The Bicycle Thief and the German Wife: Book Launch, Ancona/Fano, April 2019

I’m delighted to announce that my new book, The Bicycle Thief and the German Wife (The Hidden War of a German-speaking Italian Family)published by Affinitá Elettive, Ancona ( will be launched this April 2019.

With an introduction by Associate Professor Eric Haywood, Emeritus Head of the School of Italian Studies in University College Dublin and Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia, the launch dates are below.

See also Where to Buy The book will be available on Amazon from late April.

L’incontro di Ancona si terrà in ItalianoL’incontro di Fano si terrà in Italiano e in Inglese ed è organizzato dal Liceo Nolfi-Apolloni di Fano, prof.ssa Valentina Foschi.
  • Ancona launch: Teatro delle Muse, 6pm, Thursday, April 4th


  • Fano launch: Mediateca Montanari (MeMo), 5pm, Friday, April 5th





Doublethink in Fano, Italy

Delighted to be invited back by Valentina Foschi to deliver two seminars to students in the Liceo Nolfi and to teachers in Mediateca Montanari this year in Fano, Italia, on December 20th.

The Orwell presentation, as part of the EFL Teacher’s Professional Develoment Series 2018-2019, takes place from 3-6pm in Memo and is entitled: Double Think or Clear Thinking: Sharing George Orwell with a New Generation.


Thinking Outside The Box in Fano, Italy

Teachers watching

Following my talk on the subject to teachers in Recanati in 2016, I was pleased to be invited by Valentina Foschi and the Principal of Liceo Nolfi in Fano, Italy to discuss resilience, authenticity and employability for literature and languages students on December 18th 2017.

This was followed by an afternoon session I presented for teachers in the beautifully restored surroundings of Memo – or La Mediateca Montanari. This was the inaugural seminar of Fano’s new “Think Outside The Box” lecture series which is continuing in 2018.

memo 1

Humanities and Employability, Fano



December Talks 2017

I am very pleased to have been invited to speak to groups of both teachers and also students again this December in the Marche region of Italy.

This includes two sessions in the Liceo Nolfi, Fano on December 18th. In the morning I will be talking with students as part of the l’alternanza scuola-lavoro and in the afternoon I will conduct a seminar for teachers entitled:  “The value of a humanities education: resilience, authenticity and employability – an Irish perspective”

In the Liceo Giacomo Leopardi, Recanati on December 20th I am pleased to lead a session with teachers on George Orwell.

For any further information please contact:

  • Liceo Nolfi, Valentina Foschi
  • Liceo Leopardi, Enrica Cerquoni

For a taste of what we may cover in the two Fano sessions, I’d suggest teachers and students might read my whimsical, but seriously-intended poem, Stemming the Tide. This deals with the value of culture and a humanities education against the background of the modern working world and was published in 2014.

Contemporary Italian Writing

Came across a really interesting survey of contemporary Italian writing on BBC 4’s Open Book programme recently. Struck me all the more as by chance I’m reading Eva Dorme by Francesca Melandri who was one of the contributors.

BBC4 Open Book programme

One point made was the in the last five years Italians are reading less when many other countries in Europe are reading more. Listen to the interviewers summation of one of the Italian contributors’ explanation about Italian’s fascination with technology (i.e. mobile phones!). Made me chuckle!

Talking the (Italian) Walk for Hospice

Recently Dr. Eric Haywood, Emeritus Associate Professor of Italian Studies in University College Dublin, most generously accepted my invitation on behalf of Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services to deliver a lecture to promote the hospice’s wonderful charity trek along on the Amalfi Coast this October.

Eric OLH resized 270317 x

In a most entertaining and as also erudite talk, Eric brought us travelling with the Irish pilgrim who in 1480s Italy on their way to Jerusalem stopped off at an inn on the outskirts of Naples to indulge in an almighty “wine tasting” as they recovered from what they had just witnessed in Rome: the wedding of the Pope’s daughter!

It was a fun evening!

walking the walk

To learn about the hospice trek and how to sign up please check out


Seminar in Italy on educating humanities students for a more globalised world

It was a real pleasure to present an afternoon seminar on December 21st in the Liceo Giacomo Leopardi, Recanati on how a humanities education can help young Italian students negotiate such a “new” globalised and uncertain world.


Recanati, 21st December 2016

Many engaging questions and observations emerged during that day and I am most grateful to the approximately 50 teachers and educators from the Marche region of Italy who attended and especially to Enrica Cerquoni and Nicoletta Talevi for their excellent organisation of the event in the busy lead in days to Christmas last week.

More on the event here

And if you want a pdf copy of the presentation please just email me on

Arts and Literature

Given a topic I’ve been kindly asked to talk about this Christmas in Italy in a seminar for Italian “lingue and lettere” teachers, this recent article caught my interest. Arts Degrees: are they worth doing anymore?

Contrast this with the mantra of creativity and its value in the modern workplace which is mostly a myth The Plague of Compulsory Creativity

By the way – the title of the seminar is “Educating humanities and language students for a globalised world – an Italian/Irish perspective” Any comments of suggestions – please feel free to share!

Creativita’ in Leopardi’s hometown

Recanati 1About to head to the airport after another great family break in Ancona. Delighted to be invited by the Liceo (linguistico e scientifico) di Recanati to talk to some students last week on their Giornata Culturale about travel writing, culture and books. Most appropriate to be discussing those topics in Giacomo Leopardi’s hometown.

There was a great level of English among the students and most seemed very curious to learn about writing and the world outside.  Our wide ranging discussion included Pirandello, Anna Akhmatova, cultural patrimony, diaries/facebook and what culture and creativity mean for students today. I particularly enjoyed the emigration stories the students shared of grandparents and great-grandparents in places such as Argentina, America, Australia and Germany.

So thanks to all the students and the two teachers who invited me to talk – Ms. Nicoletta Talevi and Ms. Valentina Foschi. I also look forward to coming back later in the year to join a day being organised for teaching  staff from a number of schools in the Recanati area.

On a separate note – two very connected articles in today’s Irish Times on writing a first book and on the importance of creativity for people in education and the workplace.

Writing first book

Teaching creativity for modern workplace