude of Patagonia, by a narrator who epitomises the South American literary tradition and is also engaged in ecological battles".  
A man and writer who since then has increasingly shown himself to be in tune with the spirit and sensitivity of our Prize and of Mazzotti himself. Like him, a fighting spirit, passionate about the environment, life and people. 
On the same occasion, Adriano Zanotto, the Chef of Ristorante Parco Gambrinus, awarded him the 'Gambero d’Oro' (Golden Crayfish).
Antonio Beltrame, secretary to the Prize, remembers him:
«He was not yet so famous, although he had his fans.  I was struck by that Latin look of the south, that jovial way of speaking, his large, farmer's hands, the simplicity of a man of the people.  He came with the son of Inge Feltrinelli, his publisher at the time, and his book was presented by Lionello Puppi, who also interviewed him. He participated with enthusiasm: they talked about travel and civic battles, but above all about marginalisation and the environment: for him sustainability was a fixation, indeed he became a Greenpeace and Slow Food activist.  He repeatedly said that he felt like a farmer, not with a plough or spade, but rather for the landscapes in which he grew up.  He was enthusiastic about the Treviso countryside, particularly the Veneto villas, which he saw as a form of beauty alongside an agricultural economy.  In my memory remains his simplicity, his strong handshake to the members of the jury and audience, the wide smile of a man with a hunger for life. He moved the audience when, taking his leave, he paid tribute to his friend Chico Mendes, who he defined as "a man of few words and many actions", honouring his courageous battles to defend the Amazon and its population.  We can happily say that he shared a brief stretch of the road with us - something beautiful that gives meaning to our literary prize.
In Ecuador, in the protected reserve of the Otonga forest covering over two thousand hectares - an example of a green buffer zone in the heart of the Amazon - is situated the new Sendero Giuseppe Mazzotti. Extending for approximately two kilometres, it connects Otongachi with the Environmental Education Centre and its new visitors' centre.  This is a site where international scholars who are studying the local flora and fauna can stay while carrying out their studies and discovering new animal and vegetal species, as well as ecotourists who wish to visit the reserve. 
The Otonga Foundation, coordinated by entomologist Giovanni Onore (who was one of the speakers at the conference “Let's start taking the environment seriously” organised by the Gambrinus Giuseppe Mazzotti Prize at Asiago in 2019), has decided to dedicate the path to Giuseppe Mazzotti from Treviso.
The Associazione Premio Letterario Giuseppe Mazzotti believed in the project right from the start, in the secure knowledge that the motivations would have also excited its inspirator Mazzotti, truly an “ecologista ante litteram”. Onore mentioned the project he was planning during a conference dedicated to the Amazon, held at San Polo di Piave in 1992 (on the five hundredth anniversary of the discovery of America) and the Association immediately made a donation with which he was able to purchase the first 100 hectares of land.  Over the years the Association has organised several fund raising events; in 1998 it involved its partner Valcucine and since then it has guaranteed continuous support for Otonga, through the Bioforest Association.
The link between Fondazione Otonga and Premio Mazzotti is not just material support; they also share interests and ideals, inspired by Mazzotti himself.  This acknowledgement would not only have made him proud, but testifies to his commitment to the environment and its protection, long before ecology was recognised as a science.  Indefatigable and charismatic, in his circle of intellectual and artist friends Mazzotti counted brilliant, enlightened minds who had already formulated an ecological mindset and were personally opposed to consumption of the landscape, like the poet Andrea Zanzotto and traveller and writer Freya Stark.
The volume “TERRA. ULTIMA CHIAMATA“, edited by writer and journalist Salvatore Giannella is to be presented online. Published by Antiga Edizioni in October 2020, it is a compendium of the papers presented at the conference 'Mai più l’ambiente preso in giro' (Let's start taking the environment seriously), held at Asiago in September 2019 and organised by the Associazione Premio letterario “Gambrinus Giuseppe Mazzotti”.
The main theme of the conference was climate change and the challenge it represents for humanity; a challenge that will save us only through a radical change in our relationship with nature and between human beings. Many Italian and international speakers took part, including Luca Mercalli, Claudio Smiraglia, Richard Samson Odingo, Paola Favero, Paolo Spigariol, Giovanni Onore and Gianfranco Bologna, …
The presentation, which should have taken place live with an audience, was transmitted on the Fondazione Benetton Studi Ricerche online platform on 20 November 2020 and on 18 February 2021 on YouTube from the Tipoteca of the publisher Antiga Edizioni to students from the high schools in the province of Treviso.  All the higher secondary schools in the province have received a donation of three copies per class.