Interview: Working with the Mob; Laura Davis Meets the Liverpool-Born Author Teaching Mafia Criminals How to Write

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), September 6, 2008 | Go to article overview

Interview: Working with the Mob; Laura Davis Meets the Liverpool-Born Author Teaching Mafia Criminals How to Write


Byline: Laura Davis

WRITE about what you know, the experienced author advises the novice.

Except, on this occasion, what they knew came from the darkest edges of humanity, where nightmares roam unshackled to a violent soundtrack.

Yet, believing in truth above all, the writer pressed home his point.

"If you're going to write, you have to be honest, and they're very nervous about the real truth about what they've done.

"It's known within the prison who they are, but when they meet people from outside they're very protective of their own history," reveals Michael Jacob, an ex-pat Liverpudlian who is teaching jailed Mafiosi the art of creative writing.

"We discovered that there was a group of people in the local maximum security prison and they were all writing fables for kids and we said to them, 'Look, boys, you have such a vast experience in murder, death and conspiracy, let's get serious and write some real crime stories'."

Listening to Michael's description of these "delightful characters" who are studying philosophy and law degrees in their jail cells, it is easy to imagine him teaching a prison library full of charming Robert de Niros, but don't be fooled.

These men are so dangerous that their life sentences truly mean life - one of them was convicted of 28 murders, and many of them are under a "41 bis" restriction - no contact with the outside world.

One of their short stories is about how you test a gun that you plan to use to kill somebody.

The solution is simple - shoot someone else, anyone else. Just pick a person at random and fire.

That way, you can tell whether the bullet's trajectory is straight.

"Some of them are actually very nice people and they are all very intelligent," continues Michael, 60, who grew up in Toxteth.

"There's really nothing to be frightened about because they want to impress us because they know we're professional writers. They try very hard and we get on very well with them."

This all came about when Michael and his wife, Daniella De Gregorio, 58, were invited to give a talk at the jail, near the Italian town of Spoleto where they live.

The prisoners had read the couple's first joint novel, Critique of Criminal Reason, and were big fans.

They are now holding a crime literature festival close to their home, which one of the inmates will attend, and are hoping to entice a publisher to produce a book of the Mafiosi's short stories.

Their second joint novel, Days of Atonement, has just been published and the couple - together named Michael Gregorio, as if they were one individual - will be visiting Liverpool on Tuesday, where they will be signing copies of their books at Waterstones, Bold Street, from 12.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Interview: Working with the Mob; Laura Davis Meets the Liverpool-Born Author Teaching Mafia Criminals How to Write
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.