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Sons of Italy® Launches Book Club

Press Contact: Kylie Cafiero, (202) 547-2900

The Sons of Italy® Literary Conference Panelists [L. to R.]: Bill Tonelli, Adriana Trigiani, Lorenzo Carcaterra, Dana Gioia and moderator Chuck Conconi. The Sons of Italy® conference on Mar. 21 brought these best-selling authors to Washington, D.C., to discuss old stereotypes and new trends in Italian American literature.
Photo: Gina Guiducci

WASHINGTON, March 25, 2003 - The Order Sons of Italy in America® (OSIA), the biggest and oldest national organization for men and women of Italian heritage in the United States, has announced the creation of the Sons of Italy® Book Club dedicated to the works of Italian American writers who focus on Italian American issues, themes and history.

The Sons of Italy® Book Club was launched during the Sons of Italy® literary conference, "From the Boat to the Book," in Washington, D.C., Mar. 21. The conference featured best-selling Italian American authors who explored new trends and old stereotypes in Italian American literature.

On the panel were Dana Gioia, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, and authors Lorenzo Carcaterra, Paul Paolicelli, Bill Tonelli and Andriana Trigiani. Moderating was Washingtonian Magazine editor-at-large Chuck Conconi.

The first four selections are:

Under the Southern Sun" is a non-fiction work that reveals the southern Italian values brought here by the early immigrants that help shape today's Italian Americans.

The Sons of Italy® Literary Conference was followed by a book signing. Here best-selling author Adriana Trigiani signs copies of "Big Stone Gap." Her novel was selected by the new Sons of Italy® Book Club as one of four titles suggested for members to read this spring.
Photo: Gina Guiducci

"The Italian American Reader" is the first mainstream hardcover anthology of 68 contemporary Italian American writers of fiction and non-fiction.

The novel, "Big Stone Gap" centers around Ave Maria Mulligan, an Italian American woman in a Virginia mining town in the 1970s, who discovers a family secret about her Italian roots.

"Street Boys" is a fictionalized version of a true episode during World War II when the people of Naples, including the street urchins or scugnizzi, drove the Nazis out of their city. "If the Sons of Italy® lodges respond and support this book club," says "Street Boys" author Lorenzo Carcaterra, "the New York publishing industry will take notice and publish more books about the Italian American experience. If they don't, it will confirm the prevalent theory in the publishing world that Italian Americans don't read and don't buy books."

Carcaterra, the best-selling author of "Sleepers" and other major works, has distinguished himself as a writer for more than 20 years in fiction, non-fiction, television and film. In 1995, "Sleepers" catapulted him to national attention when it was made into a major motion picture starring Brad Pitt, Robert DeNiro and Dustin Hoffman, among others. The book has sold more than 1.1 million copies here and abroad.

The Sons of Italy® literary conference was followed by a book-signing of the authors' works, sponsored by Olsson's Book Store, and a private luncheon for the panelists, journalists and special guests, including members of the Library of Congress, academia and the Italian diplomatic corps. Later, the panelists held a workshop for young Italian Americans interested in writing careers as part of OdSIA's new Career Connections program.

Established in 1905, OSIA has more than 600,000 members and supporters and a network of 745 chapters coast to coast. OSIA works at the community, national and international level to promote the heritage and culture of an estimated 26 million Italian Americans, the nation's fifth largest ethnic group, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. For more information on OSIA, visit or e-mail