Melanie Masterton Sherazi – William Demby’s Work across Postwar Rome’s Culture Industries

Tuesday, February 16, 2021–6:00 PM
NYU Zoom
Central European Time
Florence, Italy
Black and white photograph of William Demby sitting in a chair at his desk in front of a typewriter, with framed art on the walls and a bookshelf visible behind him

William Demby in his studio in Rome, 1961 (photograph provided by the William Demby Papers at the Villa Podernovo)

The Black American writer William Demby forged a dynamic career across Rome’s culture industries as a novelist, journalist, and screenwriter, translator, and actor in the Italian cinema in the 1950s and 1960s. Drawing on archival research into the author’s papers from this period, this talk will explore how Demby channels these experiences into his genre-blurring, semi-autobiographical novel The Catacombs (1965).

Melanie Masterton Sherazi is a Terra Foundation Affiliated Fellow at AAR.

This talk is a collaboration between the American Academy in Rome, Black History Month Florence, and Villa La Pietra, NYU Florence. The start time is 6:00pm Central European Time (12:00 noon Eastern Time).

Watch the video