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Acclaimed Italian Writer-Activist Roberto Saviano to Speak at Dickinson College

Roberto Saviano. Photo courtesy of Riccardo Ghilardi.

Roberto Saviano. Photo courtesy of Riccardo Ghilardi.

Saviano to present reading, book signing

by Craig Layne

Dickinson has named Mafia exposé author Roberto Saviano the 2019-20 recipient of The Harold and Ethel L. Stellfox Visiting Scholars and Writers Program Award. During his upcoming residency at Dickinson, Saviano will visit classes and meet with students. He will also present a public reading followed by a book signing and reception, on Wednesday, March 4, at 7 p.m. in the Anita Tuvin Schlechter (ATS) Auditorium. 

Saviano is known for his breakout work, Gomorrah, an exposé of organized crime in Naples, Italy. Since its publication in 2006, Saviano has been living under armed guard to counter the death threats he faces from the Neapolitan Mafia. He continues his fight against crime through his books, public lectures, articles and television appearances.

His writings also include Piranhas, a novel about teenage mafiosos, and ZeroZeroZero, an investigation of the global cocaine trade that has recently been adapted into a TV series for Amazon Prime Video. Gomorrah has also been adapted into an Italian film and a TV series of the same name. Saviano will read from both Gomorrah and Piranhas during his talk at Dickinson.

The Stellfox Visiting Scholars and Writers Program is a gift from Jean Louise Stellfox, a 1960 graduate of Dickinson who was inspired to become an English teacher after meeting Robert Frost during the poet’s visit to the college in 1959. When Stellfox died tragically in 2003, her estate provided $1.5 million to the college to continue her mission of inspiring students by bringing renowned literary figures to campus. Stellfox named the program in honor of her parents, Harold and Ethel L. Stellfox.

Saviano is the 15th esteemed writer to serve in a Stellfox residency at Dickinson. Previous honorees include Pulitzer Prize-winning playwrights Edward Albee and John Patrick Shanley; Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa; Pulitzer Prize-winning poets Rita Dove and Paul Muldoon; Guggenheim Fellow Naomi Shihab Nye; National Book Award-winner and MacArthur Fellow Edwidge Danticat; Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang; and Booker Prize-winning authors Ian McEwan and Margaret Atwood.

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Published February 21, 2020