Breakfast Meeting April 18, 2020


Rosanna Micelotta Battigelli immigrated to Sudbury, Ontario, Canada with her family at three years of age. During her teaching career, she received four OECTA (Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association) Best Practice Awards for her unique strategies in early literacy and other initiatives. Rosanna is a professional member of the Writers’ Union of Canada, the Canadian Authors Association, and the Association of Italian-Canadian Writers. An alumna of the Humber School for Writers, she has been published in seventeen anthologies. She lives in Sudbury and has also done readings in Toronto, Sault Ste. Marie, Manitoulin Island, Montreal, Vancouver, New York City, and Italy. In October 2019, she was one of the four authors featured at the Parry Sound Festival of Authors. Rosanna has a children’s book (Pumpkin Orange, Pumpkin Round) published by Pajama Press (September 2019) and books published with Harlequin UK. Her fiction collection Pigeon Soup & Other Stories will be released by Inanna Publications in 2020.

Rosanna’s novel La Brigantessa (Inanna, 2018) was awarded Gold for Historical Fiction in the 2019 Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY Awards) and was a finalist for the 2019 Canadian Authors Association Fred Kerner Book Award and the 2019 Northern Lit Award. It won a 2019 International Book Award for Best Cover Design, and The Miramichi Reader’s “The Very Best!” Book Award in 2019 for Best Cover Art (designed by Val Fullard).


La Brigantessa is set in the aftermath of Italy’s 1861 Unification, when scores of brigands rebelled against the harsh policies imposed by the new government, which in turn ordered the destruction of the brigands and anyone harbouring them. Gabriella Falcone is a peasant from Calabria who is forced to flee her hamlet after committing a crime in self-defence. Her parish priest leads her through the harsh Aspromonte mountains to seek refuge in an isolated monastery, but they fall into the hands of brigands. In the company of the brigand chief, Gabriella discovers that the convictions she once held dear no longer have a place in this wild, unlawful territory. Gabriella wonders if she will ever clear her name and be able to return to a normal life. Experiencing the harsh existence of a female brigand (brigantessa), she discovers what she must do to survive and to ultimately vindicate herself.


“This is a beautiful novel, one that vividly recreates the heartbreak and drama of one of the most turbulent periods in Italian history.”—Nino Ricci, award-winning author of The Origin of Species and the Lives of the Saints trilogy.


“In the writing and storytelling of La Brigantessa, Rosanna Battigelli reflects the very passion and glory, the suffering and hope of the times that her Gabriella Falcone must endure and over which she must triumph. La Brigantessa is written with great heart and conviction—such that, in an era when truth is at a premium, no one will question the truth of this narrative. In fact, the great achievement of this novel is that Rosanna Battigelli is able to make fiction feel truer than truth, truer than non-fiction. Bravo!”

—Joseph Kertes, founder of The Humber School for Writers and author of Gratitude and The Afterlife of Stars