Language of my Choosing

Language of my Choosing

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The Candid Life-Memoir of an Italian Scot

Anne Pia

ISBN: paperback - 9781912147397; hardback - 9781910745915

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Shortlisted for the Saltire Society First Book of the Year Award 2017 and winner of the Premio Flaiano di Italianistica 2018.

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Back cover text:

Where do I truly belong? This is the question Anne Pia continually asked of herself growing up in the Italian-Scots community of post-World War Two Edinburgh.

This candid, vibrant memoir shares her struggle to bridge the gap between a traditional immigrant way of life and attaining her goal of becoming an independent-minded professional woman.

Through her journey beyond the expectations of family, she discovers how much relationships with other people enhance, inhibit and ultimately define self. Yet – like her relationship with her own mother – her ‘belonging’ in her Italian and Scottish heritages remains to this day unresolved and complex.


Language of My Choosing throws fresh light on the Italian community in Scotland and gives its women their individual voice in a new way. This story resonates with the challenges of migration and immigration which we continue to face today.  Donald Smith, Director of the Scottish Storytelling Centre

The language of the title is that of the author’s self-realisation, as a professional, a mother and an artist. That language, born between different cultures, communities and religions, and between public and domestic life, emerges grateful, nurturing and affirmative.  Meg Bateman, Poet

Bold and honest, raw at times but ultimately celebratory, beautifully written and razor sharp; a wonderful blend of autobiography and social history.  Ann Marie Di Mambro, Playwright and Television Screenwriter

This is the story of a brave and clever woman who refused to deliver the lines that had been prepared for her by the Scottish Italian community that had both nurtured and wounded her. So she set about finding a language of her own choosing that would express the passions of her own restless soul. She has written a book that will challenge its readers to tear up all the scripts society has written for them and find their own words.  Richard Holloway

Distinctive and strong.  Dr Terri Colpi, University of St Andrews, author of The Italian Factor

Table of contents:

Author’s Note

A Complicated Relationship with Milk

Backlights – Backdrop to my Life
Where it All Started: Viticuso, Frosinone, Italy
The Night Neighbours Became the Enemy
The Sinking of the Arandora Star

Highlights – Early Influences
A Contentious Marriage
The Power of an Italian Grandmother
A Family and Community in Transition
An Appraisal and Matters of Choice
Walking with and Losing Grandma
Terra Straniera: An Education

Glorious France: A Study in Self-Making
A Reluctant Homecoming
The Copper Kettle Chronicles
On the Matter of Rooting
Good Times with My Mother
Religion and Sexuality
The Loss of My Mother
The Oak Tree
The Mammissima

Concluding Thoughts

The Language of Viticuso and Thereabouts