Monday, June 25, 2007

Alive on the Andrea Doria! The Greatest Sea Rescue in History

Author Pierette Simpson will be Yvonne Perry's guest on Writers in the Sky Podcast June 29th, 2007!

In 1956, Piera Domenica Burzio and her grandparents left their village of Pranzalito, near Torino in Italy, to begin a new life in America. They made their journey on the last voyage of the Andrea Doria. Pierette and her grandparents survived the collision, when the Swedish liner Stockholm rammed the Italian luxury liner.

The family settled in Detroit, Michigan, where Pierette attended Wayne State University. She received a liberal arts degree, with a teaching certificate in French, Spanish, and Social Studies. She continued her education by doing graduate work in Paris and Angers, France.

Pierette continued to pursue her love of foreign languages by teaching high school French and Spanish in the Farmington Public Schools, near Detroit. In the course of her twenty-six-year teaching career, she was recognized as Michigan Foreign Language Teacher of the Year (1994-95) by the Michigan Foreign Language Association. Upon her retirement, she was inducted into the Farmington Teachers' Hall of Fame.

For many years, Pierette played the violin and performed with several local symphony orchestras and chamber groups. She also has traveled extensively to foreign lands, with an annual trek to Italy, where half of her family resides.

Pierette now teaches pre-kindergarten and kindergarten French part-time in a private school. The rest of her time is devoted to her books: ALIVE ON THE ANDREA DORIA! and L'ULTIMA NOTTE DELL'ANDREA DORIA (The Last Night of the Andrea Doria). Pierette is the first survivor to publish a book about this historic collision, sea rescue and sinking of this event. She hopes to continue the Andrea Doria legacy by becoming the gatekeeper of Doria survivor stories for historical documentation.

The author has been featured on American and Italian documentaries and newsmagazine programs inspired by her books. She is interviewed frequently on radio, the Internet, and for periodicals. Currently, Pierette publishes articles in various American and Italian journals. Her strong loyalty to and pride in her Italian roots are evident in an interview for Le Pagine del Piemonte ("Pages of the Piedmont"): "[Writing the book] has brought me to the heights of ethnic pride. The main reason is that my book corrects a historical injustice against my people. So, I'm proud . . . because I now know that we Italians participated in the greatest sea rescue with courage and competence."


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