Alessandro Baricco (Italy, 1958) is an Italian writer and director. His work has been translated into many languages. When Matteo Renzi became Italy’s youngest ever prime minister in 2014, he courted his friend Alessandro Baricco to lead his culture ministry. Baricco respectfully declined, but the offer indicates a great deal. Especially since his provocative essay, I Barbari (The Barbarians) – a manifesto on the state of global culture in which he calls out cultural pessimists and portrays commercial and mass media as different, but not necessarily degenerative forms of culture – Baricco has been hailed around the world as a star writer.