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Mark Rotella

Director of the Coccia Institute for the Italian Experience in America, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

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Mark Rotella is the Director of the Joseph and Elda Coccia Institute for the Italian Experience in America and teaches in the Creative Writing Program at Montclair State University. In addition, Rotella also serves as thesis advisor in the MFA Program at Columbia University.

Earning his B.A. in Russian Language and Literature from Columbia University in 1992, Rotella became the Senior Editor at Publishers Weekly, where he worked for nearly twenty years. He is also a former Board Member at National Books Critics Circle from 2015 to 2018.

Rotella’s first book, Stolen Figs: And Other Adventures in Calabria (2004), recounts his travels to Calabria, the region in southern Italy from which his grandparents immigrated. His second book, Amore: The Story of Italian American Song (2010), tells of the era in American popular music during the mid-20th century dominated by Italian-American singers such as Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Dean Martin, and Tony Bennett. He also wrote the introduction for the 2006 reissue of Carlo Levi's classic 1945 memoir, Christ Stopped at Eboli.

He has published nearly four dozen articles in a wide array of outlets including The New York Times, New York Times Book Review, La Voce di New York, The L.A. Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Vanity Fair, Saveur Magazine, and and has appeared on National Public Radio outlets across the U.S. (on flagship shows such as All Things Considered and the Leonard Lopate Show), CBS’s The Insider, Entertainment Tonight, and ABC News.

In August 2020, Rotella was appointed Director of the Coccia Institute for the Italian Experience in America.


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