Laura Benedetti

Laura Benedetti is the Laura and Gaetano De Sole Professor of Contemporary Italian Culture at Georgetown University. The author of numerous volumes and essays that cover seven hundred years of Italian literature, from Dante to Elena Ferrante, she was awarded the Flaiano International Prize for her monograph The Tigress in the Snow: Motherhood and Literature in 20th-Century Italy, and has received grants and fellowships from the Renaissance Society of America, the Bogliasco Foundation, and the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation. A Country of Paper is her first novel, followed by Secondo Piano (Second Story).

Donatella Melucci

Donatella Melucci was born and raised in Italy where she earned her University degree (Laurea) in Foreign Languages and Literatures from the University of Bari.

She received a doctorate in Rhetoric/Composition & Linguistics from Arizona State University. As a lecturer at Arizona State University, she also served as coordinator for the lower and upper division of the undergraduate program. Now she is a full-time Teaching Professor at Georgetown University. Her fields of specialization are syntax and methodologies for teaching Italian as a second/foreign language. Her studies have also focused on the use of technology in foreign language classes. She is also interested in translation studies. At Arizona State University she participated in developing a new curriculum based on teaching language in context for the Italian Intermediate level classes. She also developed other courses to be delivered in class and online. She has presented several research papers at conferences in Italy and in the United States. Among her publications, she co-authored a custom workbook to accompany Ciao!, a textbook for elementary Italian. She also authored the Internet activities to accompany Con fantasia, a textbook for intermediate Italian published by Heinle-Thomson.
In 2009 she co-authored Da Capo, 7th edition, a language textbook for intermediate Italian. In 2009 she translated from Italian to English a book titled Ricchezza Francescana (Franciscan Wealth), written by Giacomo Todeschini, from Italian to English, which was published by The Franciscan Institute Publications, NY. In 2014 she co-authored Piazza: Luogo di incontri 1st edition, a language textbook for beginner/intermediate Italian. In 2015 she translated from Italian to English a book titled Keep calm e passeggia per Milano (Keep Calm and Enjoy Milan)

FEBRUARY CULTURAL EVENT: Thursday February 9th, 7pm

at the ICS Headquarters (4833 Rugby Ave. Bethesda).


Professor Laura Benedetti from Georgetown University presented A Country of Paper, the English translation of her first novel Un Paese di Carta, in conversation with Prof. Donatella Melucci.

A Country of Paper spans two countries (the United States and Italy), three generations of women (Alice, her daughter Jane and her granddaughter Sara), and more than sixty years, from World War II to 2011. It tackles issues of cultural identity, family ties, displacement, and loss as it follows Sara in her journey to L’Aquila, Italy, to fulfill her grandmother’s last wish. Her personal quest intersects with the town’s struggle to recover from the disastrous 2009 earthquake, as Sara painfully uncovers her family’s history while trying to find her bearings in a devastated urban landscape.