Writing as a Necessity: Alumna Claudia Delicato Publishes Her First Novel

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Claudia Delicato, from Rome, graduated in 2015 with a degree in International Affairs and a minor in Art History. After a Master’s in Rural Development at Ghent University, Belgium, she is now Rural Development Specialist at Tinada slr. Claudia will present her first novel, Una Cena (Castelvecchi), in Rome on October 24.

Una Cena by Claudia Delicato

Una Cena by Claudia Delicato

What brought you to JCU?
I was browsing for universities and JCU caught my eye. I was fascinated by North American culture but I had never been outside of Europe, so the prospect of a full-on U.S. experience while in Italy was difficult to resist. My parents and I made an agreement: if I excelled in my high school studies and then got a scholarship, I could enroll in JCU. Well, I guess it proved to be a good incentive for me, as I achieved 100/100 in my high school exit exam.

Please tell us about your upcoming book Una Cena.
This book is about a family reunion after years and events that have compromised the relationships among its members. The preparation for the dinner (una cena) will be the reason for shrouded feelings to unravel, and for some wounds to reopen. The characters in the book will come to understand that the past can be forgiven but rarely forgotten.

I will present Una Cena on October 24 at Libreria Teatro Tlon in Rome. I consider myself lucky for having found not only an honest publishing house, but also inspiring editors who have helped me refine my inexperienced work.

How’s life after graduation?
Life after graduation is what you make of it! For most people, life after graduation coincides with your young adult life years. Despite the fact that we live in very tough times job wise, young people are still passionate, determined, energetic, and romantic. And I am glad to see many people making the most of it, balancing the fun with the responsibility of building your future.

You were an International Affairs major. How did you learn to write novels?
I have been writing poems and short stories since I can remember. Some people around me encouraged me to share what I wrote, either by writing together, starting a blog (you can find mine at hungerness.com), participating in literary competitions (I am a finalist for the Giovane Holden literary competition, the winner will be announced on September 29). Sharing my work contributed to refining my writing while boosting my self-confidence and convincing me to tackle bigger projects, like a book.

The publishing industry has been shifting toward a more digital-based approach. Do you think eBooks will ever replace print?
I am sorry to be tough on eBooks, but I never enjoyed them, and I see them as a declining trend. It is like vinyl and LPs: there is an analog nostalgia attached to them that guarantees their position in the market despite technological advancements.

Name one work of literature that everyone should read and why.
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. The first time I really enjoyed it was for a literature class at JCU. When I read and write, I think more at the way things are described, rather than the story per se. Chasing the most intricate and complex plot for the sake of it suggests poor literary culture, in my opinion. Virginia Woolf and especially Mrs. Dalloway gives the most exquisite example of how even a simple story can become an amazing book.

What is your career goal?
I like what I am doing now. I deal with agricultural and food policies and work for projects funded by the European Union. It is an inspiring field and I am surrounded by interesting people. But if you gave me the opportunity to make a living by writing the whole day, it would not take me long to consider such an offer…

What advice would you give to students considering JCU?
I would not advise anyone to do something just because it looks cool. Following a trend never opens the most interesting or rewarding path. Pursuing a personal vocation does. In these terms, JCU offers a truly enriching environment: it has given me the possibility of broadening my mind in a way no other university could have done.