IA Literati heads for the internet

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This year’s IA Literati seminar was held as a virtual gathering on June 13. The event was different from any of the previous 16 instalments, according to Professor Dominic Candeloro, curator of the Florence Roselli library in the Italian Cultural Center at Casa Italia.

“Authors could not gather in person due to COVID-19 so we were presented with the challenge of meeting electronically over Zoom. I must say that we all missed gathering together but we were able to expand the scope of the event beyond the Chicago area to across the country and to Italy, with more than 100 participants.”

The keynote address was given by Dr. Fred L. Gardaphe, professor of English and Italian/American Studies at Queens College / CUNY. Dr. Gardaphe spoke about the centrality of written language in the transmission of culture now that centers now that the Little Italys are fading away and the community is losing those centers of Italian-American life.

Other presenters included John Cavallone, who spoke of his book “Migration from Sassano to 48th & Federal Street — An Italian Migration to America at the Turn of the 20th Century”; Carol Amendola-D’Anca, who talked about the relationship between food and culture; Marcella Bernard, who presented an engrossing video on her boo, “Pro Patria, The Story of An American who fought for Italy in World War II.” The event also featured the debut of a play by Terry Quilico about how the Cherry mine disaster of 1909 impacted an Italian-American family from Seatonville, Illinois.

IA Literati 2020 included a presentation from Fra Noi columnist CJ Martello and comments and questions from many listeners such as Chicago historian and author Peter Pero.

The last presenter was Dr. Bruno Cortis, a cardiologist who gave a fascinating talk on his latest book, “Healing the Heart, Heal Your Cancer.”

“Our volunteers put together a great program and overcame all the technical difficulties,” Candeloro says. “The best thing is that those who missed the event and those who want to revisit it can do so via YouTube.”

To view the event, click here.


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Fra Noi produces a magazine and website that serve the Chicago-area Italian-American community. Our magazine offers our readers a monthly feast of news and views, culture and entertainment that keeps our diverse and widely scattered readers in touch with each other and their heritage. Our website offers a dizzying array of information drawn from every corner of the local community.

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