Italy Reads

Calendar of Events

Registration is required for all events. All activities are online unless otherwise specified. Please return to this page for updates during the academic year. Italy Reads offers opportunities for high school students to acquire valuable experience in the context of Percorsi per le Competenze Trasversali e per l'Orientamento (PCTO) (ex-Alternanza Scuola Lavoro (ASL)).

See Programs for High Schools or Programmi per le Scuole for more information or contact [email protected].

Italy Reads 2021-2022 William Demby's 'Beetlecreek'

Melanie Masterton Sherazi

Keynote Address and Master Class for High School Teachers by Melanie Masterton Sherazi, Ph.D.

Melanie Masterton Sherazi is a Los Angeles-based scholar of American literature. She received her Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Riverside, and is a former UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in English at UCLA and Postdoctoral Scholar in the Humanities at the California Institute of Technology. Sherazi was recently in residence at the American Academy in Rome as a 2020 Terra Foundation Affiliated Fellow, then taught as a lecturer at New York University, Los Angeles. Her scholarly work appears in Italian Quarterly, Modernism/Modernity, MELUS, and Mississippi Quarterly
19 October, 6pm (online) Register for the Keynote Address
20 October, 6pm (online) Register for the Master Class (only for teachers participating in Italy Reads)

William Demby is a key figure in her current manuscript, which analyzes African American writers’ and artists’ innovative cultural work in 1950s and 1960s Rome and explores their Italian creative cohorts in the literary and visual arts. She has published on Demby in ARIEL and in the edited collection New Cosmopolitanisms, Race, and Ethnicity (De Gruyter), and a new article is forthcoming in Pacific Coast Philology. While inventorying and conducting research into Demby’s papers from Rome, Sherazi began editing and went on to write an Introduction to his final novel King Comus, the product of over twenty years of literary labor but which remained unpublished when he died in 2013. She worked closely with the Ishmael Reed Publishing Company to release the novel in 2017. Following a 2018 Demby symposium that she organized at La Sapienza with Ugo Rubeo, Sherazi is currently co-editing with Rubeo and James C. Hall a Spring 2022 special issue of African American Review devoted to Demby’s oeuvre


JCU students interested in getting involved in the Italy Reads program, speaking in English with Italian high school students about William Demby's, Beetlecreek, race relations, social acceptance, and much more are invited to see the Volunteer for Italy Reads page for more information and scheduled training sessions.

Teachers and students are invited to consult the Italy Reads Resources for Teacher and Students. This collection of resources is compiled each year by the JCU librarians. It includes the presentations of Sample Lesson Plans on the author and the work prepared by JCU professors and by Italy Reads high school teachers who attended the relevant Professional Development Course last spring.   

Teacher Training Workshops (online)

In preparation for Italy Reads 2021, JCU offered 26 scholarships to teachers to attend a Professional Development Course (30 hrs.), taught by JCU professor Jenn Lindsay, on William Demby's Beetlecreek. The emphasis of this course was to prepare teachers to engage their students in the study of this work from literary and interdisciplinary perspectives. During the course, teachers exchanged best practices. The course introduced background information on William Demby and the social and literary context in which he wrote. 

During the workshops, some of these teachers will join Prof. Lindsay by presenting their sample lesson plans and sharing their didactic perspective and experience with their colleagues.Teachers who are new to Italy Reads are encouraged to attend a workshop to learn more about the book and to ask their colleagues and the Italy Reads team any practical questions about the program. 

Register for a Workshop  
Friday, 24 September 2021 - 4-6pm
Friday, 22 October 2021 - 4-6pm

Student Video Contest

24 January 2022 - Deadline for students to submit entries using the Video Contest Submission Form. The Award Ceremony will be held in March 2022.
The Italy Reads Student Video Contest is the culmination of a year of activities between high schools and JCU's Italy Reads Program centered around the work and life the selected author. Each year, nearly 200 teachers and their students participate in Italy Reads or one of the other Programs for High Schools offered free of charge by John Cabot University. Many students earn a significant number of hours for PCTO for their participation in Italy Reads.

Video Production Workshop for high school students (online) - write to [email protected] to register to receive the links to the four-part tutorial The Essential Guide to Video Production.


  • Friday, 23 April 2021 - 4-6pm, Italy Reads 2021 Beetlecreek - Teacher Training Workshop with Jenn Lindsay
  • Spring 2021 Italy Reads Professional Development Course - Teaching with William Demby's Beetlecreek with Jenn Lindsay.
  • 14 October 2020 (online) Keynote Address by Antonio López, Ph.D. Watch the video recording of this Master Class is available at Italy Reads Resources for Teachers.
  • 21 October 2020 (online) Master Class for High School Teachers by Keynote Speaker. Watch the video recording of this Master Class is available at Italy Reads Resources for Teachers.
  • 18 October 2020, (online) TEDxJohnCabotUniversity was an event focused on contextualizing the position of academic institutions in the pressing issue of promoting climate action through change-makers, educators, and entrepreneurs. 
  • Teacher Training Workshops: Friday, 11 September 2020--9:30am-12:00pm; 3:30-6:00pm; Saturday, 24 October 2020--9:30am-12:00pm; 3:30-6:00pm
  • 7 September 2019, 9:00am-5:00pm, Aula Magna Regina, Guarini Campus, Teacher Training Workshop
  • 3 October, and 19 November 2019, 4:30-7:30pm, Room T.G.3., Tiber Campus, Mini Teacher Training Workshops
  • 14 October, 2019, 6-8pm, Aula Magna Regina, Guarini Campus, Keynote Address, "Composting Whitman: An Approach to Reading Leaves of Grass" by Ed Folsom, Ph.D.
  • 15 October 2019, 6-8pm, Aula Magna Regina, Guarini Campus, Master Class for Teachers by Ed Folsom, Ph.D.
  • 29 October to 10 November 2019, Italy Reads Theatre - Italy Reads and The English Theatre of Rome present Donald Steven Olson's award-winning new play, Oscar & Walt. 10 performances were offered.
  • 22, 29 October and 26 November 2019 - Italy Reads Video Production Workshops for high school students.
  • 18 November, 7:00-8:30pm, Aula Magna Regina, Guarini Campus, Film Screening and discussion with producers of Whitman Alabama.
  • 1 April, 2020, 6:00-7:00pm, Aula Magna Regina, Guarini Campus, Student Video Contest Award Ceremony (online)

Italy Reads 2018 Flannery O'Connor
Professional Development Course for High School Teachers - Spring 2018 Term, Teacher Training Workshops, 13 April and 28 September (replica) 9:00am-5: 00 pm, Aula Magna Regina, Guarini Campus, Keynote Address and Master Class for Teachers with Mark Bosco, S.J., Ph.D.

Preview Film Screening of the documentary Flannery, introduced and commented by producer and director Rev. Mark Bosco, S.J., Ph.D., The English Theatre of Rome presented 7 replicas of a choral reading of 'Everything That Rises Must Converge.' 

Video Production Workshops
Italy Reads Special Professional Development Course for High School Teachers entitled 'Information and Misinformation in a Fake News World, taught by visiting Professor Deanna Lee.

TESOL Italy's 43rd National Convention 'Paths of Change'
Professor Lee and some of her students presented the outcome of their course in the workshop entitled 'The Importance of Language in a Fake News World.'

Italy Reads 2018 Student Video Contest

Italy Reads 2020, Silent Spring by Rachel Carson - Antonio Lopez

Italy Reads 2019, Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman - Ed Folsom
Italy Reads 2018, Short Stories by Flannery O'Connor - Fr. Mark Bosco
Italy Reads 2017, Selected Poems by Emily Dickinson - Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins, with very special guest ESA Astronaut Paolo Nespoli from ASI Mission VITA on the International Space Station
Italy Reads 2016, The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams - Sarah Churchwell
Italy Reads 2015, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison - Alessandro Portelli
Italy Reads 2014, A Farewell to Arms - Silvia Ammary
Italy Reads 2013, The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri - Jhumpa Lahiri
Italy Reads 2012, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald - Sarah Churchwell
Italy Reads 2011, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers - Cathy Fussell
Italy Reads 2010, Our Town by Thornton Wilder - Buck Herron
The Big Read Rome 2009, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - Charles J. Shields