Thursday, 7:30 pm EDT March 25, 2021
Online via Zoom
Nicola DeRobertis-Theye and Ruchika Tomar, both 2015 Emerging Writer Fellows, are reuniting to celebrate the release of DeRobertis-Theye’s debut novel. Due out on March 23, The Vietri Project follows a Berkeley bookseller who finds herself thrust into Rome society during an investigation into a mysterious foreign customer’s life and history.
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Nicola DeRobertis-Theye was an Emerging Writing Fellow at The Center for Fiction, and her work has been published by Agni, Electric Literature and LitHub. A native of Oakland, CA and a graduate of UC Berkeley, she received an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington where she was the fiction editor of Ecotone. She currently works at a New York publishing house. A dual Italian-American citizen, she has researched the book throughout trips to Italy over the last several years.
Ruchika Tomar is the author of A Prayer for Travelers, which won the 2019 PEN/ Hemingway award for Debut Novel. She holds a BA in English Literature from the University of California Irvine, an MFA in Fiction from Columbia University, and has received fellowships from The Center for Fiction, The MacDowell Colony, Vermont Studio Center, and Stanford University, where she was a former Stegner Fellow and Jones Lecturer.
The Vietri Project
By Nicola DeRobertis-Theye
Published by HarperCollins
Working at a bookstore in Berkeley in the years after college, Gabriele becomes intrigued by the orders of signor Vietri, a customer from Rome whose numerous purchases grow increasingly mystical and esoteric. Restless and uncertain of her future, Gabriele quits her job and, landing in Rome, decides to look up Vietri. Unable to locate him, she begins a quest to unearth the well-concealed facts of his life.
Following a trail of obituaries and military records, a memoir of life in a village forgotten by modernity, and the court records of a communist murder trial, Gabriele meets an eclectic assortment of the city’s inhabitants, from the widow of an Italian prisoner of war to members of a generation set adrift by the financial crisis. Each encounter draws her unexpectedly closer to her own painful past and complicated family history—an Italian mother diagnosed with schizophrenia and institutionalized during her childhood, and an extended family in Rome still recovering from the losses and betrayals in their past. Through these voices and histories, Gabriele will discover what it means to be a person in the world; a member of a family and a citizen of a country—and how reconciling these stories may be the key to understanding her own.
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