In Memoriam - Helen Barolini
The Italian Welfare League mourns the passing of noted Italian American author Helen Barolini. Her focus on the role of Italian American women in her writings broke the glass ceiling for their acceptance in literature and inclusion in the cultural tapestry of American history. Helen was an IWL Luncheon honoree in 2003.
The following are excerpts from that Luncheon's journal.
Born and raised in Syracuse, New York, Helen Barolini's extensive career spanned most every field of writing. Starting out as an advertising copywriter straight out of college, she went on to journalism, translations, dram
atizations, and writing . non-fiction and prize-winning essays before completing her first novel, Umbertina, a seminal work long considered a classic. Awarded a Carnegie Grant for the Oral History Program at Columbia University, she went on to serve as project-director for New York State's Historians in Residence Program, set up oral history programs, and conducted workshops on the subject for writers.
The author's second book, The Dream Book: an Anthology of Writings by Italian American Women, received acclaim as a pioneering effort and won an American Book Award. Novelist Alice Walker called it "an impassioned and magnificent contribution ... a book of heroic recovery and affirmation."