- Born: in New Haven, CT, The United States.
- Description: Rita Ciresi was born in New Haven, Connecticut, a city which serves as the backdrop for most of her fiction. Ciresi is the author of three award-winning novels and two short-story collections that address the Italian-American experience.
Her latest novel, Bring Back My Body to Me, was a semi-finalist for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award and a runner-up for the Faulkner/Wisdom Novella Award. Publishers Weekly called it "sensitive, funny, and charming. . . a refreshing entry to the very clogged sub-genre of cancer lit."
Her first collection of short stories, Mother Rocket, won the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction and was a finalist for the 1993 Los Angeles Times' Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction.
Her first novel, Blue Italian, was published in hardcover in 1996 by Ecco Press and in paperback by Delacorte Press in 1997. In 1999, it was translated and published as Blau ist die Hoffnung by Goldmann Verlag, Munich. Blue Italian was selected by Barnes and Noble as part of their "Discover New Writers Series." Reviewers have praised the novel as follows: "Rita Ciresi's beautifully written, bittersweet first novel examines love and marriage with unflinching honesty. The ending, with its moving, explicit sense of loss, resonates long after the book is closed." (Elle) "There is a sure hand and a keen eye reporting from the two ethnic camps. . . . Despite their faults and excesses. . . the characters. . . are funny and sympathetic in their misery." (New York Times) "This is honest, earthy, warm, and funny--as well as heartbreaking. Highly recommended." (Library Journal) "There is real substance in this tragicomic story of two people with smart mouths and starved hearts groping their way towards a love they don't get much chance to enjoy." (Publisher's Weekly) "A remarkably accomplished debut." (Booklist)
Ciresi’s second novel, Pink Slip was published by Delacorte in 1999, and by Delta Trade paperbacks in 2000. It was translated into German as Ein Mann fur Lisa (Goldmann Verlag, Munich) and into Dutch as Vlinders (Arena Publishers, Amsterdam). Pink Slip was the winner of the 1997 Pirate's Alley Faulkner Prize for the Novel and an alternate selection of the Literary Guild and the Doubleday Book Club. Critical response to Pink Slip was as follows: “Wit and humor are the keys to this lively novel.” (Mademoiselle) “It’s refreshing to find a female narrator with an authentically lusty voice.” (New York Times) “A moving love story.” (Redbook) “Ciresi mixes the tragic and the comic aspects of love in hilarious fashion.” (Tampa Tribune-Times) “Bright characters and sharp dialogue make this witty romantic comedy a worthy sequel to the author’s admirable Blue Italian.” (Dallas Morning News) “Pink Slip amuses from start to finish.” (Penn Stater).
Ciresi’s volume of linked short stories, Sometimes I Dream in Italian, was published in 2001 to positive reviews from Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, and newspapers from the St. Petersburg Times to the New Haven Advocate. The New York Times Book Review listed the volume under its “New and Noteworthy Paperbacks” and stated, “Ciresi has a lovely ear for dialogue and the ability to nail the details in descriptions that are both funny and painfully accurate.” The collection was a Book Sense 76 pick and a finalist for the Paterson Fiction Prize; it was translated into German by Goldmann Verlag as Italienische Kusse.
Remind Me Again Why I Married You is a sequel to Pink Slip. Told in alternating voices, Remind Me explains what happens when a man who values his privacy above all else marries a woman who is writing a tell-all novel.