When people ask me where I am from, I say I am from Naples, where I was born some time in the last century. Napoli remains my imaginary homeland. We moved a couple of times during my childhood, and ended up on the shores of Lake Como half-way through my high-school years, so as not to break with the tradition that I would never complete a course of study in the same place – or that’s what it seemed to my adolescent self. While I realize that these are hardly unusual experiences, or cultural clashes of any remarkable note, they have shaped the sense of who I am: I have always felt like an immigrant, a very privileged one, even before I came to the United Kingdom.
As an English and American Literature undergraduate in Bergamo, I got a place on an Erasmus exchange in Hull to study ‘Commonwealth Literatures’, as they were called back in the day. After a year teaching Italian in a community college in the Black Country, I went back to university and gained an MA in Postcolonial Studies, and a Ph.D. in English, both at Kent. My first ever publication considered the allusions to Dante in Derek Walcott’s Omeros. I love that my academic debut sails from the Mediterranean of ancient Greece, via medieval Italy, to the Caribbean, straddling different literary traditions, as well as centuries.
I have been working at Canterbury Christ Church University since 2005, as a specialist in modern and contemporary writing in English. For Wordsworth, I have curated Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, and Selected Stories (2015) and Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women and Good Wives (2020). The blog allows me to shake off the strictures of academic writing, without losing scholarly integrity. In my posts, I speak in a voice that is more authentically mine, not least because I can explore the intersection between literature and my personal experience. My pieces add up to a composite literary biography of sorts. For this, and for the opportunity to reach out to a wider audience, I am extremely grateful.