On Tuesday, 17th March, Lottie Kent won the 2015 Ithaka Prize for her IB extended essay on the Italian writer Italo Calvino and English novelist David Mitchell.
For copyright reasons, Portsmouth Point is not able to publish the essay until the certification of the IB results this summer. However, here is Lottie's own summary of the focus of her prize-winning essay.
"At the time it was published, Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities was a pioneering work of contemporary fiction. Its themes and structures have been seen echoed in a multitude of later literature, not least in the work of David Mitchell.
In particular, both authors seem fascinated with the distinctly postmodern notion of metafiction – that is, fiction that is “aware” of its own artificiality. In order to garner a more profound understanding of the relationship that Calvino’s novel has with Mitchell’s own debut, it was necessary to consider the specific ways in which similar metafictional techniques are emulated in both, and how these might provide evidence for the influence of Calvino over Mitchell.
In exploring these issues, the following research question arose: “How do the metafictional devices of Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities influence David Mitchell’s Ghostwritten?”"