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All Lit Up on Pietro Corsi’s “Halifax: The Other Door to America”

halifaxA recent article for All Lit Up’s “Where in Canada” blog showcases Guernica author Pietro Corsi’s Halifax: The Other Door to America in relation to the historic Pier 21.

Halifax: The Other Door to America focuses on the “combination of immigrants, war brides, British children escaping the war, and refugees totaled nearly 1,500,000” who passed through Halifax’s Pier 21 between 1928 and 1971. By giving thorough and well-researched descriptions, Corsi weaves together a very human portrait of this historic entry point. As the blog states, “Corsi details the trials and joys of this journey for so many immigrants who named Canada their new home, as well as the ‘door’ they used to enter: that of Pier 21”.

Corsi’s book tells of “arriving immigrants [who] brought their most precious items from home: work tools, sewing machines, stoves, jewelry. One family even brought a dismantled fireplace from home, intended for rebuilding once settled in their new country”. One section of Corsi’s book describes how a young boy waiting in line managed to make a sandwich out of the seized breads and salamis!

All Lit Up’s “Where in Canada” blog concludes by mentioning the reopening of Pier 21, which “reopened its doors thanks to the efforts of the Pier 21 Society, a group that strove to raise public and political awareness about Canadian immigrant stories that began after their ships docked there”. The blog continues to explain, “the site is now home to a museum celebrating Canadian immigration from every route and coast”.

Pietro Corsi was born in the region of Molise, Italy in 1937. In the mid-50s he moved to Rome, where he worked as a translator while co-creating radio programs for RAI, the official Italian radio organization. He was visiting Canada in 1959, when he was offered a job by the Italian weekly newspaper ‘Il Cittadino Canadese’. During that time, he wrote his first work of fiction (La Giobba, or Winter in Montreal in English, published by Guernica Editions and winner of the G.B. Bressani Prize of 2002). After becoming involved with the Italian cruise industry, effectively pioneering service standards for Princess Cruises, Pietro decided to retire in 1992 and chose to focus on his writing career. His latest book, The light of the soul: Neruda, the white raven, the black cat was released by Guernica Editions in 2015.

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