Celebrating Italian Heritage

By Francis A. Wilson —

In honor of Italian Heritage onth a few students, professors, and Italian Americans came together to celebrate their rich heritage along with their passion for memoir writing. The event was held in Hepburn Hall, Room 202, on Tuesday October 25. The event was co-sponsored by the Office of the Dean of New Jersey City University’s William J. Maxwell College of Arts and Sciences, and the University’s Department of English.

The event was moderated by current NJCU student Krystal Sital, an English major and Psychology minor, and showcased such talent as Christina Forte, an NJCU senior also majoring in English and Secondary Education, Dr. Edvige Giunta, NJCU english professor, and Dr. Tom Tomasulo, also a professor at NJCU.

So what is memoir writing? Memoir writing is an account of one’s personal experiences, or the published record of the proceedings of a group or organization, or a biography or biographical sketch.

Christina Forte, 23, and student at NJCU is a writer currently dotting her I’s and crossing her T’s on her final semester at NJCU. She is an English Literature major, and she read her piece entitled “We’ll Talk when I get Home,” where in it Christina delves deep into her personal life to get through an otherwise problematic event. She spoke clearly, and with ease, but when asked later about speaking she had this to say: “This was my first time speaking in person and I am pretty excited about being chosen for this.” Public speaking is tough, but she definitely made it look easy. But what was it about memoir and memoir writing that was attracting so much attention, and such devote followers? “I was always an English major, but everything changed when Advanced Memoir came along.”

The refreshment table was the only downside to the event. Just before the second speaker came on, there wasn’t anything left to snack or nibble on. Leave it to a bunch of English majors to clear a table of free food. However, it was Dr. Edvige Giunta’s turn at bat, and the crowd looked eager.

Dr. Giunta is a professor at NJCU, and an accomplished writer. She also happens to be the Memoir professor, if you are interested in memoir or memoir writing she is the person to talk to. Dr. Giunta read from her current memoir, and the crowd was ecstatic. Later when asked about memoir writing she said something peculiar: “Memoir writing can be seductive, and very dangerous.” It is true, memoir writing is dangerous, it is seductive, and most of all it is a gateway to areas of self that lie untouched and undiscovered.

Writing is a powerful creature. It can take you where you want to go, or it can take you to places you never wanted to go back to. This was the reason why the event and events like this are held. These events are gatherings for likeminded people, writers, professors, and other enthusiasts. This event was aimed toward writers, and writing with the express goal of bringing all of the elements together in order to celebrate our craft. It is all about the power of transformation that writing and writing memoir can bring about.