Video of Claudia Durastanti’s Reading at Calandra

Writer Claudia Durastanti
Durastanti at Calandra

In April writer Claudia Durastanti came to the Calandra Institute to give a reading from her acclaimed book Strangers I Know as part of our regular Writers Read series, which has begun again in person for the first time since 2020. Joseph Salvatore interviewed her about the work and her life. Our cable TV show Italics crew were there to tape the event, and now you can watch the entire event here.

Writers Read: Gianna Patriarca EVENT CANCELED

THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELED

Gianna Patriarca reads from This Way Home: Selected and New Work (Guernica Editions, 2021).

This Way Home, Gianna Patriarca’s new poetry collection, is, among other things, a challenge to invisibility. This book offers a uniquely and universally powerful voice from a woman who writes clearly and passionately for all generations. She writes about immigrant communities, anger, love, displacement, religion, and violence and about young and older women who defy their socially designated roles.

“Gianna Patriarca has contributed decades of intense and inspiring poetry to the Canadian literary landscape. She writes about … the rough broken skin of workers’ hands, fierce young women who defy their fathers’ belts and ultimately the practicality of survival. Patriarca offers us hauntingly powerful poems with a spirited humour and a full heart.”

— Karleen Pendleton Jimenez, author of Are You a Boy or a Girl?

Discussion led by Anthony Julian Tamburri, John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, Queens College, CUNY.

Free, open to the public, and held in person at the
Calandra Institute.
Registration is required for all events in order to follow current CUNY COVID guidelines. Proof of vaccination and ID are required upon entry. Masks are encouraged but not required. We will continue to assess the latest data and public health guidance and to act in compliance with CUNY protocols.

Writers Read: Christopher Sorrentino Reads from Now Beacon, Now Sea: A Son’s Memoir

The death of Christopher Sorrentino’s mother in 2017 marked the end of a journey that had begun eighty years earlier in the South Bronx. Victoria Ortiz’s life took her to New York City’s vibrant downtown art scene—where she met her husband, the writer Gilbert Sorrentino—to the sedate Stanford campus, and finally to south Brooklyn. Her son watched helplessly as she grew more isolated, distancing herself from everyone and everything she loved. Sorrentino excavates his own memories and family folklore in an effort to peel back the ways in which Victoria seemed trapped between conflicting identities: the Puerto Rican girl identified on her birth certificate as Black, and the white woman she had decided to become. Meanwhile Christopher experiences his own transformation, emerging from under his father’s shadow and his mother’s thumb to establish his identity as a writer.

In partnership with Centro, The Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College

“Christopher Sorrentino’s memoir is an incredibly moving masterpiece. … I had to reach back to Nabokov’s Speak, Memory to find another memoir as powerful and poignant as this one and to find one that as profoundly explores the art of memory.”— David Treuer, author of The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee

Discussion led by Vanessa Pérez-Rosario, Queens College, and Joseph Salvatore, The New School. Register to attend this event on Zoom here: https://centropr.nationbuilder.com/cafecito_con_christopher_sorrentino.

REGISTER in advance to attend in person by calling 212-642-2094. Covid protocols will be strictly enforced.

Writers Read: Claudia Durastanti Reads from Strangers I Know

Strangers I Know is the fourth novel by Claudia Durastanti and her first to be translated to English; the book is a bestseller in Italy and winner of the Premio Pozzale Luigi Russo and the Premio Strega Off. The largely autobiographical novel is a subversive story about family and coming of age; it crosses oceans, languages, and generations, bringing readers into small pastoral villages of Southern Italy as well as into smoky night clubs and the NYC punk rock scene. The novel’s narrator finds herself living in a strange transnational atmosphere in which communication is nearly nonexistent. An outsider in every way, she longs for a freedom she isn’t sure exists and attempts to create her own version of her life.

“Formally innovative and emotionally complex, this novel explores themes of communication, family, and belonging with exceptional insight. Durastanti, celebrated in Italy for her intelligent voice and her hybrid perspective, speaks to all who are outside and in-between. Strangers I Know, in a bracing translation by Elizabeth Harris, is a stunning English-language debut.”

—Jhumpa Lahiri, author of Whereabouts

Discussion led by Joseph Salvatore, The New School.

Free, open to the public, and held in person at the
Calandra Institute.
RSVP by calling (212) 642-2094.
Registration is required for all events in order to follow current CUNY COVID guidelines. Proof of vaccination and ID are required upon entry. Masks are encouraged but not required. We will continue to assess the latest data and public health guidance and to act in compliance with CUNY protocols.