Alessandra Valentina Maria Gelmi

Novelist, Poet, Playwright, Journalist, Professor

Excerpt from Who's Afraid of Red

"You see," she began, and turned her body to face him."Everyone must know what happened. Your story must be real, as only you can tell it, not just what you have seen with your eyes and heard with your ears but what you have felt. Your voice must be a clarion. Because the truth is far beyond journalism's grasp."


Excerpt from All That Happened

"The day was hot and dry like a extra thick towel you get at a good hotel, The Crillon or The Vendome in Paris.
They heat the towels for you there. When it is cold outside, when the day is the color of nickel, when the birds ne chantent plus. She read Beaudelaire. Comforts were not lost on her. Her father used to lock her in a cold cellar at night when she was nine for forgetting to feed the dog. She carried the cold in her bones."


Excerpt from Who's Afraid of Red

"She smelled of cardamom and linseed. Around her neck she wore a strand of Persian turquoise he'd brought from the States and hid in his pocket while traveling through Rwanda. If Hutus had seen it, they would have seized it. Very good turquoise, he had told Maria, no visible veins."

Excerpt from Who's Afraid of Red

"He woke at dawn and watched them sleep. He felt connected to Maria and Noel, the way the heart is connected to the lungs, the way the skin is an umbrella organ for systems of great magnitude.

He remembered the market smells, his first time in this small country, right in the heart of Africa, practically sitting on the equator. The smell of mildew, of charcoal-burned meat, of old sweat, tobacco and fruit rind. He remembered the terra cotta hills looming large from where he'd stood, the rooftops of palm and thatch. He remembered the piercing Rasta music. Now he had a daughter. He felt propelled like a chord sprung from a steel guitar."


Excerpt from Leon and Sylvia

"If I were the devil and I really wanted to punish you, I would give you great success in something you didn't believe in." In a red chemise, facing him, she added, "But then you don't believe in the devil, do you?"

"Women!" he bellowed. "Proud of this metaphysical power they assume they possess. Power to change a man! Talk about ego! Women need to know men don't change! -- And babe, I do believe in the devil! Look at my ex-wife and a few of the women I dated! They might as well cleave with goats!"

"Alessandra Gelmi...Raw Talent" –Art's Beat

Alessandra Gelmi’s Who's Afraid of Red -- a chronicle of love and faith set against the Rwandan Genocide -- was recognized for Excellence in Arts and Letters by the National Association of Women for Progress in Africa. In addition, Alessandra was awarded the 2008 Bronze Medal in Adult Multicultural Fiction in the Independent Publisher Book Awards open to all university presses. She was also awarded first place in her genre in the At-Large Competition sponsored by the National Federation of Press Women. In addition, Alessandra was an Award–Wining Finalist in the multicultural fiction category of the National Best Books 2008 Awards sponsored by USA Book News.

Ring of Fire: Selected Poems 1972-2008
(Click here)

Acclaim for Ring of Fire; Gelmi's long-awaited first poetry collection

–James Dickey

“Unpredictable, surprises the reader”
—Ethelbert Miller

“Jazzy, enormous range”
–Bonnie Costello

“Communicates more linguistic energy than most poetry I see”
–Stanley Kunitz

“Good, sharp images!”
–William Burroughs

“Very odd. Very good.”
–Mark Strand

Selected Works

"An eye-opening account of the Rwandan genocide"
Hachette Filipacchi

"Her facility with words astonishes"
World Magazine

"A penetrating, intelligent voice for the age. Gelmi fearlessly tackles the vagaries of male-female courtship"
Vision Magazine

Norman Mailer

"A Provocative Reading Experience. A slim but pithy read. A page a day would be an education for most."
–P. Cajati of The Womens' National Book Association

"Alessandra has written a very thought-provoking and philosophical read."
Kristie Ingerto, Readers' Favorite
Book Awards 2014

“Very Interesting”
–Leon Wieseltier, The New Republic

"Perfect Images"
The Partisan Review

–Écrits des Forges

"Very impressive"
–Robert Richman,
Poetry Editor,
The New Criterion

"Alessandra Gelmi has an incredible talent for voice, irony and image"
Gail Wickman, Readers' Favorite Book Awards 2014