Calcagno, Anne 1957–

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Calcagno, Anne 1957–


Born November 14, 1957, in San Diego, CA; citizenship: U.S. and Italian; daughter of Louis (in business, also a consultant) and Kathryn (a teacher) Calcagno; married Leo Michael Fitzpatrick, September 7, 1986; children: Jessamyn C., Lucien G. Ethnicity: "White/mixed." Education: Williams College, B.A. (cum laude), 1979; University of Montana, M.F.A., 1984. Religion: Presbyterian. Hobbies and other interests: Gardening, wind surfing, travel writing.


Home—Chicago, IL. Office—School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 37 S. Wabash Ave., 7th Fl., Chicago, IL 60603. Agent—Jean Naggar, Jean Naggar Literary Agency, 216 E. 75th St., New York, NY 10021. E-mail—[email protected].


La Repubblica (newspaper), assistant reporter and simultaneous translator, 1981-82; School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, instructional associate, 1990-93; DePaul University, Chicago, lecturer, 1992-93, began as assistant professor, became associate professor of English, 1993-2005, and past director of Writers Reading Series; Scholl of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, teacher of writing, 2005—. North Park College, lecturer, 1989-91; American Conservatory of Music, lecturer, 1989-91; Northwestern University, guest writer-in-residence, 1993. Ragdale Foundation, guest writer in residence, 1990-94, 1998, 2003; Lake Forest College, guest artist, 1992-95; Urban Gateways, artist in residence, 1991-92. Guild Literary Complex, member of advisory board, 1991-94; judge of writing contests; public speaker; guest on radio programs; gives readings from her works.


Poets and Writers, Authors Guild, Authors League of America, Associated Writing Programs, Society of Midland Authors, Eritrean Youth Association (member of board of directors).


Fellow, National Endowment for the Arts, 1989; Illinois Arts Council, fellowship 1991, grants, 1991, 1994, literary award, 2003, for the short story "What's Yours?"; first prize, academic/literary category, Chicago Women in Publishing, 1991, for the story "Patricia's Jaw"; grants from Illinois Humanities Council and Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, 1992; James D. Phelan Award, San Francisco Foundation, 1993, for Pray for Yourself; Silver Medal, best travel book of the year, Foreward, for Travelers Tales: Italy.


Pray for Yourself (short stories), TriQuarterly (Evanston, IL), 1993.

(Editor) Travelers Tales: Italy, O'Reilly Publishers, 1998, 2nd edition published as Italy: True Stories of Life on the Road, Travelers' Tales (San Francisco, CA), 2001.

Work represented in anthologies, including American Fiction, edited by Louise Erdrich, Michael White, and Alan Davis, Birch Lane Press (New York, NY), 1991; Fiction of the Eighties, edited by Reg Gibbons and Susan Hahn, TriQuarterly (Evanston, IL), 1991; The Penguin Book of Italian American Writing; and The Milk of Almonds. Contributor of short stories, essays, articles, and reviews to periodicals, including New CityLiterary Supplement, North American Review, Slackwater Review, Denver Quarterly, River Oak Review, Chicago Tribune, New York Times, and Rhino.


Calcagno's work has been adapted for the multimedia performances "Something like a Risk," performed at Stories on Stage, in Chicago, IL, at Organic Theater, 1992; and "Story of My Weight," presented at Lexis/Praxis, in Chicago, at DePaul University, 1994.


Anne Calcagno once commented: "Is it the need to hallucinate, to lose oneself, to pretend to have escaped one's body? I'm not sure. But to enter the invented space becomes a need, as far as I can figure it, for a fiction writer. It happened when I was seven that I lost myself hunting for a diamond in the woods, a diamond on paper, in ink-made woods. My inventions became dear and real, worth the chase. Almost every response to my writing from high school on should have shut me up, though. The criticism certainly humbled me, which is good, since that is good preparation for this literary trip.

"Stubborn, perhaps with the right ‘grain of stupidity’ that Flannery O'Connor believed a fiction writer needs, I've kept writing. I've been employed as a proofreader, a copy editor, a copywriter, a simultaneous translator, a journalist, a waitress, an artist in the schools, an aerobics instructor, a grants writer, and an arts administrator. I became a tenured faculty member at DePaul University in Chicago." More recently Calcagno added: "In 2005 I resigned and joined the MFA-in-writing faculty at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago."

In her original essay, Calcagno wrote: "Winning a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and then an Illinois Arts Council fellowship gave me confidence against the odds and the final opportunity to finish a short story collection, Pray for Yourself, published in 1993. I cannot be more grateful for having received public funding. It is grievous that our country so undervalues art. We will pay for this in some way as a society; this is certain.

"My first novel [not yet published], Struck by Dina, tells the story of a Italian family's entry into and departure from Eritrea, one of the African regions colonized by Italy. Two large Italian migrations in the twentieth century (later and smaller than the wave of immigration to the United States) were to the Horn of Africa and to Saudi Arabia. Little has been written about the connections between this African and Arabian journey; hence my interest. In the New York Times Book Review and elsewhere, the relative paucity of Italian-American literature has been noted (as opposed to the prolific Italian-American output in film and the visual arts), So I put a solid Italian name into the fray. We'll see."



Chicago Sun Times, November 21, 1993, Delores Flaherty and Roger Flaherty, "Birth of an Imprint," p. 16.

Chicago Tribune, November 18, 1993, John Blades, "Dual Role," p. 11.

Hungry Mind Review, summer, 1994, Sima Rabinowitz, "Desires and Empty Spaces," p. 17.

Small Press Review, March, 1994, review of Pray for Yourself, p. 6.

Third World, January, 1994, Rick Sullivan, "The Death and Life of Chicago Literature," pp. 8-10.


Anne Calcagno Home Page, (November 30, 2007).