“One of the reigning queens of women’s fiction.” –USA Today
“A comedy writer with a heart of gold.” – The New York Times
“Trigiani is a master of palpable and visual detail.” – The Washington Post
Beloved by millions of readers around the world for her “dazzling” novels, (USA Today) Adriana Trigiani is the New York Times bestselling author of eighteen books in fiction and nonfiction. She has been published in 38 countries around the world. The New York Times calls her “a comedy writer with a heart of gold”, her books “tiramisu for the soul”. She wrote the blockbuster The Shoemaker’s Wife, the Big Stone Gap series, the Valentine trilogy and Lucia, Lucia. Trigiani’s themes of love and work, emphasis upon craftsmanship and family life have brought her legions of fans who call themselves Adri-addicts (a term coined by book maven Robin Kall). Their devotion has made Adriana one of “the reigning queens of women’s fiction” (USA Today).
Her latest novel, Tony’s Wife, was released on November 20, 2018. The spellbinding epic takes place during the Big Band era and explores how a traditional Italian-American family grapples with the seismic shifts they face in a rapidly changing world, in pursuit of love, fame and the American Dream. Described as “a heartfelt tale of love too stubborn to surrender to human frailties” (Kirkus), Tony’s Wife has been nominated for the 2019 Library of Virginia People’s Choice Award for Fiction.
Adriana is an award-winning playwright, television writer/producer, and filmmaker. She adapted her bestselling novel Very Valentine for television, premiering on Lifetime on Saturday, June 8, 2019 at 8/7c. Produced by Larry Sanitsky, the film stars Jacqueline Bisset as Teodora Angelini and Kelen Coleman as Valentine Roncalli. Very Valentine launched Lifetime’s Book Club. In 2018, Trigiani directed the feature film Then Came You written by and starring Kathie Lee Gifford, Craig Ferguson, Elizabeth Hurley, Phyllida Law and Ford Kiernan in the Highlands of Scotland.
Adriana wrote and directed the film adaptation of her debut novel Big Stone Gap, shot entirely on location in her Virginia hometown with an all-star cast including: Ashley Judd, Patrick Wilson, Whoopi Goldberg, John Benjamin Hickey, Anthony LaPaglia, Jenna Elfman, Jane Krakowski, Judith Ivey, Mary Pat Gleason, Dagmara Dominczyk, Mary Testa, Paul Wilson, Chris Sarandon, Jasmine Guy, and introducing Erika Coleman and Bridget Gabbe, with music by John Leventhal, and songs performed by his lovely wife Rosanne Cash, the legendary Ralph Stanley, Papa Joe Smiddy and the Reedy Creek Boys, If Birds Could Fly and Michael Trigiani. Glorious local talent performed on the soundtrack and acted in the movie, sharing their gifts beyond the peaks of the Appalachian mountains.
Big Stone Gap opened the Virginia Film Festival on November 6th, 2014. Tickets for the 1000-seat house sold out in minutes, breaking a record for the festival. The film screened at the inaugural Bentonville Film Festival in May 2015 to three sold-out crowds; at the closing ceremony, Big Stone Gap took home the first award of the night for Best Ensemble. Big Stone Gap hit theaters nationwide on October 9th, 2015 and spent 11 weeks in theaters. The film was the #2 Romantic Comedy of 2015, and listed as a top-grossing women-directed film of that year. It is now available to own.
Adriana is the award-winning director of the 1996 documentary film, Queens of the Big Time. The documentary won the Audience Award at the Hamptons and Palm Springs International Film Festivals, and was featured at the Hong Kong and London International Film Festivals. Queens of the Big Time will soon be available on platforms for viewing.
Adriana’s novels have been honored at home and around the world. In the UK, Richard and Judy selected Lucia, Lucia as one of their first picks in 2005, and The Shoemaker’s Wife in 2012. In Ireland, Lucia, Lucia was long listed for the IMPAC award in 2005. Adriana won the Library of Virginia People’s Choice Award for Fiction in 2007 for Home to Big Stone Gap , and the RUSA Award from the American Library Association for Very Valentine in 2010 (click here to see the video of that hilarious evening). On April 7, 2016, Adriana was among one of seven honorees inducted into the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame by the Robertson School of Media & Culture at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Adriana’s non-fiction includes the instant New York Times bestseller Don’t Sing at the Table about the lives of her grandmothers, which was nominated for an Audi Award in the read by the author/memoir category. For fun in the kitchen, she co-authored Cooking with My Sisters with Mary Trigiani, with contributions from their sisters and mom. The book was featured at a New York Times culinary evening featuring Tyler Florence, Laurent Tourondel, and Rocco DiSpirito. Adriana relished her time as an ‘agony aunt’ when she wrote Ask Adri, a weekly advice column in The Irish Independent from 2007 – 2008.
Adriana enjoyed a fabulous run as a writer/producer in series television. She was mentored by the great Bill Persky and worked for some spectacular showrunners, including Janet Leahy, Matt Williams, Alan Zweibel and Susan Fales-Hill. She wrote 15 pilots for wonderful actors including Jasmine Guy, Raven Symone and Mario Cantone. She was a writer/producer for The Cosby Show and A Different World and executive producer and showrunner of CityKids, for ABC/Jim Henson Productions. She also wrote and executive-produced Growing Up Funny, a television special for Lifetime which garnered an Emmy nomination for Lily Tomlin. Adriana wrote the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and a variety of television specials and series featuring great performers, including some of her all-time favorites: Madeline Kahn, Dolly Parton, Whoopi Goldberg, Laraine Newman, Marlo Thomas and Lily Tomlin, among others.
Adriana has made regular appearances on NBC’s Today Show for over 15 years, loving her moments with Kathie Lee and Hoda. Most recently, she discussed her latest novel Tony’s Wife. She appeared in Mary McDonough Murphy’s PBS documentary, Hey Boo, as well as a documentary about the work of Jane Austen. She has appeared on SiriusXM’s The Hoda Show with Hoda Kotb, WNYC’s The Leonard Lopate Show, NPR’s Diane Rehm Show and May Lily Lee’s Virginia Conversations. In 2015, she appeared in The Italian Americans for PBS, which features scenes from her award-winning documentary Queens of the Big Time. Adriana has been profiled by publications around the world, including The New York Times, Virginia Living, Publisher’s Weekly, and Writer’s Digest. Michael Patrick King tucked copies of her novels in scenes throughout the Sex and the City television series and movies. There’s a drinking game in South Bend, Indiana for the eagle-eyed viewers who spot the novels.
A sought-after speaker, Trigiani is as engaging on the stage as she is on the page. She regularly speaks to book clubs, classrooms, libraries, literary festivals, and conducts writing workshops with women’s groups across the country. In 2019, she spoke on the NYU SPS Media Talk panel along with Val Emmich and Harlan Coban, moderated by Pamela Paul of The New York Times, and the Virginia Festival of the Book with Douglas Brinkley, Lee Smith and Margot Lee Shetterly. She appeared at One Book, One Community Read events around the country, including Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Bloomfield Township, Michigan. As a mistress of ceremonies, Adriana has hosted The Library of Virginia Awards for ten years, the Erma Bombeck Arizona Kidney Foundation Luncheon in Phoenix, the prestigious Poets and Writers Gala in New York City, the Audio Book Awards during BEA and The Women’s Fund of East Tennessee Annual Women’s Luncheon.
In 2019, the Elkhart Education Foundation honored Adriana with the dedication of the Adriana Trigiani Learning Commons at Hawthorne Elementary School in Elkhart, Indiana. She has received citations from The Sons of Italy, an honorary degree from Saint Mary’s College, two honorary degrees from the University of New Haven, and has given the commencement speech at University of Virginia at Wise, the University of New Haven and Emory & Henry College. A seasoned lecturer, Adriana has also been a guest speaker at New York University and The New School for Social Research in New York City. She is a recipient of the Appalachian Heritage Writer’s Award, presented by The Shepherd University Foundation, The West Virginia Humanities Council, and The West Virginia Center for the Book. Adriana Skypes and speaks with book clubs, library groups and classrooms 2 to 3 times a week from home. Her novels have been selected for the book clubs at USA Today, People magazine and Target. She was a Pennie’s Pick at Costco, an honoree of Shepherd University’s Appalachian Author Series, as well as a selection for the all-community reads in Ohio, Illinois, Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee.
In 2013, Adriana co-founded The Origin Project with Nancy Bolmeier Fisher, who serves as Executive Director of the program. The Origin Project is an in-school writing program that brings professional authors into the classroom to work with students on their creative writing skills – specifically, stories inspired by their own family history. The project culminates with a published anthology of student work at the end of the school year. Since The Origin Project’s launch in 2013, the program has expanded to include many more schools, now serving over 1,500 students grades 2-12 in the Appalachian mountains of Virginia.
Adriana lives in New York City with her husband Tim Stephenson, the Emmy Award winning television lighting designer, their daughter and rescue pets. In 2014, Adriana invited The New York Times for a peek into her work and home life (check it out here).
Adriana grew up in Big Stone Gap, Virginia in a big Italian family (with roots in northern Italy, the Veneto and Bari). Her mother was a librarian, her father a garment manufacturer. Adriana’s first professional writing job was as a news reporter for WNVA radio when she was 15 years old. While she loved the job, it made her realize that she preferred writing for the theater, where her imagination and the facts could run wild.
While a student in the Notre Dame/Saint Mary’s Theater Department, Adriana was the first student to write and direct an original play on the mainstage with Notes From the Nile, a full-length play about the life and loves of Cleopatra. In her review in The South Bend Tribune, Elizabeth Christman wrote,“I greet you at the beginning of a great career…this is the debut of stunning new talent…Trigiani’s talent is like an oil well that hasn’t been capped.” Trigiani received the William Mitchell Playwriting Award from the University of Notre Dame for her debut. While at Saint Mary’s, she also founded, directed, wrote and appeared with The Outcasts, an all-female comedy troupe that began improvisational performances on the shuttle buses between the schools and grew into a musical variety show with sell-out performances in the university theater.
Adriana moved to New York City in the 1980s and into The Milbank House, a boarding house in Greenwich Village. She recast The Outcasts with comediennes in an open audition process in the garment district. They made their New York City debut at Upstairs at the Vesuvio Restaurant (proprietors Rosemarie and Tony Casciole and their son, Ernie, opened the club just for the group). From there, The Outcasts performed on the city cabaret circuit for 7 years, honored as AGVA’s Young Stars of Tomorrow and nominated for the MAC awards . While Adriana worked with the troupe and wrote plays, her day jobs included: office temp on Wall Street, childcare/nanny (her young charge Emily Bliss became a Fulbright scholar, accident? Don’t think so), ticket seller at Cinema Village and phone installer for the Super Bowl. While living in the boarding house as a young playwright, Trigiani became an apprentice to Ruth Goetz (who wrote The Heiress with husband Augustus Goetz). Ruth was introduced to Adriana’s plays by the stage director George Keathley. Trigiani met with Ruth every Saturday for several years for “gardening lessons,” Ruth’s self-styled, one on one playwriting tutorial.
Adriana made her off-Broadway debut in New York City as a playwright in 1985 at the Manhattan Theater Club with Secrets of the Lava Lamp directed by Stuart Ross. She wrote for the 52nd Street Project, was produced in regional theaters including a commission for a full length play from The Missouri Repertory Theater under George Keathley, and was produced at Jack Bettenbender’s Rutgers Summerfest for Ethel Zupp’s Amazing Cheesecake, directed by Ed Stern.
Adriana sold her first screenplay, Three to Get Married, in 1986, with Kate Benton producing. When Adriana was given her grandfather’s 16mm films he had shot between 1936 and 1960, she brought them to the DuArt Labs in New York to be restored. From there, using his films as a narrative ribbon, she wrote and directed the documentary film Queens of the Big Time, the story of her father’s hometown, Roseto, Pennsylvania. The film won the 1996 Audience Award at the Hamptons International Film Festival, tied for the same award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival and was featured at the international festivals in London and Hong Kong. Scenes from the documentary are featured in PBS’ The Italian Americans. Adriana’s grandfather’s films inspired her to write and direct movies; with the release of Big Stone Gap, his dreams and hers came full circle.
AND A LOOK FORWARD…
Adriana Trigiani’s Very Valentine will premiere on Lifetime on June 8, 2019 at 8/7c. Make sure to check her Facebook page for more exciting Very Valentine announcements!
Tony’s Wife will be available in paperback on July 23rd, 2019, available wherever books are sold.