March is Women’s History Month, and each week we will be highlighting an Italian or Italian American woman for #ItalianoftheWeek.
It all started in Roseto, Pennsylvania, where Adriana Trigiani was born into a large Italian family. Her family – the Bonicelli’s on her mother’s side and the Trigiani’s – were originally from Bari and Veneto, Italy. Her parents, along with her six siblings, moved to Big Stone Gap, Virginia, when Adriana was only six. Her mother, a librarian in the small mining town, instilled a love of reading and writing into Adriana and her siblings from a young age. When she was 15-years-old, Adriana has hired as a writer for the news on the radio station WNVA. She quickly learned that writing about the news was not as exciting or fulfilling as writing for theater. She attended St. Mary’s College in South Bend, Indiana, and majored in theater. Following her graduation, she relocated to New York City where she hoped to find success.
Pursuing her passion for acting and writing, Adriana took on a variety of oddball jobs in the 1980s. Towards the later half of the decade, she was hired to write for the television series The Cosby Show and later A Different World. She gained fame for her comedic talent and was hired to write a number of television pilots. In 1996, she wrote and directed the award-winning documentary Queens of the Big Time. During the 1990s, she began to write a screenplay based on the town she grew up in and turned the work into her first novel: Big Stone Gap. Since then, she’s written and published over 15 books and has won numerous awards and received worldwide recognition for her work. In October 2015, a film version of Big Stone Gap was released with Adriana writing, directing and producing the film.