Writer, Editor, Curator, Multimedia Producer
For over twelve years, Antonio Aiello was the Content and Web Director at PEN America, where he developed written and multimedia content at the intersection of freedom of expression advocacy and the literary arts. Aiello was responsible for bringing PEN America into the digital age, creating a strong online presence through PEN.org and PENworldvoices.org, through micro sites such as PEN's First Editions/Second Thoughts rare books auction and PEN Tributes, and across social media platforms, FaceBook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Flickr, and YouTube. He now consults as a writer, editor, content strategist, and curator for nonprofits and literary organizations, including Bard Prison Initiative, American Booksellers Association, and the Baryshnikov Arts Center.
At PEN America, Aiello created and directed several literary online series featuring fiction, poetry, interviews, and graphic narratives to engage the broader international literary and arts world and to provide a platform for often overlooked, marginalized, or under-published communities. In this vein, Aiello founded Glossolalia, a multi-platform translation magazine that featured voices from the most under-translated territories of the globe. The fall 2016 issue, “Women Writing Brazil,” was developed in response to the dearth of women being translated and to comments made at the 2015 Festa Literária Internacional de Paraty that there are no “great women writers.”
In collaboration with Princeton University, Aiello initiated and directed PEN America’s NEH-funded archival project to digitize and develop a dynamic online multimedia repository to present over 50 years of historical literary and advocacy programming.
Aiello is a frequent speaker, panelist, and curator of events about identity, multi-ethnic families, equity and representation in the arts, and racism. Aiello collaborated with influential editors, writers, and literary organizations such as VIDA, Women in Literary Arts to develop a series of solution-based online roundtable discussions and initiatives to address issues of equity in publishing throughout the entire life cycle of a writer, from the books available to children to landing a book deal to getting reviewed.
Aiello is currently the chairman of the board of Sejong USA, a Korean-American cultural and education organization, and sits on the advisory committees of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts and the Montclair Literary Festival.
Before joining PEN America, Aiello was the lead multimedia designer for ABC.com, where he headed interactive initiatives to marry traditional broadcast programming with emerging technology, and designed and developed the network’s first Flash and multimedia websites. A philosophy major with a concentration in media theory from Colorado College, Aiello began his career at McCann-Erickson, Seattle, where he developed and managed the agency’s first digital accounts. Aiello studied screenwriting at the University of Washington, multimedia production at New York University, and earned his MFA in creative writing at The New School University.
Aiello co-wrote and edited the PEN America Handbook for Writers in Prison. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in/on the Literary Hub, Electric Literature, The Carolina Quarterly, PEN America, Alimentum, and elsewhere. He lives on a suburban homestead in Montclair, NJ with his wife, two children, and their chickens.