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Two books, a novel and a memorir, were published in the same year: 2013. Now in 2020-2021, the same amazing double debut will occur. Following the new edition of Mother Tongue, Silence and Silences  will be published in 2021 by FSG.  

I grew up in Wisconsin amid stability and quiet natural beauty.There were seasons always—white and more white giving way to tender green and there were stories of different generations. After graduating from the University of Michigan, I lived in Oxford, England, New York City, London, Rome, Palo Alto, California and finally, Parma, Italy. Willed or not, my Midwestern accent has never been replaced, even by learning other languages. The stories of inter-twined generations and the  proximity to nature made Italy a close fit to my early life, in spite of  radically different histories.

In the decades that I have lived in Italy, I have never gotten through half of its historical, artistic, gastronomic rooms. As a country, its riches are inexhaustible.I write about our times in poetry, essays, memoir, nonfiction, and fiction.

I teach in Europe and the U.S.: Columbia University, Boston College, MontClair State, Sarah Lawrence,  lecture widely, and am a founding member of the Ledig-Rowohlt International Writers Residence in Lavigny, Switzerland. There I have read the work of more than 500 writers from 65 countries. There, as in workshops I have held with doctors and patients, writers using two languages, semester long classes with undergraduate students of poetry and essay, I continue to marvel at how words can change lives. The stories being written by cross-cultural writers are those lighting roads that are not yet completely visible.  The stories being written about personal experiences often contain, in surprising ways, the seeds for finding unused common ground.

WORDS by Wallis Wilde-Menozzi
An interview in two parts

Producer: Patricia Piroh
Director: Larry Londino
Interviewer: Nancy Goldring