Faculty member Christopher Castellani speaks with Publisher’s Weekly about his novels and his work as director of Boston’s Grub Street center for creative writing.


Over the past decade, Christopher Castellani—artistic director of Grub Street in Boston, one of the country’s largest literary centers—has written a trio of novels about an Italian immigrant family, the Grassos, a family much like his own. Beginning with his first novel, A Kiss for Maddalena (Algonquin, 2003), winner of a Massachusetts Book Award and a Top Ten BookSense pick; then The Saint of Lost Things (Algonquin, 2005), long-listed for the IMPAC/Dublin Award; and now All This Talk of Love, set for release in February by Algonquin, he has traced the lives of Antonio and Maddalena Grasso, from their roots in a small village in Italy to Delaware. At the same time, he has been working on Grub Street, changing it to keep pace with the shifts roiling the publishing world.

Castellani’s books, which can each be read as stand-alones, cover three generations of the Grasso clan and are mostly told from the viewpoint of the son, Frankie. Castellani, like Frankie, was the only one of his nearly 100 Delaware relatives to move more than two hours from home. It’s not that the books are autobiographical per se, but they have the ring of truth. “There are elements that are real,” said Castellani. “[There are] snippets of conversations and themes that come from personal experience. Sometimes I can’t remember what is real and what isn’t.” …[Keep Reading]…

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