Wallis Wilde-Menozzi discusses the reality of being a stranger in a foreign land

Apr 02, 2015

North Central College welcomes writer Wallis Wilde-Menozzi on April 8 for a lecture titled “Translating Life: Becoming a Writer in Italy.” Wilde-Menozzi lives in Italy and is a sister of Harold Wilde, president emeritus and life trustee of North Central College.

The free author talk begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 8, in the College’s Smith Hall at Old Main, 30 N. Brainard St. Copies of her two recent books, “The Other Side of the Tiber, Reflections on Time in Italy” and “Toscanelli’s Ray,” will be available for sale.

Originally from Wisconsin, Wilde-Menozzi has spent the last 35 years living in Parma, Italy, and traveling the world to teach, read and give lectures on her work. She discusses the reality of being a stranger in a foreign land and how that’s an extremely exhilarating and puzzling position, stating, “We all are strangers to ourselves at moments when we stop to ask, ‘What am I doing here?’ or ‘where is home?’” Wilde-Menozzi’s most recent lectures include talks at Columbia University and in Geneva, Switzerland. She is a founding member of the Ledig-Rowohlt International Writers Residence in Lavigny, Switzerland.

Much of Wilde-Menozzi’s work discusses topics related to Italy, the memoir, fiction, the expatriate experience, and seeing the world from an intercultural perspective. She says, “My topic has been identity: what happens when one writes outside of one’s culture and language.”

Her book, “The Other Side of the Tiber, Reflections on Time in Italy,” is a captivating narrative with more than 100 photos that offers a striking nonfiction mosaic of a country and a writer. As Wilde-Menozzi draws on personal memories about different parts of Italy and aspects of its long culture, she suggests how images of country, self and time are pictures made from pieces.

“Toscanelli’s Ray” is a moving novel set in Florence, Italy, during the 1990s, beginning in the dark hours before the dawn of the summer solstice. World Literature calls the book, “an intriguing portrait of that Renaissance gem of a city,” and says, “Wallis Wilde-Menozzi takes us where no tourist trip could.”

Regarding her works as a whole, she explains, “The energies from the collisions and additions of two very different cultures have shaped my language and thought and have taken me inside and out toward deeper focuses.”

During Wilde-Menozzi’s visit to campus April 8-9, she will speak in several classes—Creative Writing, Digital Journalism, Intercultural Communication, and Advanced Creative Nonfiction Writing, Multimedia.