Inspired Writer Series author Paula Butturini speaks on "Keeping the Feast" at Fairfield University October 28
(Posted on October 20, 2010)
Fairfield native author Paula Butturini will speak as part of the Inspired Writer Series at Fairfield University on Thursday, Oct. 28 at 4:30 p.m. in the DiMenna-Nyselius Library Multimedia Room. Butturini will read from and discuss her heart-wrenching memoir, "Keeping the Feast: One Couple's Story of Love, Food and Healing in Italy." Admission is free and the public is invited. The event is co-sponsored by Fairfield University's department of modern languages and literatures and English, programs in Italian studies and Catholic studies as well as the school of nursing and the MFA in creative writing. It is a presentation of Arts & Minds.
Butturini was severely beaten and her fiancé, John Tagliabue, was shot in the back by a sniper while both, as international correspondents, were covering civil unrest in Eastern Europe in 1989. His near death and physical injuries, and the suicide of her mother a year later, triggered a psychological battle that is hard to imagine.
According to Professor Mary Ann Carolan, chair of modern languages and literatures and director of the Italian studies program, "Paula Butturini has spoken so eloquently in her book, Fairfield University is honored to welcome her back to her hometown to speak about the redemptive possibilities that food and family offer to those struggling with depression and other mental health issues."
Raised in an Italian-American family where cooking was, as Butturini writes, "always elemental, about hunger and nourishment, love and support," the author re-discovered the power of food and cooking when adversity hit her happy life.
"... like a potter centering clay on a spinning potter's wheel, the mere act of cooking centered me... kept me close, available, ready to help, kept us fed, kept me sufficiently focused on present tasks so that I wouldn't panic about the future, kept me going through the slow passing of a string of bad days, weeks and months."
Butturini wrote this memoir for herself and her family, but with the "hope that our experience may help other families realize that depression is not necessarily a life sentence or a death sentence." As Mika Brzezinski wrote in her New York Times review of the book, "The real glue in this marriage scarred by tragedy is not Butturini's cooking but Butturini herself."
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Vol. 43, No. 84