Book Launch and Reading

Featuring alumna Camille Cusumano '73

Monday, May 2, 2016
7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Ruth Horowitz Alumni House
Kean University
215 North Avenue
Hillside, NJ 07205

Join Kean alumni and guests for a reading from Camille Cusumano '73’s new books, Wilderness Begins at Home and La Cucina di Carmela, A Sicilian American Cookbook, published with her late mother and siblings.  Light refreshments will be available and Camille will take questions from the audience and sign books.

Camille Cusumano ’73 is the author of The Last Cannoli (Legas, 2000), a novel inspired by her big Sicilian family. She is the author of Tango, an Argentine Love Story (Seal Press, 2008), the memoir of a “woman who loved, lost, got mad, and decided to dance.” She was an editor at VIA Magazine for 17 years, covering travel around the world. She has written for numerous publications, including National Geographic Traveler, Islands, Country Living, the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. She is the editor of best-selling literary anthologies on France and Italy and also on Mexico and Greece (Seal Press). She lives, writes, and teaches in San Francisco. At least once a year she manages to unite with her big Sicilian family somewhere on this good green earth.

What do a high Sierra mountain meadow, Mt. Tamalpais, a New Orleans voodoo priestess, a Cuban Santeria devotee, and a New Jersey Metropolis have in common? These are just some of the places and people the reader encounters during Camille Cusumano’s family travels in her new memoir. Wilderness is a collection of 20 essays of “travel amid earthy wilds and civilized front country” with various members of the large Cusumano family. The stories span more then twenty years. Wilderness weaves a figurative journey, along with these hardy adventures, through a deft narrative of life with the author’s big Sicilian American family. (“Twelve of us, two parents and ten kids rhythmically spaced two years apart, grew up packed together in a tiny Cape Cod home in New Jersey.”) In these inspiring and heart-warming stories, the author, freely and fully plays the wild card. Each story has a destination but the journey and the family interactions are the things that captivate, warm the heart, and stir the soul.

What does a big Sicilian family do when their Mama leaves their world? They start recalling how she nurtured them with her love of food and cooking for family and friends. Not even a week after Carmela Cusumano’s death her ten children all agreed to publish a cookbook Carmela had written for them in her eighties, La Cucina di Carmela. They added more of her recipes and all of them, including grandchildren, added stories about Carmela and her cooking. The cookbook is a historical family record in a way and also a symbolic act of prolonging the maternal nurturance, something that has no equal. It has been a family project and they  are happy to share it with the world.

Admission is complimentary.
Please RSVP no later than April 29.

Questions? Please contact the Alumni Relations Office at 908-737-ALUM (2586) or


250 Surrey Road, Unit 17
Hillside, NJ 07205


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