A literary competition for schools and families, and an exhibition
curated by the Art Workshop and Vànvere Publications
in conjunction with the Palazzo delle Esposizioni Bookshop

Have you ever dreaded that feeling when you're confronted with a blank sheet of paper?Have you ever felt really short on ideas just when you want to start writing a story?
In the book “Table Tales” (Vànvere Publications) the blank sheet is a pure white tablecloth that illustrator Simone Rea has spread out over a table and then laid in the most unexpected ways.
It's a great start. Taking your cue from his atmospheric and mysterious pictures, you can give free rein to your imagination and invent your own stories. First you'll feel them bubbling away deep down, then they'll slowly rise to the surface...
Writer Chiara Carminati had a go, and came up with as many as 16 story outlines: foretastes, snippets, hints designed to trigger more hints... but all with only one recipe: you have to fill in the missing pieces. Sometimes you'll only find the beginning of a tale or at other times only the ending, as though you'd been served starters or pudding but without a main course, because that's the course you've got to invent. Or else you might just find a list of ingredients that you have to put together to come up with the best combination and produce tasty new word meals.

It's up to you from here on!


The Palazzo delle Esposizioni and Vànvere websites carry three pictures by Simone Rea accompanied by Chiara Carminati's outlines for building your own story.

If you're aged between 7 and 14

· Choose the one that you find most inspiring and write your story, either on your own or with the rest of your class. · Attach it as a Word document to an email addressed to to reach us no later than 15 February 2021. Don't forget to add your first name, family name, age and school.

· All stories received will be published on the Palazzo delle Esposizioni website, in the section entitled “Give us a sign!”

· The author and illustrator will join with Art Workshop and Vànvere Publications staff in selecting three stories considered outstanding for their style and originality. The authors of the stories chosen will receive the following prizes:

· Print of an illustration signed by Simone Rea from the book “Table Tales”

· A selection of books published by Vànvere Publications

· A signed copy of the book “Table Tales”


At the end of the contest Simone Rea's sophisticated illustrations in black and white will be on display in the Palazzo delle Esposizioni Bookshop along with a selection of titles published by Vànvere, a small project-based children's publisher specialising in working artists' books.



 Download the sheet "à la carte"


 Download the sheet "inventa una storia"


 Download the sheet "storia di Natale"