Literary Arts

Photo of Person getting a book off of a shelf.

A Conversation with Author Joanna Clapps Herman

Joanna Herman Signing Book

Moderated by Edvige Giunta and Peggy Jackson

Presented by: The NJCU Center for the Arts, and The English Department Student Events and Publications Committee at New Jersey City University

Tuesday, April 27, 1:00 p.m.
Virtual Event


When I am Italian: quando sono italiana, (2019), Joanna Clapps Herman’s most recent publication, explores the question of whether it’s possible to be Italian if you weren’t born in Italy. Her fiction collection No Longer and Not Yet (2014), is about the intimacies of everyday life on The Upper West Side of Manhattan. A memoir, The Anarchist Bastard (2011) which begins, “I often say that I was born in 1944 but raised in the 15th Century because although I was born in Waterbury, CT, in a New England factory town, in post-WWII, I grew up in a large southern Italian family where the rules were absolute, and customs antiquated.” She is co-editor of two anthologies Wild Dreams (2008) and Our Roots Are Deep with Passion (2006). She has published widely in literary journals as a poet, a fiction writer and an essayist.

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Past Events


Author J.M. Kelly

June 6, 2020
2:00 PM
Virtual event

Join us for a stellar reading and workshop with author and educator J.M. Kelly.  James will read excerpts from his latest book in the Bobby Holmes series for young adults: Monster on the Moors, discuss his creative process with NJCU Director of the Center for the Arts, Stephanie Chaiken, and present a workshop for middle and high school ages about the process of writing a book.

Come ready to participate with your ideas!

Pandemic baseball book club logo

June 27, 2:00 PM
Virtual Event

NJCU Center for the Arts presents An Afternoon with the Pandemic Baseball Book Club. Join us for an amazing program featuring readings and a discussion with five baseball writers, led by Ralph Carhart - author of The Hall Ball. Joining Ralph will be Jason Turbow - author of They Bled BlueAnika Orrock author of The Incredible Women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball LeagueEric Nusbaum - author of Stealing Home, and Brad Balukjian - author of The Wax Pack.


All books from the Pandemic baseball book club

The Hall Ball: One Fan's Journey to Unite Cooperstown Immortals with a Single Baseball is the story of a quixotic journey across the United States and beyond. The Goal? To bring a single baseball to every member of the Hall of Fame, both living and dead.

They Bled Blue details the Los Angeles Dodgers' championship 1981 season, complete with a mid-season player strike, a storied lineup at the end of its tether, and the uniquely meteoric rise of a rookie named Fernando Valenzuela.

The Incredible Women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League is a fully illustrated history of America's first and, so far, only women's professional baseball league (1943-1954), as told by those who know it best: the players.

Stealing Home: Los Angeles, the Dodgers, and the Lives Caught in Between reveals the messy, dramatic truth behind a great American civic drama: the construction of Dodger Stadium. It's a story of grand visions, evil schemes, Manifest Destiny, and the mystic power of baseball; and ultimately the story of a family caught within the grasp of it all.

The Wax Pack is the story of one man's quest to track down all the players in a single pack of 1986 baseball cards on an 11,341-mile road trip to answer the question, 'is there life after baseball?

Nancy Savoca


Writer-Director Nancy Savoca’s debut film, TRUE LOVE, won the Grand Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for a Spirit Award for Best Director. Savoca co-wrote all 3 segments of HBO’s IF THESE WALLS COULD TALK, with Demi Moore, Sissy Spacek and Cher, and directed the segments starring Moore and Spacek. The film won multiple Emmy and Golden Globe nominations and a Women In Film Lucy Award for the show’s creation. Her documentary of the one-woman show, RENO-REBEL WITHOUT A PAUSE (UNRESTRAINED REFLECTIONS ON SEPT. 11TH), premiered September 11, 2002 at the Toronto Film Festival and was awarded the Prize for Peace & Liberty by the City of Florence, Italy.

Rashad Wright

Presented by:

The English Department Student Events and Publications Committee

at New Jersey City University


Virtual Event
Tuesday, October 13, 11:30-12:30 pm
Free with RSVP

In 2018 Rashad Wright became Poet Laureate of Jersey City at age 24, the first poet to receive the title since 2004. He graduated from New Jersey City University, where he studied creative writing and was involved in the Peers Educating Peers (PEP) program as a certified peer educator. Wright, who has been Grandslam Champion of Jersey City Slam twice, has participated and been recognized in many local and national slam competitions. At the 2018 Individual Poetry Slam in San Diego, California, Rashad placed 20th in the country. He is the author of Romeo’s Whiskey, a book of poems for which reg e gaines wrote the foreword. He is in residence at Mana Contemporary, where he is actively involved in hosting poetry events.

Nancy Caronia Smiling

Presented by: The English Department Student Events and Publications Committee at New Jersey City University

Thursday, October 29, 12:00-1:00 pm

Nancy Caronia is Associate Professor in the Department of English at West Virginia University. A Pushcart Prize-nominated author, Caronia has published her creative work in The Milk of Almonds: Italian American Women on Food and Culture, Don't Tell Mama!: The Penguin Book of Italian American Writing, and many journals including, Ovunque Siamo, New Delta Review, Lowestoft Chronicles, and BioStories. With Edvige Giunta, she co-edited Personal Effects: Memoir, Teaching, and Culture in the Work of Louise DeSalvo (Fordham University Press 2015, paperback 2019). She also wrote the introduction for the reprint of DeSalvo's Casting Office (Bordighera Press 2014). She is at work on a volume about American dime novels' discriminatory characterizations of Italian immigrants and Italian Americans at the turn of the twentieth century entitled "Dime Novels: Racialization and Erasure." She also is writing a memoir focused on issues of dementia and aging.

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Ann Wallace

Interviewed by Jayne Freeman 
Thursday, November 5 at 8pm 

In March, when Ann E. Wallace and her daughter were among the first Jersey City residents to become sick with COVID-19, Wallace immediately began chronicling their experience. Nearly eight months later, Wallace, a long-hauler, has amassed a large body of work, ranging from poetry to op-ed pieces, and has gained national attention. Join us for a conversation between Jayne Freeman and Wallace about writing through COVID. 

Ann E. Wallace, PhD, Associate Professor of English at NJCU, is writing poetry and essays as she recovers from long-haul COVID at home in Jersey City. Her poetry collection, Counting by Sevens, is available from Main Street Rag (2019), and she has recently published work in USA Today, Huffington PostCrack the SpineStirring,Clementine Unbound and many other journals. 


Krystal A. Sital

Presented by: The English Department Student Events and Publications Committee and

the Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx Studies at New Jersey City University


Thursday, November 19, 1:00 - 2:00 P.M.

Free with RSVP

Krystal Sital is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Secrets We Kept: Three Women of Trinidad. Her essay, “Undocumented Lovers in America”, was featured in the anthology A Map Is Only One Story: Twenty Writers on Immigration, Family, and the Meaning of Home and another essay “Feminist Role Model” was featured in the anthology Fury: Women’s Lived Experiences in the Trump Era. A PEN America Literary Award finalist and Hertog Fellow, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Elle, Salon, Catapult, LitHub, and elsewhere. Krystal was born in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and moved to the United States in 1999. She now lives in New Jersey with her partner and their three tiny humans.

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Authors Posing for Photo

Presented by: The English Department Student Events and Publications Committee
& The Center for the Arts at New Jersey City University

Tuesday, November 24, 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Free with RSVP

Join us for a discussion with three talented writers / NJCU Graduates, Chloe DeFilippis, Angel Eduardo, Natasha Persaud. This discussion will be moderated by Edvige Giunta.

Chloe DeFilippis is an Account Specialist for NPD BookScan, the gold standard in POS (point-of-sale) tracking for the publishing market. Previously, she held sales positions at Simon & Schuster and Phaidon. Her writing has appeared in Ovunque Siamo, River Teeth, Vending Machine Press, and more.

Angel Eduardo is a staff writer for He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from CUNY Hunter College. He has published in Areo Magazine, The Ocean State Review, and The Caribbean Writer, and other publications. He is working on a book-length memoir, “Echoes.” See his work at

Natasha Persaud has an MFA from Hunter College, CUNY, where she received the Hertog Fellowship. Her writing has appeared in Gay Magazine and The Caribbean Writer. She has taught memoir at The Creative Writers Circle of New Jersey. She is pursuing a Master’s in Counseling at NJCU and working on a memoir about growing up in the tenements of Georgetown, Guyana.

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Moderated by Edvige Giunta, Rosa Garcia, and Donia Ayoub

Art by Gabrielle Arroyo - Woman throwing blue medical mask followed by coivd-19

Presented by: The NJCU Center for the Arts, and The English Department Student Events and Publications Committee at New Jersey City University

Thursday, February 11, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

As the second 100-word reading marathon to be held digitally, this gathering wants to foster connection and solidarity among different writers, communities, cities, and countries. While the Covid-19 global pandemic continues to rage, other events have dominated our lives, sometimes in inspiring ways and at other times terrifying ways: the Black Lives Matter demonstrations over the killing of George Floyd and other Black people; the 2020 elections; the historic election of Kamala Harris; the Capitol riots; the second impeachment of Trump; and more. Whether or not any of these events are central to your writing, share 100 words you have written during these times. Make it intimate, visceral, honest. Please bring a maximum of three 100-word pieces. Everyone will share one piece during the first round. Subsequent 100-word pieces can be shared after all writers have shared their first piece. Multi-lingual work is welcomed and encouraged!

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Author JM Kelly

Saturday, February 20, 2:00 p.m.
Virtual Event

Join us for an afternoon with acclaimed author J.M. Kelly, as he speaks about his voyage on the Muscongus Bay in Maine, in search of wisdom from one of the preeminent educators of our time. Reluctant sailor, Kelly, ventured aboard the personal craft of Roland Barth for a unique one on one discussion of all things educational. His book In Search of Leadership, as Roland describes, is a collection of “timeless nuggets of wisdom for himself and the rest of us who would venture aboard a boat and into a schoolhouse.” 

with Jacqueline Ellis, Mary Giaimo, Joanna Clapps Herman, and Tracy Mann

Moderated by Edvige Giunta and Peggy Jackson

Jacqueline Ellis, Mary Giaimo, Joanna Clapps Herman, and Tracy Mann

Presented by: The NJCU English Department Student Events and Publications Committee and the NJCU Center for the Arts

Tuesday, February 23, 6:30-7:30 pm
Virtual Event


Jacqueline Ellis is a Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at New Jersey City University. She is the author of Silent Witnesses: Representations of Working-Class Women in the United States (U of Wisconsin P), and the co-editor of Transformations: The Journal of Inclusive Scholarship and Pedagogy. Her articles and creative writing have appeared in WSQ, Feminist Review, History of Photography, and Mutha Magazine. She is working on a creative nonfiction book, Palindrome: A Multiracial Family History.

Mary Giaimo’s poetry and criticism have appeared in Barrow Street, Interim, The Journal, VIA: Voices in Italian Americana, The Ocean State Review,, Poetry in Performance, American Book Review, Newtown Literary, Ovunque Siamo, and in the anthology New Hungers for Old: One Hundred Years of Italian American Poetry. She is an editor at Barrow Street Press and teaches English literature and writing at La Scuola d’Italia, a dual-language Italian/English school in Manhattan.

When I am Italian: Quando sono italiana, (2019) Joanna Clapps Herman’s most recent book, explores the question of whether it’s possible to be Italian if you weren’t born in Italy. Other books include a collection of fiction, No Longer and Not Yet (2014), and her memoir, The Anarchist Bastard (2011). She also co-edited two anthologies; Wild Dreams (2008) and Our Roots Are Deep with Passion (2006). She has recently had 18 prose poems accepted for publication. Her website, a literary, cultural, culinary site is at

Tracy Mann is a contributor to the John F. Kennedy, Jr. anthology “250 Ways to Make America Better”. She has written lyrics for Grammy Award-winning albums by the Manhattan Transfer and Sarah Vaughan and been a scriptwriter for the children’s television series “My Little Pony.” Her writing has appeared in The Lindenwood Review, Sunspot Lit, Adelaide Magazine, Earth Island Journal, and the Sarah Lawrence Writing Institute Journal. She is currently at work on a memoir about Brazil.

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Falling from Trees Book Cover

Presented by: The NJCU Center for the Arts, and The English Department Student Events and Publications Committee at New Jersey City University

Thursday, February 25, 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.
Virtual Event

Mike Fiorito is the author of Call Me GuidoFreud’s Haberdashery Habits and Hallucinating Huxley. His latest book, Falling from Treeshas just been released. He is an Associate Editor for Mad Swirl Magazine and a regular contributor to The Red Hook Star Revue.  Mike is currently working on a novel.

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Marianne Leone smiling in black and white

Presented by: The NJCU Center for the Arts, and The English Department Student Events and Publications Committee at New Jersey City University

March 2, 2021, 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Virtual Event

Marianne Leone is an actress, screenwriter and essayist. Her essays have appeared in the Boston Globe, Post Road, Bark Magazine, Coastal Living, Solstice, and WBUR’s Cognoscenti blog. She is the author of two memoirs, Jesse (Simon & Schuster) and Ma Speaks Up (Beacon Press.) She had a recurring role on HBO's The Sopranos as Joanne Moltisanti, Christopher's mother. She has also appeared in films by Nancy Savoca, David O. Russell, Larry David, John Sayles, and Martin Scorsese. Jesse is published in Italy by Nutrimenti.

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Lanzillotto photos

Presented by: The NJCU Center for the Arts, and The English Department Student Events and Publications Committee at New Jersey City University

Thursday, March 18, 11:30 - 12:30 p.m.
Virtual Event

Annie Rachele Lanzillotto is an author, poet, performance-artist, actor, director, songwriter, and activist who has promoted audience participation in hundreds of performances everywhere from the Arthur Avenue Retail Market to the Guggenheim Museum.  While sheltering-in-place alone, Lanzillotto embarked on a solo decameron - to tell one hundred original stories -- in her podcast "Annie's Story Cave."  Lanzillotto’s books include: Hard Candy: Caregiving, Mourning, and Stage Light, Pitch Roll YawL Is for Lion: an italian bronx butch freedom memoir (finalist for the LAMBDA Literary Award), and Schistsong. Lanzillotto was on the founding board of the Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition. Visit:, and

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Collage of photos from students remembering the Triangle fire

Hosted by Edvige Giunta
Thursday, March 25, 11:30 A.M.
Virtual Event

On March 25, 1911, 146 workers died in a fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City. Most of the workers who died were Eastern European Jewish and Southern Italian women and girls. The youngest were fourteen. In the aftermath of this event, many important legal and social changes were made to create a safer workplace. This panel, moderated by Professor Giunta--who in 2016 created, and teaches, the first course in the US devoted entirely to the Triangle fire--addresses the question of the relevance of the fire in the contemporary world, and specifically to a new generation. One hundred and ten years from the fire and a year before the dedication of the Triangle Fire Memorial, the panelists will explore the ways in which the fire has spoken to them and inspired creative and activist work. 

Phyllis Capello smiling in a pink shirt

Moderated by Edvige Giunta and Meili Ellis-Tingle

Presented by: The NJCU Center for the Arts, and The English Department Student Events and Publications Committee at New Jersey City University

Tuesday March 30 11:30-12:30pm
Virtual Event

Phyllis Capello is the author of Packs Small Plays Big, a collection of poems published in 2018. She is a New York Foundation for the Arts fiction fellow and a winner of an Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award. Her work appears in The Dream Book, From the Margin, The Milk of Almonds, The Voices We Carry, Embroidered Stories and other anthologies. She works as a musician/clown, entertaining children, families, & older adults in hospitals with Healthy Humor Inc. Phyllis also teaches poetry to students in schools and libraries all over NYC with Community-Word Project.

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 Author of Black is the Body: Stories from My Grandmother’s Time, My Mother’s Time, and Mine

Emily Bernard with elbow on table and hand against face

Moderated by Edvige Giunta and Meili Ellis-Tingle

Presented by: The NJCU Center for the Arts, and The English Department Student Events and Publications Committee at New Jersey City University

Tuesday, April 20, 6:00 p.m.
Virtual Event

Emily Bernard is the author of Black is the Body: Stories from My Mother's Time and Mine, which was named one of the best books of 2019 by Kirkus Reviews and National Public Radio. Black is the Body won the 2020 Los Angeles Times Christopher Isherwood Prize for autobiographical prose. Emily’s previous works include: Remember Me to Harlem: The Letters of Langston Hughes and Carl Van Vechten, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; and Some of My Best Friends: Writings on Interracial Friendship, which was chosen by the New York Public Library as a Book for the Teen Age; and, with Deborah Willis, Michelle Obama: The First Lady in Photographs, which received a 2010 NAACP Image Award. Her work has appeared in: O the Oprah Magazine, Harper’s, The New Republic,, Best American Essays, Best African American Essays, and Best of Creative Nonfiction. She has received fellowships from the Alphonse A. Fletcher Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the MacDowell Colony, the Vermont Arts Council, and the W. E. B. DuBois Institute at Harvard University. Emily was the James Weldon Johnson Senior Research Fellow in African American Studies at Yale University. She is the Julian Lindsay Green and Gold Professor of English at the University of Vermont, and a 2020 Andrew Carnegie Fellow. Emily lives in South Burlington, Vermont with her husband and twin daughters.


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