Tuesday 23rd of July 2024


Thinking Our Way(S) Home: Identity Navigation, Story-Telling and Self-Translation in Licia Canton’s Writing Between Italy and Canada

Annalisa Bonomo, Università di Enna “Kore” pdf_icon_30x30




Abstract: It is commonly held that narratives serve the purpose of uncovering shared feelings and life values in order to find our connection to them. However, the process of migration changes the concept of home and, as identity is permanently under construction, such a category navigates personal stories resisting any restrictive organization. This means different things in different domains: leaving people and places behind together with new language and cultural relationships carries challenges and pitfalls, unpacks and decenters the patterns of dislocation. Thus, as migrants write their stories, writing migrates among different disciplines in a grid of intersections and in-between spaces of the culturally pervasive myth of leaving home and coming back. Such a collapse of the traditional hierarchy of here and there, favours hybridity and some more inclusive representations of the self within the experience of borders. Following similar transitions, storytelling, travel, translation (and self-translation too) are strictly intertwined in a new sense of belonging to and wandering between languages and cultures. This is particularly true in Italian-Canadian writing, a body of literature produced by writers of Italian background living in Canada. More specifically, the present study investigates Licia Canton’s experience of writing and self-translating as exemplary in this respect. Author of two short story collections, Almond Wine and Fertility (2008) and The Pink House (2018), she is also (co-)editor of nine anthologies of creative and critical writing, including two volumes on the internment of Italian Canadians (2012). As a “writer in-between” and with a “borrowed tongue” –permanently lingering among dialect, Italian, French and English –she re-conceptualizes vivid memories of Italy and Canada in a mixture of characters negotiating between different languages and cultures thanks to a literary journey into identity navigation.


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