About the Author

Betty on a bikeTo My Piasani

I was born in Chicago ( you know, the city with the big shoulders, the city unlike New York)on the 3rd of August, a month known for its terrible humidity, not the best month to get born on.  I was raised in the Italian neighborhood of Cicero (you know, the town west of the loop, known for its corruption, bigotry and gangsters).

When I was five we moved to LA.  Route 66 all the way.    Glitter city won my heart and the shine has never worn off, even though we moved back to Chi town when I was ten.  That’s when I became a moody, morose teen, dropped out of high school, married, had six children, divorced when my youngest was two, went to five colleges and quit each one just before graduating.  It was Professor Whitson at Metropolitan State University that convinced me I didn’t have to leave my Italian working class identity at the door.   I graduated with an English degree from Metro State University and continued mothering for years on end.

The moments that sustained me through all the tough times besides my children, were reading and writing.

The Edge of Cicero, is my first novel in a trilogy about Italians.  It has the taste and flavor of Chicago during the 1950’s as well as the taste and flavor of Italian cooking. The second book in the trilogy that I am working on is about Italians in Chicago during the turbulent 60’s.  The third book is about the people they left behind.

Hopefully, after this, I will have exorcised myself of the need to write about Italians.  I’ve felt called to this task because there isn’t a literary body of work by Italian American women that explores the experiences of Italian women  as heroines in novels, and I had the desire to fill the “litany of silence,” Helen Barolini talks about in The Dream Book.

I have had short stories published in the Wisconsin Women’s Journal, Because We’re Women, and have a short story about to be published in an anthology of women’s stories of fertility.


Betty Lou

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