Italian American Literati 2019


Come join us for


Casa Italia's Florence Bartolomei Roselli Library

presents its annual celebration of

Italian American Authors in the Chicagoland area!

We are honored to have

Carla Simonini, PhD

Paul and Ann Rubino Endowed Professor of Italian American Studies at Loyola University Chicago and

Editor of Italian Americana

preside as our Keynote Speaker for this event.

Where: Casa Italia Chicago--Italian Cultural Center--Florentine Room

1621 N. 39th Street

Stone Park, Illinois 60165

(Intersection of 39th Street and Division Street)

(Division St. is one block north of Lake St. at Mannheim/Rt. 45)

When: Saturday, June 1, 2019, 9:30 am to 2:30 pm

Meet & Greet, caffè e dolci 9:30 am

Author Presentations 10:00 am

Intermezzo con spuntino (light lunch) 12:00 pm

Special treat! Teacher, author & arborist, Adam Kessel will lead us in a walk around the Casa Italia grounds to discuss the folk uses of many native plants and trees.

Book sales & signings!

Books also available for purchase from Casa Italia Library!

Book Raffles!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

For details or regular updates please visit our Facebook pages: Casa Italia Library or IA Literati June 1 2019

or visit the Casa Italia Event page

RSVP by calling 708-345-5933 Ext. 2

or click here for our Facebook Events page

For a printable flyer click here!

There is no cost for this event-- free will donations are appreciated.

We are EXCITED TO ANNOUNCE the addition of new authors to our event this year...

Peter Belmonte

Alanna Crisci

Maria Rosaria D'Alfonso

Edward Izzi

Adam Kessel

Joy Loverde

Carmela Martino

Susan Miura

We WELCOME BACK veteran IA Literati...

Dominic Candeloro

Lou Corsino

Carol D'Anca

Kathy DeNicolo

CJ Martello

Kathryn Occhipinti

Tony Romano

Senatore Renato Turano

Moderating the event will be Fra Noi correspondent and local historian

CJ Martello


Carla A. Simonini received a BA from Amherst College, an MA in Comparative Literature from the University of Rhode Island and a Ph.D. in Italian Studies from Brown University. Her research interests include 20th century and contemporary Italian literature, theories and methodologies of second language acquisition and constructs of italianità in American and Italian American literature, which was the subject of her doctoral dissertation. She has taught at Brown University, the University of Rhode Island and Skidmore College. From 2010 to 2018, she was an associate professor of Italian at Youngstown State University, where she coordinated the Italian program and taught courses on Italian language, culture, and literature as well as courses on Italian American identity for the American Studies program, and on Italian American literature for the English Department. She is currently the founding director and endowed professor of a newly inaugurated interdisciplinary program at Loyola University Chicago serving as the Paul and Ann Rubino Professor in Italian American Studies.

In November 2018 the journal moved to Loyola University Chicago, where Editor-in-chief Carla A. Simonini assumed a new position as the Founding Director and Rubino Endowed Professor of Italian American Studies. Her goal is to research, preserve, and promote Italian American culture, will lead the Italian American Studies program. Loyola University Chicago is an ideal institution to host such a program as the city is one of the centers of Italian American culture, and the university has a campus in Italy known as the John Felice Rome Center. For more information on the professorship and the program, please visit the Paul and Ann Rubino Professorship webpage.


Renato Turano, Italian Senator, founding member of Casa Italia, former Chairman of the Board of Casa Italia, president and CEO of Turano Baking Company, and esteemed business and civic leader, presents "Profumo di Pane" at IA Literati 2019!


Peter L. Belmonte is a retired U.S. Air Force officer, author, and historian. A veteran of Operation Desert Storm, he holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Purdue University and a master’s degree in history from California State University, Stanislaus. He has published articles, book chapters, reviews, and papers about immigration and military history. Pete is theauthor of several books including Italian Americans In World War II(Chicago, 2001), Days of Perfect Hell: The US 26th Infantry Regiment in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, October-November 1918(Atglen, PA, 2015), and (with Alexander F. Barnes) Forgotten Soldiers of World War I: America’s Immigrant Doughboys(Atglen, PA, 2018). In 2018, Pete appeared as an on-camera consultant for a Netflix series on Medal of Honor recipients. He is engaged in a study of Calabrian-Americans who served in the U.S. military during World War I and has self-published his findings in four volumes.

Please visit his website:


Lou Corsino is a sociologist and chair of the Department of Sociology at North Central College in Naperville. He grew up in Chicago Heights, Illinois; received his BA at the University of Notre Dame; and his Ph.D. at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has published in a variety of journals, including the Italian American Review, Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, the Social Science Journal, Deviant Behavior, Research in the Sociology of Work. In 2014, the University of Illinois Press published his book, The Neighborhood Outfit: Organized Crime in Chicago Heights. Most recently, his interests have focused upon Italian immigrant experience and the idea of hope.


Born in Italy, I grew up in Chicago, Illinois.

I currently live in Salerno, with my family since 1972.

After teaching English for about 32 years from grammar school to university, I have been working as a high school principal in Milan and in Calabria.

In my spare time I enjoy writing poetry, drama, short stories and essays.

I also write for several journals, both local and international.

I have received a number of awards and acknowledgements for my professional achievements both as a principal and a writer.

Among my main interests, Immigration and Inclusion.

I have published several books about teaching English as a foreign language and school management.

As a transnational with a degree in foreign languages, I feel dedicated to helping the community through my own experience.

I have contributed to the translation and presentation (Archivio di Stato, Rome and Casa Italia, Stone Park, Ill.) of the book American Women of Chicago.

I have also taken the FSOT.

My dedication to Vito D’Ambrosio, “The Perfect Immigrant”, goes back to a promise that I once made to write his story as if it were my own and those of many other people who made it one way or another.


Carol Amendola D’Anca was raised in a small town in WI steeped in the traditions of her Neapolitan roots. Her neighborhood was known as “Little Italy,” a result of late migration of Italians to the U.S. The Mediterranean diet, lifestyle, gardening and family traditions were expressed as an important part of life.

Once exposed to the world beyond her “Little Italy” community, she became aware of the vast differences in lifestyle and, in particular, dietary choices and their relationship to health and medical outcomes. These early observations ignited her lifelong passion for the science and study of nutrition.

After graduating with honors at the University of WI in biology and chemistry, she earned a Master of Clinical Nutrition Degree at Rosalind Franklin University of Health and Science/The Chicago Medical School.

She is a board-certified and licensed nutrition practitioner whose practice has broad reaches. The unique combination of both the scientific and practical application of nutrition has made her a sought-after public speaker whether she is counseling privately, speaking to community groups, physician conferences or to students in middle schools. A sample of her speaking schedule can be accessed here.

Her first book, released in 2016, “Real Food for Healthy People; a recipe and resource guide” is an award-winning book that has been on Amazon’s bestselling list for several months.

Her new book, “The Fine Art of Feeding Children; what we can learn from the Italian Culture,” will be published this year. She is looking forward to presenting her perspectives on this topic at Literati, 2019.

For the past 7 years Carol has hosted an annual trip to the Amalfi Coast of Italy sharing the authentic Italian culture (including a visit to her family’s home) and introducing others to a diet and way of life that produces the longevity which the Italian population in Italy enjoys.

Additional information can be accessed at:


How do I use my author’s voice?

I promote literacy and conversation skills by sharing small stories about big ideas. These stories touch upon common experiences in today’s world. I think sharing stories about everyday heroes, long forgotten or speechless, is a way to pass life-affirming messages worldwide.

In the fictional novel Connected: An American Homecoming, K.F.DeNicolo tells the story of two teenagers caught in the aftermath of WW I. Living in a world of violence and destruction, they fall in love, marry and leave the beautiful Puglia region of Italy. Why? To look for a second chance at a better life-their version of the American Dream. The writer’s conclusion is clear - facing life's challenges can be tough anywhere at any age.

Sidekick is a user friendly activity book and could be used by book lovers of all ages. It’s a handbook, a starter point for important conversations. Today’s fast paced demands keep us plugged in, running, and often distracted. Sidekick is a refreshing opportunity to talk face to face, get unplugged, read between the lines and open doors to important conversations.

Love to hear from you. Contact me on my website: or FB.


Edward Izzi is a native of Detroit, Michigan and is a Certified Public Accountant. He has an accounting degree from Central Michigan University, with a successful accounting firm in suburban Chicago.

When the author was in high school, he was told by his English teachers that any career, other than writing, would be a total ‘waste of time.” After the dissolution of his thirty-year marriage and a lengthy divorce, a therapist suggested that he take up writing again. After taking several creative writing classes at a community college and writing many short stories, he published his first novel, “Of Bread & Wine” in 2018, and his second, “A Rose From The Executioner” in 2019.

He lives in suburban Chicago, is the father of four grown children and one ‘amazing’ granddaughter.


Adam Kessel has extensive experience as a teacher in urban ecology education programs in Chicago. He currently works as a teacher with the Forest Preserves. This work puts him in more than 70,000 acres of forest preserve lands teaching restoration-based environmental education programming. He has facilitated numerous teacher professional development programs focusing on place-based pedagogies in urban learning environments.

Adam received his Master of Arts in Teaching from National-Louis University. His undergraduate degree is also from National-Louis University. He holds a teaching certificate with the state of Illinois, an arborist certificate through the International Society of Arboriculture, and an Interpretive Guide certificate through National Association for Interpretation.

Both Adam and his illustrator, Alanna Crisci, are of Italian descent; their families hail from Calabria.


Alanna Crisci is an artist who spends her time drawing, painting, listening to vinyl, and jewelry making. Alanna studied Art and Design with an emphasis on Illustration at Columbia College Chicago.


“When we plan, we have choices.” This is the promise of Joy Loverde’s books and what sparks the process of taking control of a seemingly random and unpredictable future for ourselves as well as our aging parents.

The Complete Eldercare Planner (Random House) keeps family members engaged and connected. The American Medical Association says, “It’s the best book we’ve seen.”

Who Will Take Care of Me When I’m Old? (Da Capo) is hailed by critics as “required reading for everyone over 40. This book teaches readers how to visualize and advocate for their future self.”

A seasoned media spokesperson, you may have seen Joy on the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, ABC News, or heard interviews on National Public Radio, podcasts, and SiriusXM. Joy has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, TIME, New York Times, Money, U.S. News & World Report, Reader’s Digest, Psychology Today, and others. USA TODAY ran a four-part series on Joy’s programs.

Endorsers of Joy’s work include American Business Women’s Association, Catholic Charities, White House Conference on Aging, National Institutes of Health, the American Society on Aging, among others.

Joy is a sought-after keynote speaker and mature-market consultant to aging-related industries. Visit Joy’s website:


CJ Martello is a correspondent authoring the column: Petals from Roseland for, FRA NOI - Chicagoland’s Italian-American news magazine. An author and a resident of Chicago’s Pullman neighborhood, he is an actor, presenting the one man show: George Pullman The man and his model town for community organizations, senior groups, and schools.

CJ is also a historian covering the Pullman/Roseland/Kensington areas; a docent of the Pullman neighborhood and Pullman factory site; and a former docent of the Prairie Avenue Historic District’s Glessner House and Clarke House Museums.


Carmela Martino is an author, speaker, and writing teacher. She wrote the middle-grade novel, Rosa, Sola (Candlewick Press), while working on her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College. The novel, which was based on her experiences growing up in an Italian American family, was a Booklist "Top Ten First Novel for Youth" and received a Catholic Press Association Book Award. Her second novel, Playing by Heart (Vinspire Publishing), was inspired by two amazing 18th-century Milanese sisters, one a composer and the other a mathematician. Playing by Heart has won numerous awards, including the Catholic Arts and Letters Award and a Moonbeam Children's Book Awards Gold Medal for Young Adult Historical Fiction. The novel also took third place in the Catholic Press Association Book Awards for Teens & Young Adults. The judge for that award commented, “So much of the history of Italy is noted in this book that it could be a selected read for high schools.” Carmela's credits for teens and tweens also include short stories and poems in magazines and anthologies. Her articles for adults have appeared in such publications as the Chicago Tribune, Writer’s Digest, and multiple editions of the Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market. Carmela has taught writing classes at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois since 1998, and she blogs about teaching and writing at For more, see


Faith, family, and a passion for nature, writing, and photography nurture Susan’s soul. She loves to visit the world’s amazing places and has a travel bucket list that includes the Northern Lights, sunsets anywhere, Jamaica’s Luminous Lagoon, and basically anything that glows.

After graduating from college, Susan worked as a Chicago-area newspaper reporter, then as an Albuquerque television reporter. Back in her home state, she works in public relations for the Schaumburg Library and presents writing workshops and travel programs throughout the Chicago suburbs. Susan is president of the American Christian Fiction Writers Chicago chapter and a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Susan is the author of three young adult novels: Healer (Vinspire Publishing, 2018), Shards of Light (Healer Book 2, coming in August 2019), and Show Me a Sign (OakTara Publishing, 2014). Her poetry and wildlife photos are featured in Pawprints in the Snow (2017), and she has short stories published in three anthologies.


Dr. Kathryn Occhipinti is a radiologist of Italian-American descent who has been leading Italian language groups in the Peoria and Chicago areas for about 10 years. She focuses on methods to make learning Italian as a second language easy and enjoyable for the adult audience.

Using her experiences as a teacher and frequent traveler to Italy, she wrote the Conversational Italian for Travelers series of books, which follow the character Caterina on her travels through Italy, while at the same time introducing the fundamentals of the Italian language.

This series of books is truly different from other Italian language books! The Conversational books are friendly, humorous, and combine travel tips with language lessons. These books also provide a method for people to understand and remember Italian phrases so that they can create their own.

Everything one needs to know to travel to Italy is in this series of books!

The associated website, provides FREE interactive dialogues recorded by native Italian speakers, cultural notes, and Italian recipes to make learning the language really come alive.

Link to Amazon for Conversational Italian Books:

The Audio Books for the series are found at:

Blog: Conversational Italian!

Beginning Italian, Italian Proverbs


Blog: Learn Italian!

Advanced Italian lessons, Cultural Notes, Recipes

Facebook: Stella Lucente Italian

Facebook Open Group: Conversational Italian!

Twitter: Stella Lucente Italian


Tony Romano is the author of the novel, Where My Body Ends and the World Begins (Allium Press), When the World Was Young (HarperCollins) and the story collection, If You Eat, You Never Die (HarperCollins). He is also the coauthor of Expository Composition: Discovering Your Voice and coauthor or the text, Psychology and You. He was recently named Illinois Author of the Year by the Illinois Association for Teachers of English (IATE) and was honored with a Norman Mailer award. One of his story collections was a finalist in AWP’s annual contest. He is a two-time winner of a PEN Syndicated Fiction Project award. Both stories were produced on National Public Radio’s “The Sound of Writing” series and syndicated to newspapers nationwide.

He lives near Chicago and writes about books, music, work, and family on his blog at


Dominic Candeloro is the resident historian and curator of the Florence Roselli Bartolomei Casa Italia Library.