In this episode of The Italian American Podcast episode, we speak with Marianne Leone who is an actress and an author. She wrote an inspirational book about her son (who she lost way too early) entitled Jesse: A Mother’s Story (Simon & Schuster) and then a second book entitled Ma Speaks Up: And a First-Generation Daughter Talks Back (Beacon Press) about growing up with an Italian immigrant mother. In the episode, she talks her son and what she learned from him. She also talks about grief, her writing, and about her role on the Sopranos.
In the stories segment, we talk to a talented author, Olivia Kate Cerrone, who wrote a book called the Hunger Saint (Bordighera Press) that focuses on the Carusi (children in Sicily who were forced to work in the sulfur mines at very young ages). Cerrone talks about this topic in detail and what led her to write this book.
“Sometimes, only one person is missing, and the whole world seems depopulated.”–Alphonse de Lamartine, Méditations Poétiques
- “It was only when I started learning Italian that I understood what my mother had been screaming at me.” – Marianne Leone
- “I wrote the book to spend time with my son.” – Marianne Leone
- “Tell any Italian that you only have six weeks to grieve, and they will kick you out of their house.” – Anthony Fasano
- “My mother was so different, but I learned to appreciate her as I got older.” – Marianne Leone
- “When you are an immigrant, there’s the official story and then there is the real story.” – Marianne Leone
- “The Italian American generational gaps can be very difficult to grasp.” – Anthony Fasano
- “Stories that last will leave us a lasting impression and communicate a real sense of history.” – Olivia Kate Cerrone
About our Guests…
Marianne Leone is an actress, screenwriter, and essayist. Her essays and op-ed pieces have appeared in the Boston Globe, The Bark magazine, and WBUR’s Cognoscenti blog. She had a recurring role on HBO’s The Sopranos and has appeared in films by John Sayles, Martin Scorsese, Nancy Savoca, Michael Corrente, Larry David, and the Farrelly Brothers. She is married to the actor Chris Cooper. Her memoir, Jesse: A Mother’s Story (Simon & Schuster) is a chronicle of the remarkable life and untimely death of her child who died suddenly at age seventeen. Her latest book is Ma Speaks Up: And a First-Generation
Olivia Kate Cerrone
Olivia Kate Cerrone’s Pushcart Prize-nominated fiction won the Crab Orchard Review’s Jack Dyer Fiction Prize. She is at work on a novel called DISPLACED.
The Hunger Saint (Bordighera Press, 2017), a historical novella about the child miners of Sicily, was praised by Kirkus Reviews as “a well-crafted and affecting literary tale.” SPD Books also listed The Hunger Saint as a Fiction Bestseller for May, June, July & August 2017.
Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The Rumpus, The Brooklyn Rail, The Huffington Post, New South, the Berkeley Fiction Review, The MacGuffin, War, Literature and the Arts, JMWW, Word Riot, Paterson Literary Review and elsewhere.
2017 Holiday Recipe Contest
Cooking with Nonna
Marianne Leone’s Website
Marianne Leone’s Facebook Account
What My Immigrant Mother Would Say About President Trump WBUR Cognoscenti
IAP 35: Anthony Tamburri on supporting Italian-American art and culture
IAP 08: Were You Always an Italian? Maria Laurino on History, Identity, and Stereotypes
IAP 33: Rossella Rago on Cooking with Nonna and passing down traditions
Olivia Kate Cerrone’s Website
Barnes & Noble
|Ma Speaks Up
|Jesse: A Mother’s Story
|Murder In Matera
|Cooking with Nonna
|The Hunger Saint
|The Man Farthest Down
Anthony Fasano and Dolores Alfieri
Co-Hosts, The Italian American Podcast