Writer Paolo Giordano, author of Strega prize-winner The Solitude of Prime Numbers, participated at the opening gala of the Hay Festival for writers, journalists, bloggers and intellectuals, which is being held in the Lebanese capital for the first time. Founded by Norman and Peter Florence in Hay-on-Wye in Wales in 1988, the festival's aim is to promote debate between the five continents. Giordano, a subatomic particle and theoretical physicist, is participating in two events: the Storytelling Islam reading series, and a debate titled Books and Other Stories. Also present at the festival's opening night was Italian Ambassador Giuseppe Morabito, who emphasized Lebanon's tradition of intellectual debate. ''I am particularly proud of the presence of this young Italian writer, whose novel has been translated into more than 25 languages and has conquered readers the world over,'' Morabito said. (ANSAMed).