About Us

Our Mission
The Italian American Writers Association was founded in 1991 to promote Italian American writing by encouraging its writing, reading, publication, distribution, translation, and study. Its members include writers, readers, editors, publishers, agents, translators, teachers, scholars, and indeed all who are interested in the progress of Italian American writing. To promote the production, publication, reception, and study of Italian American writing, IAWA has formulated three rules.

  1. Read one another. We can’t expect other people to read the books of Italian American writers if we don’t read them ourselves.
  2. Write or be written. Italian Americans need to write their own realities, rather than waiting for others to do it for them.
  3. Buy each others’ books. If we want publishers to publish Italian American books, we need to show them a market for those books.

Our new “fourth” rule is to write reviews of each other’s books.

IAWA Board Members

Joseph Bocchicchio

Joseph Bocchicchio was born in NYC and is third generation Italian – American. Joe has read at IAM Books for the past three years. He is published in Cut-Throat, Up Street, Panning for Poems, Entropy, and is included in chapbooks from two Edith Chase Symposiums on the environment.

He also has work published in Ovunque Siamo on Sacco and Vanzetti in Italian and English. His work is included in “The Healer’s Burden, Poems and Stories of Professional Grief”. Joe’s contribution “Passing Through” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine.

A retired Crisis Worker, he now works as a Museum Educator at Revolutionary Spaces in Boston where he lives with his wife Victoria.

Christina Bruni

Christina Bruni our web mistress holds an M.S. in Library and Information Science from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn.

Her memoir Left of the Dial (2015) is her first book. Her forthcoming book is Working Assets: A Career Guide for Peers. She contributed a chapter, “Recovery is Within Reach” to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health.

She has been a member of IAWA since June 2000 when she first started performing at the open readings at Cornelia Street. You can read her blogs and excerpts of books at https://www.christinabruni.com.

Kathy Curto

Kathy Curto teaches at Sarah Lawrence College/The Writing Institute and Montclair State University, as well as several nonprofit organizations and community centers in the metropolitan area.

She is the author of Not for Nothing-Glimpses into a Jersey Girlhood. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, on NPR, in the anthology Listen to Your Mother:  What She Said Then, What We’re Saying Now, and in Barrelhouse, Toho Journal, The Mom Egg Review, Drift and Talking Writing among others.

Her piece, “Still Cooking Side by Side” considered a “Modern Love in miniature” by The New York Times, was included in The Best of Tiny Love Stories in August 2021. Kathy lives with her family in the Hudson Valley.  Please visit: www.kathycurto.com. 

Joe Giordano

Joe Giordano was born in Brooklyn. He and his wife Jane now live in Texas.

Joe’s stories have appeared in more than one hundred magazines including The Saturday Evening Post, and Shenandoah. His novels, Birds of Passage, An Italian Immigrant Coming of Age Story (2015), and Appointment with ISIL, an Anthony Provati Thriller (2017) were published by Harvard Square Editions.

Rogue Phoenix Press published Drone Strike (2019) and his short story collection, Stories and Places I Remember (2020).

Joe was among one hundred Italian American authors honored by Barnes & Noble to march in Manhattan’s 2017 Columbus Day Parade. Read the first chapter of Joe’s novels and sign up for his blog at https://joe-giordano.com/

Julia Lisella

JuliLisella’s books include Always (WordTech Editions, 2014), Terrain (WordTech Editions, 2007)and a chapbook, Love Song Hiroshima (Finishing Line Press, 2004)Her poems are widely anthologized, and are forthcoming or appear in Pangyrus, Lily Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Paterson Literary Review, Mom Egg Review, Nimrod, Exit 7, Ocean State Review and others. 

She is a professor of English at Regis College, and co-curates the Italian American Writers Association (IAWA) Reading Series in Boston. Her newest collection, Our Lively Kingdom, was named a finalist in the Lauria/Frasca poetry prize and will be published by Bordighera Press in 2022.

Maria Lisella

Maria Lisella was named a 2020 Poets Laureate Fellow by the Academy of American Poets https://poets.org/poet/maria-lisella, Maria Lisella is the sixth Queens Poet Laureate and the author of the collection, Thieves in the Family (NYQ Books), and two chapbooks, Amore on Hope Street (Finishing Line Press) and Two Naked Feet (Poets Wear Prada).

Recent work appears in Big City Lit, Mom Egg Review, New Verse News, Paterson Literary Review, Red Wheelbarrow. Her latest chapbook, The Man with a Plan is pending publication. She co-curates the Italian American Writers Association (IAWA) series, now in its 30th year.  She contributes to the Jerusalem Post and online publications, Never Stop Traveling and the bilingual La Voce di New York.

Visit her at https://marialisella.contently.com/

Peter Marra

Peter Marra’s writings explore alienation, addiction, love, the curse of secrets, the pain of victimization and the impact of obsessions.

Peter has had over 300 poems published either in print or online in over 25 journals.

His published works include approximate lovers (downtown materialaktion) (Bone Orchard Press), Peep-O-Rama: Sins of the Go-Go Girls (Hammer & Anvil Books) and Vanished Faces (a performance of occult infections) published by Writing Knights Press.

His latest poetry collection is Random Crucifixions: Obsessions, Dolls and Maniac Cameras (Hammer & Anvil Books). His latest work, A Naked Kiss from a Broken Doll, a surrealistic giallo novel was published in 2019 by Hammer & Anvil Books.

He is currently completing a collection of prose poems, yet untitled.

Jennifer Martelli

Jennifer Martelli is the author of My Tarantella (Bordighera Press), awarded an Honorable Mention from the Italian-American Studies Association, selected as a 2019 “Must Read” by the Massachusetts Center for the Book, and named as a finalist for the Housatonic Book Award. She is also the author of the chapbooks In the Year of Ferraro from Nixes Mate Press and After Bird, winner of the Grey Book Press open reading, 2016. Her work has appeared in The Tahoma Literary Review, Thrush, Verse Daily, Iron Horse Review (winner of the Photo Finish contest), and Poetry.

Jennifer Martelli has twice received grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council for her poetry. She is co-poetry editor for Mom Egg Review and co-curates the Italian American Writers Association Reading Series.

Lisa Paolucci

Lisa Paolucci is an Assistant Professor of Education at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, New York. She recently received her Ph.D. in English Education from Columbia University. Formerly, she taught high school English in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.

Her poems have been published in Ovunque Siamo#metoo, anch’io (2020), No Distance Between UsThe Next Collection (2021), and Literary Vegan.

Our current board members are grateful for the exceptional service our board members in memoriam gave to IAWA:

Robert Viscusi:

Robert Viscusi

Gil Fagiani, L.C.S.W.:

Gil Fagiani, L.C.S.W.

Emelise Aleandri, Ph.D.:

Emelise Aleandri, Ph.D.

Vittoria repetto:

Vittoria repetto