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Biography of Tony Ardizzone

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Biography of Tony
Ardizzone


Norfolk, Virginia Tony Ardizzone was born and raised on the North Side of Chicago. He attended grammar school at Saint Gregory the Great parish, where he served as an altar boy and harbored hopes of someday becoming a priest, and then went to Saint George High School, where the Christian Brothers dispelled all notions that he was worthy. In 1971 he graduated with a BA in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which withheld formal issue of his degree due to his participation in a peaceful, nonviolent anti-war campus protest (labeled by the press as the "Champaign 39"). In 1975 he received a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Bowling Green State University, where he worked with the writers Philip F. O'Connor, Robert Early, and John Clellon Holmes. Ardizzone also completed a year of graduate study in English (1972-73) at the University of Illinois at Chicago, working with Michael Anania, John Frederick Nims, Eugene Wildman, and Ralph J. Mills.

Ardizzone is the author of eight books of fiction. His fourth novel, The Whale Chaser, was published in 2010 and will be released in paperback by Chicago Review Press in Spring 2015. He edited the anthology The Habit of Art: Best Stories from the Indiana University Fiction Workshop and served as the managing editor of three volumes of the Intro series, published by the Association of Writers and Writing Programs. He also wrote the foreword to the paperback edition of Raymond DeCapite's classic novel The Coming of Fabrizze, which was re-released in 2010 by Kent State University Press.

Ardizzone has recently completed work on a collection of interconnected stories set in Rome, currently under consideration. A paperback edition of his first book of stories, The Evening News, was published in 2013 by the University of Georgia Press. After having taught in the creative writing program at Indiana University, where he was named Chancellor's Professor of English, he relocated to Portland, Oregon, in 2013.

His published books:

  • The Whale Chaser (novel). Chicago: Academy Chicago Publishers, 2010; paperback edition, Chicago Review Press, Spring 2015.
  • The Habit of Art: Best Stories from the Indiana University Fiction Workshop (anthology). Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005.
  • In the Garden of Papa Santuzzu (novel). New York: Picador USA/St. Martin's Press, 1999; paperback edition 2000.
  • Taking It Home: Stories from the Neighborhood. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1996. Finalist for the 1996 Paterson Fiction Prize.
  • Larabi's Ox: Stories of Morocco. Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 1992. Awarded the 1992 Milkweed National Fiction Prize, the 1992 Chicago Foundation for Literature Award for Fiction sponsored by the Friends of Literature, and a Pushcart Prize.
  • The Evening News: Stories. Athens and London: University of Georgia Press, 1986; paperback edition 2013. Awarded the 1986 Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction.
  • Heart of the Order (novel). New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1986. Awarded the 1986 Virginia Prize for Fiction, and named one of the 10 Best Sports Books 1986 by The National Sports Review.
  • Intro 12 (anthology of fiction and poetry). Norfolk: Associated Writing Programs, 1981.
  • Intro 11 (anthology of fiction and poetry). Norfolk: Associated Writing Programs, 1980.
  • Intro 10 (anthology of fiction and poetry). New York: Hendel & Reinke, 1979.
  • In the Name of the Father (novel). Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, 1978.

Ardizzone's short stories and occasional personal essays have appeared in over forty literary magazines, including TriQuarterly, The Georgia Review, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Chicago Review, Mississippi Review, Witness, Agni, The Gettysburg Review, Epoch, The Texas Quarterly, Shenandoah, Many Mountains Moving, The Sonora Review, High Plains Literary Review, The Louisville Review, and The Carolina Quarterly. His short fiction has received the Pushcart Prize, the Lawrence Foundation Award, the Bruno Arcudi Literature Prize, the Prairie Schooner Readers' Choice Award, the Black Warrior Review Literary Award in Fiction, the Cream City Review Editors' Award in Nonfiction, and several citations in the annual anthologies Best American Short Stories and The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses. In both 1985 and 1990 he was awarded an Individual Artist Fellowship in Fiction by the National Endowment for the Arts.

His short stories are now being translated into Italian and published in various literary journals in Italy. In Fall 2011 a critical essay discussing his work, "Tony Ardizzone e il Dettaglio Essenziale," along with translations of two of his short stories -- all written by the scholar Carla Francellini (Department of Comparative Literature and Literary Translation, University of Siena) -- were published in the literary journal Atti Impuri: Luogo di Scritture. Translations of three more of his short stories appeared in late 2012 in the anthology Uè Paisà: Racconti dall'Identità Italoamericana, published by Manni Editori (San Cesario di Lecce). Another of his stories, translated by Franco Nasi, appeared in the journal Lo Stato delle Cose: Pensiero Critico & Scritture.

His stories have also been selected for inclusion in several anthologies (partial list):

  • Stories from the Flannery O'Connor Award: A 30th Anniversary Anthology, the Early Years. Athens and London: University of Georgia Press, 2013.
  • Italian Women in Chicago. Chicago: Italian Cultural Center at Casa Italia, 2013.
  • Uè Paisà: Racconti dall'Identità Italoamericana. San Cesario di Lecce, Italy: Manni Editori, 2012.
  • Reconstructing Italians in Chicago: Thirty Authors in Search of Roots and Branches. Chicago: Italian Cultural Center at Casa Italia, 2011.
  • Twenty Years in Utopia: The RopeWalk Writers Retreat Anthology. Evansville: University of Southern Indiana Press, 2009.
  • Wild Dreams: The Best of Italian Americana. Bronx, New York: Fordham University Press, 2008.
  • Sweet Lemons: Writings with a Sicilian Accent. New York: Legas Books, 2004.
  • The Italian American Reader: A Collection of Outstanding Fiction, Memoirs, Journalism, Essays, and Poetry. New York: William Morrow & Company, 2003; paperback edition, New York: Harper Paperbacks, 2005.
  • Don't Tell Mama! The Penguin Anthology of Italian American Writing. New York: Penguin Books, 2002.
  • Best of Prairie Schooner: Fiction and Poetry. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2001.
  • From the Margin: Writings in Italian Americana. Lafayette: Purdue University Press, revised edition, 2001.
  • Smokestacks & Skyscrapers: An Anthology of Chicago Writing. Chicago: Wild Onion Books/Loyola Press, 1999.
  • Identity Lessons: Contemporary Writing about Learning to be American. New York: Penguin Books, 1999.
  • Fiction: An Introduction to the Short Story. Chicago: NTC/Contemporary Publishing Group, 1999.
  • Fiction: The Elements of the Story Story. Chicago: NTC/Contemporary Publishing Group, 1999.
  • New Worlds of Literature: Writings from America's Many Cultures. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2nd edition, 1994.
  • Bless Me Father: Stories of Catholic Childhood. New York: Plume/Penguin Books, 1994.
  • The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses. Wainscott, New York: The Pushcart Press, 1993; paperback edition, New York: Touchstone/Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1994.
  • Hear My Voice: A Multicultural Anthology of Literature from the United States. New York: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1993.
  • Sarajevo: An Anthology for Bosnian Relief. Elgin, Illinois: Elgin Community College Press, 1993.
  • The Flannery O'Connor Award: Selected Stories. Athens and London: University of Georgia Press, 1992; paperback edition, 1993.
  • West Side Stories. Chicago: City Stoop Press, 1992.
  • From the Margin: Writings in Italian Americana. Lafayette: Purdue University Press, 1991; paperback edition, 1992.
  • New Chicago Stories. Chicago: City Stoop Press, 1990.
  • New Worlds of Literature. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1989.
Zagora, Morocco, 1988

His fiction has been discussed in several critical texts, including By the Breath of Their Mouths: Narratives of Resistance in Italian America, by Mary Jo Bona; Italian Signs, American Streets: The Evolution of Italian American Narrative, by Fred Gardaphé; La Storia: Five Centuries of the Italian American Experience, by Jerre Mangione and Ben Moreale; The Italian American Heritage: A Companion to Literature and Arts, by Pellegino D'Acierno; From Wiseguys to Wise Men: The Gangster and Italian American Masculinities, by Fred Gardaphé; Beyond "The Godfather": Italian American Writers on the Real Italian American Experience, by A. Kenneth Ciongoli and Jay Parini; A Semiotic of Ethnicity: In(Re)cognition of the Italian/American Writer, by Anthony Julian Tamburri; Dagoes Read: Tradition and the Italian/American Writer, by Fred Gardaphé; Italy in Early American Cinema: Race, Landscape, and the Picturesque, by Giorgio Bertellini; Reconstructing Italians in Chicago: Thirty Authors in Search of Roots and Branches, ed. by Dominic Candeloro; and The Cambridge Companion to American Crime Fiction, ed. by Catherine Ross Nickerson. A recent issue of Voices in Italian Americana (Fall 2012) includes a lengthy essay about his work, "When Details Truly Matter: the Fiction of Tony Ardizzone," by Italian scholar Carla Francellini.

Ardizzone's novels and short stories have also been the subject of doctoral dissertations in the U.S., Italy, and Greece, and his fiction was featured in the award-winning documentary And They Came to Chicago: The Italian American Legacy, narrated by Joe Mantegna and broadcast on PBS.

Ardizzone has written book reviews over a three-year period for The Virginian Pilot and Ledger Star, coordinated several week-long annual campus literary festivals, served as a Board Member of the City of Norfolk Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and worked with various writers organizations including PEN South and two terms (1983-87 and 1989-92) on the Board of Directors of the Associated Writing Programs. In 1989 he revived AWP's Intro intitiative and founded the AWP Intro Journals Project, serving as the series' Managing Editor until 1991.

He has taught at Saint Mary's Center for Learning (Chicago), Bowling Green State University, Old Dominion University, the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Vermont College, and Indiana University. He founded Old Dominion University's creative writing program and for nine years served as its program director as well as the frequent director of its annual week-long literary festival. He then taught at Indiana, where he was named Chancellor's Professor of English and where he taught courses in creative writing, the craft of fiction, 20th century American fiction, ethnic American literature, creative writing pedagogy, and literary interpretation. He also served as administrative consultant to the Indiana Review and two terms as Director of the MFA in Creative Writing Program. He was the recipient of a 2012 Trustees Award for Teaching, and the 2005 Tracy M. Sonneborn Award, given annually to an Indiana University faculty member for exemplary research and teaching. His Sonneborn lecture, "The Germ of the Story: Process and Metaphor in the Writing of Fiction," is available for viewing courtesy of IU Broadcasting.

In 1985 Ardizzone taught at Mohammed V University in Rabat, Morocco, as part of a faculty exchange sponsored by the United States Information Agency. While in Morocco he lectured on the craft of fiction and also gave readings and lectures at universities in Casablanca, Rabat, and Fez. He returned to Morocco during the summer of 1988 for further travel and research for his interconnected short story collection Larabi's Ox. In the fall 1988 he participated in an American Studies conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia, where he lectured on the role of baseball in American culture and gave readings from his baseball novel Heart of the Order. More recently he has traveled repeatedly to Rome, Italy, for research on a book of interconnected short stories set there. Since 1975 Ardizzone has conducted creative writing workshops and given readings and lectures on the craft of writing and related literary topics at dozens of North American colleges and universities.


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