Fairmont State’s West Virginia Folklife Center to host Nancy Caronia

Dr. Nancy Caronia
Dr. Nancy Caronia

Dr. Nancy Caronia, a Pushcart Prize nominated author, scholar and educator, will discuss her experiences as an Italian American woman writer in Appalachia during her presentation at the Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center on Monday, October 25 at 7 p.m.

Caronia is a Teaching Associate Professor with West Virginia University’s Department of English. She recently received a West Virginia Humanities Council grant to work on a chapter about Denise Giardina’s Storming Heaven for her book-in-progress, Permeable Boundaries: Intimacy and Activism in the Work of Women Writers of Italian Descent.

“We are blessed to have such a skilled and dynamic author and scholar visit our campus,” said Fairmont State University President, Mirta M. Martin. “Dr. Caronia teaches, speaks and writes from a unique perspective. Many West Virginians are familiar with Denise Giardina’s work, and Dr. Caronia’s presentation promises to broaden our insights into Giardina’s amazing historical fiction.”

In her historical fiction, West Virginia author, Denise Giardina, seamlessly weaves important discussions of Italian immigration into larger narratives of West Virginia coal mining history. Although scholars have acknowledged the narrative complexity of the West Virginia coal mining community Giardina creates in her historical fiction, the Italian immigrant narratives she writes into all of her works about West Virginia and Appalachia have been all but ignored. Giardina’s fiction is central to understanding the complexity of Italian immigration beyond the borders of urban areas in the northeast and Chicago. Her dedication to West Virginia and Appalachia has helped to create a robust Italian American writing community. Giardina’s work has paved the way for Italian American women writers born in Appalachia including Marie Manilla, Andriana Trigiani and Diana Pishner Walker.

Caronia’s presentation is free and open to the public, with a reception to follow. To register, contact 304-367-4403.

The Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center is in a historic barn on the campus of Fairmont State University. It is home to the Ruth Ann Musick and Patty Looman archives as well as the Masquers Historic Costume Collection. The Center is open Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and every second Saturday for visitors. Additional school and group tours can be scheduled by appointment. 

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