The surprising true story of Pietro di Donato, the bricklayer turned author

Dec 06, 2019 306

BY: Joe Pagetta

In March 1937, when Esquire published Pietro di Donato’s first short story, “Christ in Concrete,” the magazine included a rare prefatory note. “In the three years since Louis Paul’s prize-winning No More Trouble for Jadwick,” wrote Arnold Gingrich, the editor, “Esquire has received about eighteen thousand short stories from unpublished authors and has published forty of them. But not since then has a new writer come our way with the performance and promise shown by Pietro di Donato in this, his first, short story.”

The praise didn’t end there. It didn’t start there either. The magazine dedicated a significant portion of its opening salvo on Page 5 to the discovery of di Donato and his unique story. “We find ourselves wishing for a stronger word with which to introduce the first published writing of Pietro di Donato,” wrote the editor, “an almost incredibly talented young Italian bricklayer lately turned author.”

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