Joint Book Presentation: Blood of the Lamb and The Memory Key

Joint book presentation featuring from left: Carlos Dews, S.J. Rozan, Conor Fitzgerald

Joint book presentation featuring from left: Carlos Dews, S.J. Rozan, Conor Fitzgerald

On 13 August 2013, John Cabot University’s Institute for Creative Writing and Literary Translation hosted a joint book presentation. The event was moderated by Professor Carlos Dews, Chair of the JCU Department of English Language and Literature and co- author of one of the books presented at the panel. Professor Dews co-authored, with multi award-winning author S. J. Rozan (also a panelist) Blood of the Lamb, a thriller set in Rome. Connor Fitzgerald, the third panelist, presented his novel The Memory Key, An Alec Blume Novel (a crime novel also set in Rome).

Conor Fitzgerald, who has lived in Ireland, the UK, the United States and Italy, has worked as an arts editor, produced a current affairs journal for foreign embassies based in Rome, and founded a successful translation company. He introduced his work by considering the concept of popular memory in relation to the cultural and historical events of a country. He said that certain countries such as Italy are apt to suppress dark and shady periods of history such as the anni di piombo (“the years of lead,” a period of social turmoil that escalated into widespread terrorism). The protagonist of his series of novels, investigator Alec Blume, digs deep into murky Italian history to establish the link between the murder of a young student and these past terrorist activities.

Carlos Dews is also Director of JCU’s Institute for Creative Writing and Literary Translation. His books include his edition of The Complete Novels of Carson McCullers (Library of America), and Illumination and Night Glare: The Unfinished Autobiography of Carson McCullers (University of Wisconsin). With Carolyn Leste Law, Dews edited Out in the South (Temple) and This Fine Place So Far From Home: Voices of Academics from the Working Class (Temple).

S. J. Rozana native New Yorker, is the author of twelve novels. Her work has won numerous awards including the Edgar, Shamus, Anthony, Nero, and Macavity awards for Best Novel and the Edgar for Best Short Story.

Blood of the Lamb is a supernatural thriller centered on the role of the Roman Catholic Church and its mysterious secrets. Authors Dews and Rozan each read a passage from their book, grabbing the audience’s attention through detailed descriptions of Roman art, architecture and locations. They commented on the difficulties of avoiding disparities between factual realities and fictional thought.

At the end of the presentations and following a brief reading from the novels, the audience was invited to ask questions. Several lively discussions took place about the challenging goal of describing Italian legal, economic and social aspects. Each author stressed the need for intensive research in order to grasp the vast array of social norms and legal statuses that characterize both Italian society and the Catholic Church.