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Biography


My birth place is the Calabrian mountain village, Miglierina, in the province of Catanzaro (http://miglierina.asmenet.it/). Like thousands of southern Italians, I immigrated to Canada with my family in 1957. After my father's death in 1961, I quit high school to pursue a career in hairdressing while resuming my studies through night courses.

In 1972, I left the practice of hairdressing to teach its art and science in a vocational course at William Hingston High School, in the multi-ethnic Park Extension district of Montreal, and later acquired a teaching diploma from McGill University. In 1975, I obtained a BA in Italian literature, but continued my teaching in the beauty care field for twenty more years. During this period I married, raised two children and juggled the start-up and operation of a small business, Minimod Coiffure, (www.minimod.ca) a chain of beauty salons that caters to children and families, which is still operational. But my real passion being literature, I decided to return to my studies in 1999. I first tested the waters for creating writing in a non-credit interest course offered at Vanier College titled, Writing for Fun. A personal essay written for this class was published in the May 1999 issue of Canadian Living magazine. This very minor but for me encouraging first success in writing led me to pursue a Master's degree in creative writing at Concordia University, which I completed in 2006. A novel/thesis titled Girotondo incorporates many of these personal life experiences. In 2007, I received the David McKeen Award for creative writing from Concordia University, an award given each year for the best thesis of the graduating class.

In 2005, an excerpt from this novel, "On the Way to Halifax," translated into Italian, won second prize at the ninth edition of the Premio Letterario Cosseria in Cosseria, Italy, and consequently has been published in Un Crocevia...(2005). The original English version was published in the anthology, Strange Peregrinations (2007). Another excerpt, "Deceptions and Floating Devices," was published in Writing Beyond History (2006), whereas the translated version of this same excerpt was published on line in Bibliosophia, (http://www.bibliosofia.net/files/wbh___connie_guzzo.htm). A personal essay on Italian Canadian writing and the novel excerpt, "The Roller Coaster Ride," were published in Reflections on Culture (2010). My first published novel The Girls of Piazza d'Amore, extracted from the larger thesis/novel, was published in the fall of 2013 by Linda Leith Publishing. 

Since 2000, I have been an active member of the Association of Italian Canadian Writers (http://www.aicw.ca/) and its secretary till 2012. I’m a member of the Canadian Writers’ Union and the Quebec Writers Federation. Since 2011 I have participated in a reading committee set up by the Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Montreal to award Italy's Strega Prize. 

In 2010, together with writer and business partner Michael Mirolla, I took the helm of Guernica Editions (www.guernicaeditions.com) filling the role of President and Chief Administrator. Under Guernica's new imprint, MiroLand, I have edited numerous books. Writing Poetry to Save Your Life, by Maria Mazziotti Gillan (http://www.guernicaeditions.com/title/9781550717471) and My Silent Pledge by Sidney Zoltak.

I am widowed with two sons, David and Anthony, and live in Montreal.

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