Vincent Panella to discuss new book at virtual cocktail hour

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BRATTLEBORO — Former Vermont Poet Laureate Chard deNiord will interview Vincent Panella on his soon-to-be-published novel, Sicilian Dreams, during the Brattleboro Literary Festival's virtual Literary Cocktail Hour, scheduled for 5 p.m. on Friday on the Literary Festival's Facebook page.

In this novel, Santo Regina, a 32-year old activist, immigrates to America after taking part in a failed political movement incited by Vito Cascio Ferro, a prominent member of the Sicilian Mafia. Once in America, Santo becomes entangled again with Cascio Ferro and his arch rival, Detective Joseph Petrosino of New York's famous Italian Squad.

Panella will also read from his novel, and there also will be an opportunity for the audience to ask questions.

While cocktails are entirely optional, we might suggest a classic Italian Negroni or perhaps an Americano to celebrate Italy.

To register for this free event, please go to

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Registered participants will be able to interact with the author in a question and answer session. Or you can just watch the event live-streamed on the Brattleboro Literary Festival's Facebook page without registering, at

Panella grew up in New York and graduated from Brooklyn

Technical High School with the intention of becoming an engineer in the age of Sputnik. He earned a bachelors in metallurgical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, and then served two years in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War years. After his military service, he changed his course, earning an masters in English from Penn State, and then going on to the Iowa Writer's Workshop where he studied under William Price Fox.

Panella worked as a news reporter for the Dubuque, Iowa Telegraph-Herald and later as the writing specialist at Vermont Law School. He is the author of three previous books: a memoir, The Other Side, Growing up Italian in America, a previous novel, Cutter's Island, which won a ForeWord fiction award, and a story collection, Lost Hearts. Vincent lives Marlboro with his wife, Susan Sichel.

A Putney resident, deNiord is the author of seven books of poetry, the most recent being In My Unknowing, published in February 2020, plus two books of interviews with eminent American poets. He served as Poet Laureate of Vermont from 2015 to 2019.

This will be the first of a series of Literary Cocktail Hours hosted by the Brattleboro Literary Festival.


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