Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Gioia Diliberto  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult; Young Adult; Children;

Born: 1950 in Washington, DC

-- Website --
-- Gioia Diliberto on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Gioia Diliberto moved to Chicago in the 90's.

Biographical and Professional Information

Diliberto is the author of five books – two historical novels and three non-fiction. She specializes in writing about women’s lives and has been a contributor to many publications, including ''The New York Times'', ''The Chicago Tribune'', ''The Los Angeles Times'', ''Smithsonian'', ''Town & Country'', and ''Vanity Fair''. Her book, ''I am Madame X'', tells the story of Virginie Gatreau, the subject of John Singer Sargent's famous painting. ''Paris Without End: The True Story of Hemingway’s First Wife'' is a new and updated edition of ''Hadley'', the beautifully crafted, rigorously researched, and absolutely heartbreaking biography she published in 1992. Diliberto was inspired to research and write her book, ''Hadley'', about Hemingway's first wife Hadley Richardson while reading Hemingway's book, ''A Moveable Feast'' on her honeymoon in Paris.

Published Works

  • Hadley, Houghton Mifflin, 1992
  • Debutante, The Story of Brenda Frazier, Alfred Knopf, 1987
  • A Useful Woman, The Early Life of Jane Addams, Simon & Schuster, 1999
  • I am Madam X, Scribner, 2003
  • The Collection, Scribner, 2007
  • Paris Without End: The True Story of Hemingway's First Wife, Harper, 2011 (the new and updated version of her 1992 biography, Hadley)

Selected Titles At Your Library

Hadley /
ISBN: 0899197353. OCLC Number:

. .

Biographer Diliberto examines the Hemingway legend for the first time from the perspective of the only woman whom Hemingway never stopped loving, offering a rare glimpse of the writer who so fully captured the American imagination and of the woman who provided the security and freedom he needed to pursue his genius. Hadley and Ernest were the golden couple of Paris in the twenties, the focal point of the expatriate community that boasted the likes of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Ford Madox Ford, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, and James and Nora Joyce. Diliberto explores their passionate, epistolary courtship, family life in Paris with baby Jack, Hadley's loss of the only copy of Hemingway's first novel, and, finally, the devastating ménage à trois on the French Riviera which severed their relationship. All his life Hemingway yearned for a woman who would love him as much.--From publisher description.

Debutante :
ISBN: 0394535162. OCLC Number:

Knopf :. New York :. 1987.

A useful woman :
ISBN: 0684853655. OCLC Number:

Scribner,. New York :. ©1999.

The first biography in twenty-six years of Jane Addams -- founder of the Hull-House settlement and winner of the 1931 Nobel Peace Prize -- written with access to hundreds of new family documents. "Today, Jane Addams is widely recognized as an extraordinary figure in our nation's history, one of a roster of great Americans -- Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. among them -- who made lasting contributions to social justice. But as with the lives of many iconographic figures, the legend often obscures the real story." Frequently recognized as one of the most influential women of the century -- and considered a heroine by nurses and social workers around the globe -- Jane Addams had to struggle long and hard to earn her place in history. Born in 1860 on the eve of the Civil War, she lived during pivotal times when women were only beginning to create new roles for themselves (ironically building on the Victorian ideal of women as ministering angels). Focusing on her metamorphosis from a frail, small-town girl into a woman who inspired hundreds of others to join her movement to serve the poor, A Useful Woman delves into the mysterious ailments and other troubles young Jane faced. Examining for the first time Jane's physical and mental health and the effect of her father's remarriage after her mother's death, biographer Gioia Diliberto directly links Addams's proneness to depression to her inability to conform to the mores of her time. Also, for the first time, she examines in detail Addams's two marriage-like relationships with women. With hundreds of previously unavailable documents at her disposal, Diliberto has written a fascinating study of one of the most intriguing and important women in history, concentrating on her difficult formative years with compelling -- and groundbreaking -- results.

I am Madame X :
ISBN: 0743456807. OCLC Number:

. .

The life of Virginie Gautreau, the notorious beauty of Madame X, John Singer Sargent's most famous and scandalous portrait, provides inspiration for this absorbing and intriguing novel. Madame X caused an immediate furor when Sargent unveiled it at the 1884 Paris Salon. The subject's bold pose, provocative dress, and decadent pallor shocked the public, and the critics panned the picture, smashing Sargent's dream of a Paris career. The artist soon relocated to England, where he established himself as the favorite portrait painter of the wealthy. In this remarkable novel, Gioia Diliberto tells Virginie's story, drawing on the sketchy facts of Virginie's life to re-create her tempestuous personality and the captivating milieu of nineteenth-century Paris. Born in New Orleans to two of Louisiana's prominent Creole families and raised at Parlange, her grandmother's lush plantation, Virginie fled to France with her mother and sister during the Civil War. The family settled in Paris among other expatriate Southerners and hoped, through their French ancestry, to insinuate themselves into high society. They soon were absorbed into the fascinating and wealthy world of grand ballrooms, dressmakers' salons, luxurious country estates, and artists' ateliers. Because of Virginie's striking appearance and vivid character, her mother pinned the family's hopes for social acceptance on her daughter, who became a "professional beauty" and married a French banker. Even before Sargent painted her portrait, Virginie's reputation for promiscuity and showy self-display made her the subject of vicious Paris gossip. I Am Madame X is a compulsively readable immersion in Belle Epoque Paris. It is also the story of a great work of art, illuminating the struggle between Virginie and Sargent as they fought to control the outcome of a painting that changed their lives and affected the course of art history.

The collection :
ISBN: 0743280652. OCLC Number:

Scribner,. New York :. 2007.

A tale based on the world of Coco Chanel follows the experiences of 1920s orphan Isabelle Varlet, who in early adulthood recovers from the death of her fiancé by developing her seamstress talents and struggling through the cutthroat world of high fashion.

Paris without end :
ISBN: 0062108824. OCLC Number:

Harper Perennial,. New York :. 2011.

Hadley Richardson and Ernest Hemingway were the golden couple of Paris in the twenties, the center of an expatriate community boasting the likes of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, and James and Nora Joyce. In this haunting account of the young Hemingways, Gioia Diliberto explores their passionate courtship, their family life in Paris with baby Bumby, and their thrilling, adventurous relationship--a literary love story scarred by Hadley's loss of the only copy of Hemingway's first novel, and ultimately destroyed by a devastating ménage à trois on the French Riviera. Compelling, illuminating, poignant, and deeply insightful, Paris Without End provides a rare, intimate glimpse of the writer who so fully captured the American imagination and the remarkable woman who inspired his passion and his art--the only woman Hemingway never stopped loving.



Speaking Engagements

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Contact Information

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