1st Day of Christmas: Celebrating the Works of Italian-American Authors

Explore and support this rich and wonderful selection of Italian-American literature.

By: Dina Di Maio, ISDA Contributor

For this holiday season, how about giving the gift of a book by an Italian-American author? There is a rich collection of Italian-American books out there. Here are some suggestions, both new and classic, fiction and nonfiction.

  • Sicily: Land of Love and Strife by Mark Spano. The companion book to the documentary of the same name, Sicily: Land of Love and Strife is the author’s journey to the homeland of his ancestors, a mesmerizing land with a rich history and hopeful future.

The publishing industry does a poor job promoting Italian-American voices. No doubt, prejudice exists in publishing. However, I believe we can make a community that transcends the cutthroat world of publishing by supporting one another’s projects and giving credit when we find inspiration in someone’s work.

Because I saw a need for this supportive community, I created a book club to read Italian-American writers. You can do that too, or you can lobby your current book club to add more Italian-American writers to their list. As you can see on the short list above, there are lots to choose from, and you don’t have to be Italian American to enjoy them!

By buying books written by Italian-American authors, you can help reclaim the way in which our story is told and preserve the essence of our culture. In order for our history, our experience, our truth to be continued, honored, and passed down to future generations, we must read the work of our authors.

Dina M. Di Maio is a New York- and Tennessee-licensed lawyer with an MFA in creative writing from NYU. She has written and/or edited for Glamour, Family Circle, Time Out New York, and the American Bar Association. She is the author of Authentic Italian: The Real Story of Italy’s Food and Its People. She is also a book reviewer for Ovunque Siamo, a literary journal of Italian-American writing. 

Editor’s note: ISDA’s “12 Days” run from Dec. 14-Dec. 25 to promote Italian and Italian-American traditions, art, literature, stories and more. Per the Christian calendar, the actual 12 Days of Christmas are celebrated from Dec. 25 to Jan. 5.

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