My Interview with Sicilian American Photographer Giuseppe Zarba for his “Bedda Sicilia” Blog
A few weeks ago, I read an interview on the online site, http://www.sicilianconnections.com with the Sicilian born, American author FRANCESCA MIGNOSA whose recent book, ‘MY SICILY” just garnered her her second Italian literary award, ‘Sicilia Mondo 2013″. This was not only for her writing but for her overall ambassadorship in promoting Sicilia to the world. As soon as I saw the article, I said, “I have to get this book”. It didn’t take long before I received an email saying she was giving a talk about her book and growing up in Sicily, at the Italian American Museum in NYC! Needless to say, I went and was ecstatic to see her relate her overwhelming love for the island of her birth expressed in every word, phrase and sentence she so eloquently spoke.
After a lovely conversation and a few e mails, I asked her if she wouldn’t mind speaking to my audience to share her passion and promote what she is doing to as wide an audience as possible.
I started by asking her to tell us a little about her life and how it influenced her desire to write this book and to promote Sicilia in general.
FM. “I was born and raised in Augusta, Sicilia from a Sicilian father and a Sicilian American mother which probably helps to explain my geographical connection to both Sicilia and America. I can’t really explain where my passion for writing came from except to say, I received my first diary book when I was five. I never stopped writing since then and went on to receive a Masters in Screenwriting ( among others). I taught screenwriting and creative writing as well as working as a journalist and editor in chief of a prominent newspaper in Ohio where my family settled upon emigrating. A year and a half ago, I decided to write my first book and dedicate it to my island, a magical place with which I am still so connected. At some point, my pen just took over and guided me in trying to convey all my deeply felt emotions regarding the culture, identity and spirit of Sicilia”.
JZ. Being 16 at the time of emigrating here, what were the most difficult aspects of transitioning to this culture?
FM My sister and I were brought up in a multicultural, multilingual home, where Italian, Sicilian, English and French were spoken so languages were a normal part of our development I can say they didn’t pose any problems. My mom was a language teacher and we often had Study Abroad Students in our town constantly exposing us to various cultures and languages. We always lived in two cultures so my transition was just a matter of geography basically. It was emotional in the sense of us having to leave our childhood friends ( we were only 16 and 14 at the time). It took us about three months for the initial culture shock to wear of but we were fine because we really did live in two cultures, often spending one to three months on vacation here in America”.
JZ You describe your book as a “Personal journey”. Could you explain?
FM The title, “MY SICILY” came about because Sicily is NOT mine but belongs to all Sicilians, those who stayed and those who left as well as anyone who has an appreciation and love for her and all the things the island is. The title is because it is a book of my personal memories, reflections, observations and emotions expressed through my favorite places. The fact that I spent one and a half years researching the history, architecture, literature and cultural aspects of the places most important to me hopefully makes this educational as well.
JZ. Your book has been very well received in Sicily. Please tell us about this.
FM In October 2012, one month after the book was published, I received the prestigious, Italian Literary Award,”SICILIA MONDO 2013″. My book is just a simple, genuine and transparent love letter to Sicily, an island that even far away, still speaks to me very quietly, giving me so much joy and invigorating me every time I return. There are proposals to translate my book into Italian but I would like to do that myself when I have the time. This first book has resulted in so many interviews with newspapers and periodicals around the world so, again, I must find the time.
JZ What projects are you involved in now and what do you have in mind? How can lovers of Sicilian culture assist?
FM Right now Giuseppe, I am just writing. This entire year will be dedicated to ‘My Sicily” book tours. The seeds are being planted for my second book but for now, you can follow me on my blog at:
https://francescamignosa.wordpress.com You can also purchase my book here as well.
I am also on Facebook Francesca V. Mignosa ( author)
JZ Is there anything you would like to add to help your message get to as wide an audience as possible?
FM I hope you will all visit Sicily one day soon. If you would like to travel with me, I will be leading a, “DREAMY ISLAND ESCAPE” to Sicily, The Aeolian Islands, Malta and Ponza in August 2013.
You can e mail me for additional information at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you so much Francesca for your time, passion and love of Sicily. Buona fortuna !
Direct Link to My Interview on Bedda Sicilia: