Fremd teacher named 'Author of the Year'

The Illinois Association of Teachers of English has named Fremd High School English Teacher Tony Romano as “2010 Illinois Author of the Year.”

He was recognized by the organization at a luncheon in Rockford for his novel, “When the World Was Young,” published by Harper Collins.

It takes place in Chicago in the summer of 1957, as Italian immigrants are caught between worlds, clinging to old-country ways in an era of upending change. The events of a single tragic evening bring all of their lives to a sudden, irreversible standstill as a once resilient family begins to unravel under a crushing burden of guilt.

Romano's second work of fiction, “If You Eat, You Never Die: Chicago Tales,” also published by HarperCollins.

The collection of two dozen stories deals with a neighborhood on Chicago's outskirts, where Fabio and Lucia Comingo have built a new American life and struggle to comprehend the influences that distract and change their restless young sons.

Romano is a two-time winner of a PEN Syndicated Fiction Project Award. His work has been produced on National Public Radio's Sound of Writing series and syndicated to newspapers nationwide.

He has taught English and psychology at William Fremd High School since 1981. He is a graduate of Steinmetz High School on Chicago's northwest side and DePaul University in Chicago.

As a teacher, he has twice received a “Those Who Excel Award” from the Illinois State Board of Education. He has been an organizer of Fremd High School's Writers Week program since 1995.