Author Karen Haid at Casa Belvedere
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli
I had the pleasure of meeting author Karen Haid Tuesday night at the Italian Cultural Foundation at Casa Belvedere (79 Howard Ave.) in Staten Island, New York. Visiting from Los Vegas, Nevada, Ms. Haid is currently on a mini book tour of the East Coast promoting her book, Calabria: The Other Italy. The tour will also include engagements at the America-Italy Society of Philadelphia and the Generoso Pope Foundation in Tuckahoe, New York.
Warmly received, Ms. Haid read excerpts from her book and shared intriguing anecdotes about her four-year stint teaching English in Calabria, specifically at Locri and Reggio. A slideshow of the region’s many treasures and natural wonders corroborated her accounts of Calabria's rugged beauty and, in my opinion, highlighted her eye for photography. Funnily enough, the distant grumbling of thunder and the occasional flicker of lightning added a little atmosphere to her talk, though it was in complete contrast to the warm, sun-kissed Mediterranean paradise she evoked.
Guests pack the lecture hall
Speaking for over an hour, Ms. Haid ended with a brief, but lively, question and answer period. Though very informative, only so much about the region’s 3,000 year history can be squeezed into such a short period of time. Wanting to learn more, guests lined up to buy autographed copies of the book and meet the author. Good thing I already owned a copy, because they sold out quickly.
|Copies of Calabria: The Other Italy were available for purchase|
Afterward, we adjourned to the main hall to mingle. Guests were generously treated to some wine and lite fare.
|Recipient of the 2015 Premio Calabria|
Talking with Ms. Haid, she expressed interest in writing another book about southern Italy, perhaps on Basilicata (Lucania). I hope when she decides which area to explore next, she chooses that one. Like Calabria, Basilicata (maybe with the exception of Matera, which, incidentally, she touches on in Chapter 17 of her book) is a neglected region of southern Italy and it deserves to have its story told with the same sensitivity and passion Ms. Haid provided for Calabria.
I highly recommend Calabria: The Other Italy; it is well written and entertaining. Part history, part travelogue, the book is filled with a wealth of information and is a terrific primer for those wanting to further explore this unsung region.