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Invite an Author

Every month, we highlight an author in an initiative called "BCCLS Invite an Author". Many of these authors are happy to visit BCCLS libraries to chat with your book clubs or present programs either in person or via Skype. You can email them directly for more information or to schedule a library visit.

Previous Authors

December 2014

Pam Jenoff

Photo © Deborah Lopez.


Maria Laurino


    marlaurino @


Letter of Introduction:

Dear Colleagues:

This month’s Invite an Author will, I think, be someone of great interest to many of you for potential programs at your libraries.

I am delighted to present Maria Laurino as BCCLS Invite an Author for December 2014.

Maria Laurino is the author of The Italian Americans: A History, the companion book to a forthcoming PBS documentary series, as well as the memoirs, Old World Daughter, New World Mother, a meditation on contemporary feminism, and the national bestseller, Were You Always an Italian?, an exploration of ethnic identity.

Laurino began her career as a staff writer at the Village Voice. She left the Voice to serve as the chief speechwriter to former New York City Mayor David N. Dinkins.

Laurino’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Nation,, and numerous publications. Her essays have been widely anthologized, including in the Norton Reader. In addition to writing books, Laurino continues her work as a speechwriter, serving as Assistant to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and she teaches creative nonfiction in the undergraduate writing program at New York University. Laurino is a graduate of Georgetown University, where she double majored in English and Government; she holds an M.A. from New York University in English and American literature. She lives in New York City with her husband and son.

Quite a resumé, huh?

On The Italian Americans: A History:

"Laurino (Were You Always Italian?) uses in-depth research to focus on individual stories to tell the Italian-American story. Some spotlighted stories are well known, like those about anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti, New York City mayor Fiorello La Guardia, and Frank Sinatra. But the more obscure tales have more impact, like those about Angela Bambace, one of the first union leaders, and A.P. Giannini, a banker who tried to help improve the lives of immigrants. Laurino wonderfully captures the history of Italians in America."

Publishers Weekly

On Old World Daughter, New World Mother:

"Laurino deftly tells her story, while succinctly expressing a feminist's perspective on motherhood and explaining how much further we have to go as a country in order to honor every woman's work.."

Publishers Weekly

"Along the way, she raises essential identity issues: Is there a healthy side to dependency? Why does this nation of immigrants overglorify rugged individualism and freedom? Does feminism fail mothers and children? Sure to spark discussion."


Ms. Laurino will not charge BCCLS libraries for visits but does request a stipend for travel expenses from NYC. Please contact her directly at marlaurino @

So many possibilities for discussions. I hope lots of you will take a look at Ms. Laurino’s well-reviewed books and invite her to your libraries for what will surely be a thought-provoking event generating lots of profound conversations.

Warmest regards,