Marco Rafalà



Marco Rafalà


Brooklyn, NY, USA


Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Audiobook

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Marco Rafalà is a first-generation Sicilian American novelist and writer for tabletop role-playing games. He earned his MFA in Fiction from The New School and is a co-curator of the Guerrilla Lit Reading Series in New York City. Born in Middletown, Connecticut, he now lives in Brooklyn, New York. His fiction and non-fiction have appeared in the Bellevue Literary Review and Literary Hub. His debut novel, HOW FIRES END, was a 2020 Connecticut Book Awards finalist and honorable mention and won the 2021 Italian American Studies Association Book Award.


HOW FIRES END is a Sicilian American family saga inspired by my father’s stories of his life in Sicily during and after the Second World War. In the novel, a vendetta and a curse follow two families from a hillside village in WWII Sicily to an Italian American community in Connecticut in the 1980s. Though I grew up listening to my father’s stories, the idea of writing this novel didn’t occur to me until I took a trip to Sicily with him in 2001. Being in Melilli, Sicily—in the village where my father grew up— walking the same cobblestone streets he had spoken about, sitting under the same tree he slept under as a boy, visiting the graves of his cousins who died in 1943 playing with an unexploded shell, seeing the caves my family hid in during the war, I found the answer to a question I didn’t even know to ask:

What is a Sicilian American story that isn’t about the mafia? It’s about the people of a small, close-knit community like Melilli, the ordinary working-class and poor people whose lives were deeply affected by the war. It’s about those same people who came to the U.S. and created a new community—carrying their homeland with them. And it’s about their children, who straddle the question of what it means to be American and what it means to be Sicilian, and how you reconcile the two, and what do you do with the weight of your parent’s personal history?

  • 2020 Connecticut Book Awards finalist and honorable mention
  • Winner of the 2020 Best Book Awards in Literary Fiction at the American Book Festival
  • Winner of the 2021 Italian American Studies Association Book Award
Book Title 1

How Fires End

Book Cover 1

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