tina biello
Click Here to Watch the Trailer


A Toronto-based lawyer who practised for over three decades, Darlene Madott has published nine works of fiction, including Winners and Losers (GUERNICA, 2021), Dying Times (EXILE, 2021), Making Olives and Other Family Secrets (Ripasso) (LONGBRIDGE BOOKS, 2014), Stations of the Heart (EXILE, 2012), and Joy, Joy, Why Do I Sing? (WOMEN’S PRESS, 2004).

She has twice won the Bressani Literary Award and has been shortlisted for the Gloria Vanderbilt sponsored Carter V. Cooper Short Fiction Award three times, as well as being a frequent finalist in Accenti Magazine competitions. “Vivi’s Florentine Scarf” received the Paolucci Prize of the Italian-American Writers Association in 2002. In October, 2023  “Appropriation” made the short list for the inaugural Nona Heaslip “Best Canadian Short Fiction” and will be part of her forthcoming Closing Ceremonies, a 10th work and collection of linked short-stories around the themes of abandonment, betrayal and consequence.

Madott’s short fiction has been widely anthologized, including collections arising out of the International Conferences of the Short Story in English, alongside internationally-acclaimed authors. Author Guy Vanderhaeghe has described her short stories as “haunting meditations by a fine artist blessed with a scrupulous intelligence.” Caterina Edwards: “Madott’s short stories remind me of why I love the genre. They need to be read and reread. So many left me breathless in admiration.” Madott’s fiction has also been translated and published into Italian. Dying Times is under contract for publication in Italian by Les Flâneurs Edizioni.

When asked if her Italian background (Sicilian on her mother’s side, Calabrian on her father’s) has informed her writing: “My Italian background has played a part in everything I have written, including Making Olives and Other Family Secrets, Dying Times, Mazilli’s Shoes… On the other hand, you can read Winners and Losers and think there’s nothing Italian about it. It’s the common humanity you recognize, not the ethnic identifiers. But what I identify as Italian is the intensity. It’s in the blood. There’s no escaping it.”

In her words
Selected Works

in  her  words

selected  works


Winners and Losers: (Tales of Life, Law, Love and Loss) is a collection of linked short stories that turns a dazzling searchlight on the inner workings of the legal profession, told from the viewpoint of a feisty narrator finding her way through a hostile and competitive law environment. By the end of Winners and Losers, the reader will have undergone a sprawling journey over a lifetime in practice, where the pit-bull litigator is tenderized through the clients, the work, the failure of her own marriage, by single mothering. Because the protagonist doesn’t judge, because she lays out the evidence in her search for the truth in a circling, cayote-like fashion, the reader lives that tracking inquiry along with her.

Madott’s stories pose the big questions about life, recognize the ceiling price to truth, taste the bitterness of loss and damaged faith in the justice system – all systems being artifice and betrayal for those who care too much. What emerges from the flame of these stories is an unforgettable portrait of a woman of resilience, strength and integrity, who surrenders herself, not to the law, but to the people she serves and loves.


“Never has the genre of legal drama weaved gender, culture, heritage, despair and the mysteries of the soul. Great insight and just beautiful writing!”  

– Jerry Ciccoritti, Film Director, The Many Trials of One Jane Doe 

Dying Times

Dying Times is the story of a successful though conflicted lady litigator, told with a dark undercurrent of humour that underpins this striking meditation on dying, and discovering a meaningful approach to living.  

Death is all around the lady litigator. It is her loving, wise mother who, by dying, triggers open hatred within the family. It is her greedy, irascible but brilliant senior partner at a big downtown law firm who, while determined to control everything, even his own death, discovers generosity. It is the last client the senior partner and lady litigator will share, a man in a wheelchair who is appalling in his need to wreak ruin on his wife in a monumentally divorce case. 

Far from sombre, the novel is told with a wry wit and a transcendent tenderness that is fresh and surprising. It is a presentation of raw reality, with characters navigating the emotions of love on the verge of abuse and hatred, loyalty on the verge of betrayal, and visceral energy on the verge of exhaustion. Dying Times frames an important conversation: We die as individually as we have lived.” 

“So much life in Dying Times!” – George Amabile, internationally acclaimed and award-winning author 

A “treatise on love and forgiveness.” – Sandra Martin, contributing writer for The Globe and Mail, author of A Good Death: Making the Most of Our Final Choices. 

“I now feel less alone in the world.” – Emma Pivato, author of the nine-volume Claire Burke mystery series 


In Making Olives and Other Family Secrets (Ripasso)  “Madott gives us classic tales of family disgraces, jealousies, feuds, property thefts, father-son battles, sister-sister hatred, and the deadly stones that settle in the stomachs of those who should be close to and caring of one another. There is harshness here and some bitter pills to swallow. But through the pain and sadness, there is always an intense love of life, something that pervades all of Madott’s work.”  

Michael Mirolla, publisher of GUERNICA EDITIONS and author of the novel Berlin 

Giovanna Riccio

A poet, teacher, and independent scholar, Giovanna Riccio was born in Calabria, Italy and immigrated to Canada as a child.  She is a graduate of the University of Toronto, where she majored in philosophy.  Giovanna is the author of Vittorio (Lyricalmyrical Press, 2010) Strong Bread (Quattro Books, 2011), and Plastic’s Republic (Guernica Editions, 2019). Her poems have appeared in national and international publications, numerous anthologies and have been translated into six languages. She regularly participates in literary events and has performed at Blue Met, The Edinburgh Fringe, Slovenia’s Poetry and Wine Festival, and the University of Calabria’s Italian Diaspora Conference to name a few. Giovanna is the 2021 winner of the Venera Fazio Poetry Prize.  Giovanna also publishes essays, articles plus fiction and poetry book reviews and is a co-founder of The Di Cicco Poetry Prize.  

As the inspiration for, and an active participant in, George Elliott Clarke’s Five Poets Breaking into Song project, three of Giovanna Riccio’s poems have been turned into songs with music composed by the acclaimed, award-winning composer, James Rolfe, and the Emmy-winning composer, producer and jazz pianist, D.D. Jackson. All three pieces will be included on CDs to be released in 2023 and 2024.  

Giovanna Riccio’s Plastic’s Republic: Featuring the Barbie Suite, was one of three finalists for the 2022 Bressani Poetry Prize. Due to the Barbie suite’s historical, philosophical and critical poems on Mattel and the Barbie doll, it is experiencing revived interest due to the massive success of the 2023 Barbie movie. Giovanna has lectured on how Barbie’s plastic essence has made her an internationally enduring social and capitalist icon at various places including The University of Toronto, Waterloo University, Memorial University and John Cabot University in Rome, Italy.  

in her words
selected Works

in  her  words

selected  works

Plastic’s Republic: Featuring the Barbie Suite

In 2019, Barbara Millicent Roberts, aka, Barbie turned 60. Plastic’s Republic offers an adventurous poem sequence centering on this complex cultural icon and feminist bête-noir powered by plasticity. Aside from thematically animating the ghost of Plato, the poems give voice to the major players in Barbie’s development and mammoth success, including Ruth Handler who co-founded Mattel with her husband; their daughter Barbara—the doll’s inspiration and namesake—and Barbie, herself. “The Barbie Suite” also features poems about Barbieversions that highlight Mattel’s opportunistic marketing response to social trends. Verses on the “Human Barbie” phenomenon treat plastic-obsessed humans who embrace physical and digital plastic surgery to embody ‘dollification.’ The book’s finale naturally segues to silicone sex dolls and a plastic-smothered ocean.

Strong Bread

Strong Bread is a rare collection that becomes a theatre of voices… Riccio’s particular poetic strengths align with socio-political themes that bear witness to events of collective import and also demonstrate an unmistakeable feminist sensibility….” 

(Francesco Loriggio, writer, translator and retired professor of Italian Studies at Carleton University.)


Vittorio is an evocative, image-rich dramatic monologue written in the voice of an older Italian-immigrant recounting his numerous frustrated artistic and intellectual talents coupled to intangible desires; vivid epistolary verses in additional voices and catalogue poems drawn from personal archives piece together this long poem. Vittorio lyrically unfolds into the fragmented life of an immigrant shifting and repositioning memory to make sense of his ineffable sense of dislocation.  

Mary Di Michele

Born in Italy, Maria Luisa Di Michele, Mary di Michele immigrated to Canada as a child with her family. In grade school a teacher renamed her Mary as more easily pronounced.

Mary is an award-winning author of more than 12 books. Her writing has been widely anthologized and published internationally in English and in translations. She has held many writer-in-residence positions including at University of Toronto, as well as at università di Roma and Bologna in Italy. She became a full professor in the English literature department at Concordia university where she taught for over thirty years. She has now retired from teaching and continues to live in Montreal.

Her awards include first prize for poetry in the CBC literary competition, the Confederation Poet’s award, the Air Canada writing award, and first prize in the Malahat long poem competition. Luminous Emergencies was short-listed for the Trillium Award, Debriefing the Rose, and The Flower of Youth were short-listed for the A.M. Klein award.

As a poet her voice has been described in The Canadian Forum as “Feminine, tough, ironic, and unsentimental”, in Books in Canada as “both contemporary and timeless”, and as “lyrical, metaphorical, yet also interrogative and unsettling…” exploring” the transformative powers of language, memory, and love” in The Oxford Companion to Twentieth Century Poetry.

Mary is also a member of the collaborative writing group, Yoko’s Dogs, along with Jan Conn, Susan Gillis, and Jane Munro, working with and adapting Japanese linked verse forms.

In her words
Selected Works

in  her  words

selected  works

Tenor of love

Though his voice enthralled the world over a century ago, Enrico Caruso remains perhaps the most celebrated tenor who ever lived. In this remarkable, intensely imagined novel, renowned poet Mary di Michele discovers a man as passionate for life as for his music, a man who adored and was adored in turn.

Vividly realized and impeccably researched, brimming with lyricism and sensuality, Tenor of Love explores the tensions between life and art, love and ambition. At its heart, it is a novel about love: who we love, how, and why.

the flower of youth

The poems in The Flower of Youth depict the coming of age and into sexual difference of the great writer and film director, Pier Paolo Pasolini. The time of this story is World War II; the place is German – occupied northern Italy. Unlike his younger brother, Guido, who took up arms to fight in the resistance, Pasolini chose to help his mother set up a school for the boys, mostly sons of farmers, too young to fight or be conscripted. The situation ignited an internal war that nearly eclipsed the historical moment for the young Pasolini, a battle within between his desire for boys and his Catholic faith and culture.The book is a kind of novel in verse including a prologue and epilogue that details di Michele’s search for Pasolini, her pilgrimage to the place and research into the time that shaped him as a man and as an artist.


Referencing the post-war neorealist film by Vittorio De Sica, Mary di Michele’s Bicycle Thieves commemorates her Italian past and her life in Canada through elegy and acts of translation of text and of self.
The collection opens with a kind of hymn to life on the planet, sung from the peak of that urban island, Montreal ― an attempt to see beyond death. The book moves into a sequence of poems described by Sharon Thesen as the poet “envisioning the passage of time under the ‘full and waning’ moon of Mount Royal’s beacon cross, recalling her Italian immigrant parents in Toronto and her current life in Montreal [. . .] a sort of Decameron.”
Thesen’s description is apt for the collection as a whole, which moves into the poet’s autobiography ― in search of catharsis through literature ― and pays tributes to poets who have been part of the literary landscape di Michele now inhabits. Bicycle Thieves is poetry as time machine, transcending the borders between life and death, language and culture.

TINA Biello

Tina Biello is Italian by way of a small logging town on Vancouver Island in BC. She is born to immigrant parents from Southern Italy.

She lives on the traditional territory of the Snawnaw-as people. An actor, a poet and playwright, she had the great privilege of working with mentor Patrick Lane from 2008-2019.

Her first full-length book of poetry, In the Bone Cracks of the Walls, published by Leaf Press, was part of a multi-disciplinary art exhibition of poetry, watercolour and music in Montreal, Vancouver and Italy.

A Housecoat Remains is her second collection with Guernica Editions, 2015. Playing into Silence is her third collection with Caitlin Press, 2018. Forthcoming in 2024 is The Weight of Survival published by Caitlin Press. She was the second Poet Laureate of Nanaimo from 2017-2020. Since then she has been collaborating with composers and the Vancouver Island Symphony with new symphonic works set to her poetry. Her next piece called The Quietness of That is set to music by Toronto composer, Alice Ho. Her recent two Act play is based on Lorna Crozier’s poems from A Saving Grace.  

In Her Words
Selected Works

in  her  words

selected  works

The Weight of Survival

Nestled in a small logging town, is an old elementary school that is now a retreat centre. As a child of immigrants, Biello goes to school not speaking English.

This book tracks her experience there as one of four families who emigrated from southern Italy, not speaking the language and working in the forests of the surrounding area.

What happens when you bring traditional food for lunch to school and have to hide it or eat when all the kids go outside to play? How do you know how to be queer when there is no language or place for it in your culture of origin? This book explores being from two places, two communities and brings them together into one.

Playing into Silence

Poet Tina Biello unearths just about everything from beneath the Alberta ground: dinosaur bones, a family’s firstborn, missing cows. A voice from within the Prairies, Playing Into Silence is a look back at a dry time in lesbian identity.

“Biello’s language is rich with emblems: old furniture, old vehicles and machines, a mask, a musical instrument. Arguably, Biello’s narrative format allows merging of subjective/ objective material more easily in poetry than prose.”
BC BookWorld

A housecoat remains

This collection tells a multi-layered story between worlds: old country vs. new, traditional life vs. modern, health vs. illness. Biello takes us on a journey between these worlds and shows us how mother, father and daughter cope with loss and re-discover each other through the difficult illness of Alzheimer’s disease.

In her deft homage to her post-WWII Italian parents, Biello takes us into their three shifting worlds: the old country; the new; the new-ways of their Canadian-born children. We eat sugo at their table, grab a rock to stop a repeated taunt, hold their dying hand and are invigorated by their tenacity, vitality. When you finish this book, it stays put in your heart.

—Betsy Warland author of
Breathing the Page – Reading the Act of Writing

Privacy Settings
We use cookies to enhance your experience while using our website. If you are using our Services via a browser you can restrict, block or remove cookies through your web browser settings. We also use content and scripts from third parties that may use tracking technologies. You can selectively provide your consent below to allow such third party embeds. For complete information about the cookies we use, data we collect and how we process them, please check our Privacy Policy
Consent to display content from - Youtube
Consent to display content from - Vimeo
Google Maps
Consent to display content from - Google