Friday, May 1, 2015

Meet the Amazons of the Mediterranean

Michelle Alfano is the former Associate Editor-in-Chief with the literary quarterly Descant and the Founder of the (Not So) Nice Italian Girls & Friends Reading Series. Her novella Made Up of Arias (Blaurock Press) won the 2010 Bressani Prize for Short Fiction. She was recently featured in the documentary Saturnia featured on OMNI-TV and at the Moving Images Film Festival. She is currently at work at a new novel entitled Destiny, Think of Me While You Sleep and a memoir entitled The Unfinished Dollhouse.

Sandra Battaglini
 is an award winning stand-up comic, actor/writer and makes her directorial debut with Chinatown. She is the 2013 Canadian Comedy Award winner for her solo show, Classy Lady, directed by Phil Luzi, that premiered in Toronto in 2012. Past performances include, Hard Headed Woman (Canadian Comedy Award Winner 2007), Small Battalion of Soldiers (Canadian Comedy Award Nomination). She's toured with Yuk Yuks and Absolute Comedy and co-hosts one of Toronto’s most alternative comedy nights, Family Slides with Phil Luzi. Sandra appears in David Cronenberg's latest feature, Maps to the Stars that premiered at TIFF in 2014.

Carmela Circelli has been teaching, on contract, in the Humanities and Philosophy departments of York University since 1990. She also works as a psychotherapist in private practice in Toronto. Last year she published a philosophical memoir with Quattro Books titled Sweet Nothing: An Elemental Case for Taking our Time, and is currently working on a novel, tentatively titled The Last of the Daydreamers.

Bruna Di Giuseppe-Bertoni was born in Rome Italy and immigrated with her family to Canada in 1964. Painting, poetry and creative writing has been a passion all her life. She has won literary awards for her poetry in Italian. She has published in Italian and English and her stories are in many anthologies.

Sonia Di Placido
 is a poet, playwright, writer, actor and artist currently completing an MA. A graduate of the Ryerson University Theatre School and with an Hons. Humanities, York University, Sonia has experience as a Supernumerary with the Canadian Opera Company, is a member of the Association of Italian Canadian Writers and The League of Canadian Poets. She has published chapbooks, poetry and profile pieces, interviews and reviews, in literary (print and online) journals as well as various anthologies such as Carousel Magazine, The Toronto Quarterly Blog, The Puritan, Jacket2 and recently, The California Journal of Women Writers. Her first book of poetry Exaltation in Cadmium Red (Guernica Editions, 2012).

Josie Di Sciascio-Andrews has written four collections of poetry: The Whispers of Stones, Sea Glass, The Red Accordion and Letters from the Singularity. Nature and one's place in it, memory and social justice are her muse. Josie lives, teaches and writes in Oakville.

Silvia Falsaperla is a graduate of the University of Toronto. She lived and worked in Florence, Italy for over ten years. She is an English-language instructor for international students.

Nicole Haldoupis is a writer, editor and designer from Toronto. She is currently living in Saskatoon, working towards an M.F.A. in Writing. She’s had fiction and poetry published in The Quilliad and (parenthetical), reviews in Existere and on the Descant blog, and she co-created the Toronto-based literary magazine, untethered.

Bianca Lakoseljac is the author of a novel, Summer of the Dancing Bear (Guernica Editions, 2012), a collection of stories Bridge in the Rain (2010), and a book of poetry, Memoirs of a Praying Mantis (2009). She sits on the Book and Periodical Council’s Freedom of Expression Committee. Her work has been published in literary journals and anthologies such as: 50+ Poems for Gordon Lightfoot; Inanna Publications’ Canadian Women’s Studies; and War of 1812 Poetry and Prose. She is past president of the Canadian Authors Association, Toronto Branch, has taught at Ryerson University and Humber College, and has served as juror for various literary contests. Bianca gives creative writing workshops at libraries and writers’ festivals.

Darlene Madott is the author of seven books. Her collection Stations of the Heart (Exile Editions, 2013) won the Bressani Literary Award for fiction in 2014, and includes “Waiting” shortlisted for the Gloria Vanderbilt/Carter V. Cooper prize in 2012. The title story of Making Olives and Other Family Secrets (Ripasso) (Longbridge, 2014) won the Bressani in 2008, and includes “Vivi’s Florentine Scarf,” winner of the 2002 Paolucci Prize. Her website is

Gianna Patriarca is the award winning author of nine books. Gianna’s work is extensively anthologized and on the course list of universities in Canada, USA and Italy.  She is featured in numerous documentaries, and her work has been adapted for stage and radio drama.  Her first book Italian Women and Other Tragedies is in its fourth printing and has been translated into Italian. She is working on a book of short stories.

Giovanna Riccio is a Toronto poet whose work has appeared in newspapers, journals, magazines, and a number of anthologies. She is the author of the chapbook, Vittorio (Lyricalmyrical Press, 2010) and Strong Bread, (Quattro Books, 2011). Her poems have been translated into Romanian and Italian.

Cristina Rizzuto
 is the award-winning author of The Music Makers (Blaurock Press, 2012). A traveller, bibliophile, and hospitality professional, she is a Trustee on the Vaughan Public Library Board, and 2014 Artist-in-Residence in Chianti, Tuscany. Her writing has been published in Ottawa Arts Review, FEMMELDEHYDE, The Florentine, Dragnet Magazine, Lantern Magazine, CBC Canada Writes, and in various anthologies. She lives in Toronto, and can be found online at or @crisrizz

Daniela Saioni is a comic who has been featured on CBC's Laugh Out Loud and is a regular in Toronto's storytelling scene. She served as Associate Director on A Russell Peters Christmas Special, has acted in various film and TV shows and produces live comedy shows, including West End Girls and Bocche Fresche.

Tina Tzatzanis
 is a teacher-librarian at an elementary school in Toronto. She is currently working on the first draft of her first novel about a young woman in a small Greek village during the 50s and 60s whose life is altered by the Fates and splits into three distinct paths. She is of Greek and Irish descent and is married to the Greek man of her dreams. They live with their two fabulous teenagers and the neighbours’ cat that thinks she is theirs.

With Special Musical Guest: 

Nigel Barnes is a singer/songwriter, who writes songs and then sings them. He finds it works best that way. He released a CD in 2006, called It Is What It Is. He is in a new band playing some of his songs and some covers. They are still trying to decide on a name, but are having a good time. Nigel has been performing on and off since he was about thirteen years old. Let's not talk about how long that is, but over the years he has had the privilege to share a stage with some wonderful people, many of whom have become his friends.