Joanna Clapps Herman (born in 1944 in Waterbury, Connecticut) is an Italian American, writer,[1] editor and professor of creative writing who lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. She teaches at City College of New York,[2] The Center for Worker Education, is on the Museum of Fine Arts faculty in writing of Manhattanville College, and teaches writing and memoir workshops.[3] Her writings on Italian American identity and culture have added to the dialogue of what it means to be an Italian American and being Italian in America. She is a member of the Malìa, a collective of Italian American women. She is currently writing After the Manner of Women (forthcoming, Fordham University Press, 2014).

Italian American Heritage and Family History

Herman was born to second-generation Italian American parents. Her grandparents are all from the province of Basilicata, also known as Lucania. These towns are part of the area's ancient history. Her father's family is from Avigliano, where the name Claps is a common one. Her mother's family (Becce), is from Tolve, which it is said Hannibal burned to the ground on his sweep through Italy. In the fields outside Tolve, are the remains of a 4th Century BCE Roman Villa.

The customs of this part of Italy were kept alive during her childhood in America. Herman's maternal grandparents were farmers and cheesemakers[4] The men in her paternal family were blacksmiths in Avigliano and became ironworkers in the U.S. This history is reflected in Herman's writing, where the subject of being a southern Italian woman raised in a Post-World War II New England industrial town, is addressed.

Education, Career and Works

Herman has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Boston University and a Master of Arts in American Studies from City College of New York. Herman has written The Anarchist Bastard: Growing Up Italian in America, (2011).[5] She is co-editor of Wild Dreams: The Best of Italian Americana. (2008),[6] which is referenced on Wiki's Italian American entry, and as co-editor of Our Roots Are Deep With Passion: Creative Nonfiction Collects New Essays by Italian-American Writers, (2007).[7]

She has conducted readings and lectures at Lower East Side Tenement Museum, Casa Italiana, University of Connecticut#Waterbury Campus, Generoso Pope Foundation, Westchester Italian Cultural Center,[8] Montescaglioso, Italy.[9]

Interviews with Herman about her book, The Anarchist Bastard can be heard on Wisconsin Public Radio's Here On Earth: Radio Without Borders and on Connecticut's WPKN Radio.

Honors & Awards

Herman's story, "Perfect Hatred," won a Bruno Arcudi Literature Prize, and her story, "Falling," won a Henry Paolucci Award. She has received the Chase Award for Literary Excellence, was the keynote speaker and honoree of The Annual Litchfield Review Writers Conference and awarded her with The Litchfield Review] medal for Literary Excellence.[10] She was named Fab Over Fifty.[11] Herman's work was featured by The Italian American Writers Association (IAWA) at Cornelia Street Cafe.[12]

Book Reviews

Fred Gardaphe, Family Writing Workshop, review of The Anarchist Bastard: Growing Up Italian in America, October 2011.

Ciao America!, review of The Anarchist Bastard: Growing Up Italian in America, June 2011.

Feile-Festa: The Literary Arts Journal of The Mediterranean Celtic Cultural Assocation and Paradiso-Parthas Press, review of The Anarchist Bastard: Growing Up Italian in America, Spring 2011.

Good Reads], community reviews of The Anarchist Bastard: Growing Up Italian in America.

Her books have also been reviewed by San Francisco Book Review and Italian American Digest.


  1. Joanna Clapps Herman, List of Italian American Women Writers.
  2. Joanna Clapps Herman, CCNY Faculty List.
  3. Waterbury Observer, Memoir Workshops for UConn Waterbury.
  4. Joanna Clapps Herman, Making Cheese.
  5. Joanna Clapps Herman, The Anarchist Bastard: Growing Up Italian in America. SUNY Press, 2011.
  6. Carol Bonomo Albright and Joanna Clapps Herman, Wild Dreams: The Best of Italian Americana. Fordham University Press, 2008,
  7. Joanna Clapps Herman and Lee Gutkind, Our Roots Are Deep With Passion: Creative Nonfiction Collects New Essays by Italian-American Writers. Other Press, 2007.
  8. Westchester Italian Cultural Center, Reading from The Anarchist Bastard and Other Tales of Italian American Life.
  9. Dorothy Zinn, Montescaglioso
  10. Dominic Candeloro, From the Field: Updates on Activities in Italian American Studies, January 20, 2009.
  11. Fab Over Fifty: Where women of substance share their style.
  12. Italian American Writers Association, Featured Italian American Writers, Joanna Clapps Herman and Richard Vetere, September 30, 2011.
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Joanna Clapps Herman, that was deleted or is being discussed for deletion, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
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