photo: John F. Martin
Nicholas DiGiovanni was born at the Fort Dix Army Hospital while his father served in the Air Force at Maguire AFB. His father was then assigned to duty at a base near Lincoln, Nebraska, and his parents moved with their new baby to Fremont, Nebraska, for a year. The author has spent the rest of his life being grateful that his parents did not stay in Nebraska – where he believes he would have wound up as assistant manager of an Agway franchise – and moved back to their home town of Yonkers, New York, a gritty industrial city on the lower Hudson River where DiGiovanni grew up, went to school, and absorbed the history of his family and his city – including the strange and sad tale of his great-uncle, 23-year-old carpet-mill worker Thomas Crooks, who (according to a 1920s newspaper article) had a “premonition of his own death,” falling to his death in a vat of acid just minutes after turning to his bride-to-be after a lunchtime picnic and declaring “I am going in, but I shall be carried out!”
DiGiiovanni is a novelist, essayist, award-winning journalist, blogger and teacher of creative writing. His novella “Rip,” a modern-day parody of Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle,” was published in 2011 by Black Angel Press. His fiction has appeared in Paterson Literary Review, Identity Theory, The Caribbean Writer, and elsewhere.
A sampling of his essays on mortality and memory appeared in “Songs of Ourselves,” the anthology of personal writings by a variety of writers that was published by Blue Heron Book Works in 2015.
DiGiovanni has been the recipient of five fiction-writing fellowships at the prestigious Virginia Center for the Creative Arts
He cites among his many writing influences – listing just a few of many -- the novelists Kurt Vonnegut, E.L. Doctorow, and Jack Kerouac; the poet Robert Lax; the essayist and journalist Joseph Mitchell; the music and lyrics of Bob Dylan and American roots music; and the works of Washington Irving, in his short stories and, in particular, his tongue-in-cheek history of Dutch New York, as well as a late-1800s book, “A History of Yonkers,” by the Rev. Charles Allison.
DiGiovanni founded the highly regarded Delaware Valley Poetry Festival, held annually in western New Jersey from the late 1990s through the late 2000s, which featured many widely-acclaimed poets including former U.S. poets laureate Robert Pinsky, Rita Dove and Louise Gluck and Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Muldoon.
He currently lives in Highland Park, N.J. His website, “World of Wonders,” can be found at www.nicholasgiovanni.com