Elisa M. Speranza
Elisa Speranza is the granddaughter of Irish and Italian immigrants, raised Catholic, and educated by nuns. Born and raised in Massachusetts, Ms. Speranza came to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in 2002 and forgot to go home.
After a successful career in water and environmental management, Ms. Speranza now brings her deep experience in strategy, operations, communications, and marketing to an eclectic portfolio of clients. She has been published in professional journals and textbooks, is a well-known leader in her field, and serves on several company boards.
For the last several years, she’s been working on a project that had been burning a hole in her pocket since she first heard a friend’s story about his parents: an Italian prisoner-of-war and a French Quarter Sicilian girl who met during World War Two in New Orleans. In the course of her research, Ms. Speranza has connected with a number of scholars, researchers, and others who’ve been piecing together the little-known stories of some of the 51,000 Italian POWs held in the US from 1943-1945.
THE ITALIAN PRISONER (79,800 words, historical fiction) is Ms. Speranza’s first novel. It’s the story of what happens when an unlikely courtship with an Italian prisoner-of-war forces the daughter of Sicilian immigrants to choose between tradition and independence. The author had expert guidance from the New Orleans Writers Workshop throughout the development of the book. In 2019, it placed as a finalist in the prestigious William Faulkner/William Wisdom Writing Competition in the novel-in-progress category.
Ms. Speranza earned a master’s in public administration from the Harvard Kennedy School, and a bachelor’s in political science from Boston College. She lives in New Orleans, Louisiana and Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts. To find out more about the book, please visit www.theitalianprisoner.com
Awards and Recognition
- Finalist, 2019 Faulkner-Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, Novel-in-Progress