Steven Parlato, a writer, illustrator and assistant professor of English at Naugatuck Valley Community College, is enjoying the publication of his first major fiction piece, “The Namesake,” a young adult novel about “a boy’s too-early coming of age.”
The novel, which is currently available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com as an eBook, will be released in hard cover on Jan. 18, 2013 by Merit Press Books. To celebrate, the community is invited to attend a book launch party from 6-8 p.m on Jan. 18 at John Bale Books, 158 Grand Street, Waterbury.
Parlato, a Waterbury native and resident, started the story that would become “The Namesake” about ten years ago as a master’s candidate at Wesleyan University in Middletown. Formerly a professional graphic designer, Parlato credits his change in career to the powerful impact the faculty and coursework had on his development as a writer.
“It was a leap of faith, after writing papers about young adult novels, to imagine I could write a novel of my own,” said Parlato. “I’ve been fortunate in that leap to have had the support of incredible teachers, friends and family.”
Parlato has received positive feedback from a number of independent readers, bloggers and critical reviewers. The following is excerpted from Kirkus Reviews, publication date Dec. 15, 2012: Evan Galloway, in his third year at Saint Sebastian’s Catholic High School, is told to “write what you know” for his college-application essays. But it’s what he doesn’t know that is haunting him.
“It’s funny how perfectly life splits into before and after,” Evan says. Before his father killed himself, home life was pretty normal—Campbell’s soup casseroles, Monopoly tournaments, building model airplanes and Dad falling asleep in the leather chair. Now there’s a hole in that life that can’t be filled or explained. Evan takes on a quest for answers: What is God’s plan? Why didn’t his father stick around to see what Evan would become? Just as Evan’s first-person narrative begins to feel awash in angst, he finds his father’s journal, and the story becomes compelling, as answers to questions slowly surface. With his friend Alexis, Evan goes “Dad-excavating.” His digging for answers “let[s] the dragon out of the cave,” though, as troubling information unfolds about his father’s school life, his job as an altar boy and Father Fran’s unusual interest in offering private art lessons. Parlato’s debut novel, many years in the making, is a painstaking dissection of a father’s past and its reverberations in his son’s life. A memorable, disturbing story, carefully wrought. (Fiction. 14 & up)
Parlato has been published in journals including MARGIE, Borderlands, Freshwater, CT River Review and Peregrine. In manuscript form, “The Namesake” won the 2011 Tassy Walden Award for New Voices in Children’s Literature. For more information, visit www.stevenparlato.com.
# # #
Naugatuck Valley Community College was established in 1992 with the merging of Waterbury State Technical College and Mattatuck Community College as a public, two-year, associate degree granting, co-educational, non-residential institution. Approximately 11,000 degree and 5,000 non-degree students enroll annually in over 100 accredited and non-credit lifelong learning programs at the College to fulfill their educational goals. NVCC is one of 17 institutions governed by the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education. The College is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and the Connecticut Board of Governors for Higher Education and several programs maintain specialized accreditations. The College is located on a 110-acre campus at 750 Chase Parkway, Waterbury, Connecticut, at exit 18 off Interstate 84 near the junction of Route 8 and in Danbury at 183 Main Street and WestConn. Visit nv.edu for more information.