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Adria Bernardi

Born: Highland Park, Illinois
Pen Name: None

Connection to Illinois: Bernardi grew up in Lake Bluff and Lake Forest. In 1989 she received her M. A. from the University of Chicago, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, Italian Literature.

Biography: Adria Bernardi is a writer and translator whose publications include an oral history, a collection of literary essays, a collection of short stories, two novels, and eight translations from the Italian. Her work has been awarded the Bakeless Prize for Fiction, the Drue Heinz Literature Prize, and the Raiziss/DePalchi Translation Award. Her novel, Benefit Street, was awarded the 2021 FC2 Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Award and will be published in 2022 by The University of Alabama Press. She lives in Nashville.

  • 2021 FC2 Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize by Joyelle McSweeney for her novel, Benefit Street (University of Alabama) 2022.
  • 2011 The Christopher Isherwood Foundation Fellowship. R.V. Cassill Grant.
  • 2002 Worcester Cultural Commission, Creative and Performing Arts Fellowship
  • 2007 Raiziss / DePalchi Translation Award, American Academy of Poets, to complete the translation of Small talk, by Raffaello Baldini.
  • 1999 Katharine Bakeless Nason Prize for Fiction by Andrea Barrett, Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Middlebury College (University of New England Press)
  • 1999 First Prize, Essay, Hep-Lock, Missouri Review.
  • 1998 A.E. Coppard Prize for Fiction.
  • 1995 James Fellowship for Novel-in-Progress, Heekin Group Foundation Awards.

Primary Literary Genre(s): Fiction; Poetry

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers


Selected Titles

Benefit Street
ISBN: 157366197X OCLC:

Fiction Collective 2 2022

Set in an unnamed provincial capital of an unnamed country, Benefit Street by Adria Bernardi is a novel that tells of a wide circle of friends-teachers, lawyers, missionaries, doctors, artisans-in a time of gathering and dispersal. It tells the story of mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, colleagues, and neighbors, as war to the East threatens and constitutional rights are daily eroded by an increasingly authoritarian regime --

Dead meander :
ISBN: 1888553545 OCLC: Tucson, Ariz. :

Kore Press, Tucson, Ariz. : ©2012.

Houses with names :
ISBN: 0252015819 OCLC: Urbana :

University of Illinois Press, Urbana : ©1990.

Combining her other research with interviews of nearly fifty Italian immigrants of her grandparents' generation, Adria Bernardi has crafted a memorable oral history of a community of working-class immigrants. Bernardi tells their story clearly and with care, interspersing transcriptions and translations with her own recollections and interpretations of life among the Italian immigrants of Highwood.

In the gathering woods /
ISBN: 0822957825 OCLC: Pittsburgh, Pa. :

University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, Pa. : ©2000.

Stories by Italian descendants include a boy gathering mushrooms with his grandfather and being tormented by a local legend, an artist in the Apennine Mountains in the 1500s yearning to be discovered, and a girl in 1960s Illinois learning Latin in Catholic school.

Openwork :
ISBN: 0870745107 OCLC: Dallas :

Southern Methodist University Press, Dallas : 2007.

Like red hair, madness and misery can pass through generations and even cross oceans before eventually finding a repository in families whose propensity for joy or sorrow is as accessible as the stories they share. Bernardi follows Imola's family as they settle in America, creating an expansive yet intimate multigenerational tale that reaches from the rugged hillsides of Tuscany during the waning days of the nineteenth century to the affluent suburbs of Chicago at the dawn of the twenty-first.

The Day Laid on the Altar /
ISBN: 0452282578 OCLC:

The interconnecting journeys of Adria Bernardi's characters begin in a remote sixteenth-century Apennine village, continuing through terrains of both privilege and privation to the Tuscan plains, and on to the household of the artist Titian. Their stories explore a range of responses by several classes of citizens dealing with similar life-and-death issues. Bernardi's attention to detail, such as the exact method of preparing ultramarine pigment, is seductive and lovely - one believes in the characters and in their stories.