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Delia's Concerto is a novel that focuses on a 15-year old gifted piano student Delia who is being sexually assaulted by her boss, also a friend of her mother. The novel also explores the construct and conceit of monsters--the ones that abide in all of us.

Rosalia Scalia

Rosalia Scalia's work has appeared or is forthcoming in Amarillo Bay; The Baltimore Review; North Atlantic Review; Pebble Lake; Pennsylvania English; The Portland Review; Quercus Review; Smile, Hon, You’re In Baltimore; South Asian Ensemble; Spout Magazine; Taproot; and Willow Review; among many others. The story that appears in Taproot won first prize in its annual literary fiction competition for 2007, and “Uncharted Steps” merited a 2010 Individual Artist Grant from the Maryland State Art Council.


About Rosalia

Baltimore City

Rosalia Scalia's picture
Rosalia Scalia is the author of a forthcoming book, Stumbling Toward Grace, a collection of short stories.  A number of her short stories  have been published in an array of literary journals, including but not limited to The Notre Dame Review, Amarillo Bay; The Baltimore Review; Blue Lake Review; The Oklahoma Review; North Atlantic Review; Pebble Lake; Pennsylvania English; The Portland Review; Quercus Review; Ragazine, Smile, Hon, You’re In Baltimore; South Asian Ensemble; Spout Magazine;... more

Delia's Concerto, a literary novel

Delia's Concerto, a literary novel set in downtown Baltimore, explores a summer in the life of a 15-year-old white, working class girl, Delia. Six chapter of this book have been published in a variety of literary publications as stand alone stories.

While Delia's mother provides food and a home, she fails to provide less tangible support, and Delia falls prey to a sexual predator, specifically, her boss, also her mother's childhood friend. Delia works an under-the-table job as a cashier in a neighborhood grocery store, a job her mother snagged for her so that Delia can pay for her own piano lessons, which her mother views as a childish hobby. Bird, the 45-year old store owner, begins touching Delia in ways that make her feel uncomfortable as he grooms her for sex. Jealous and controlling, he forbids her to talk to boys her age and often shows up at her school to drive her home, but instead bringing her to his secret apartment where he has sex with her. Delia does not want to be in a "relationship" with the Bird, but she does like the gifts he gives her and the pleasure she experiences when her body betrays her during sex. She also knows her mother's secret--her closet drinking, and thus, keeps her own secret about Bird. Lucy, her piano teacher, sees a musical gift in Delia and encourages her to audition for a scholarship that would pay for her attendance at the Peabody. Lucy, who lives in the same neighborhood, begins dating a fellow Peabody instructor, a bi-racial man named Nick, and this heightens the tension in the neighborhood and for Delia since her piano teacher allows a black man to spend the night at her house. It's the late 1970s when interracial relationships are not tolerated.

This is not a YA book. It tackles adult themes--sexual awakening and exploitation; addictions, racism, and a host of other tough, real and concrete issues that comprise life of a working class family in an urban area in the late 70s/early 80s.

  • raising our voices for baker.pdf

    Rosalia Scalia worked with local writers Andria Nacina Cole, Carla Du Pree, Susan Mauddi Darraj, Kendra Kopelke, and Lalita Noronha to launch a reading series featuring diverse readers and attracting a more diverse audience. Held at the Impact Hub, the event also featured music by LEA and drew a standing room only audience. It is part of an ongoing effort to further integrate the local writing communities.

    PDF icon raising our voices for baker.pdf
  • SoulMusicssNEW2014.pdf

    The chapter introduces all the characters:
    Delia, a 15-year old girl from a blue collar family with a musical gift, her piano teacher who happens to be blind and has a service dog named Gracie, Bird, the grocer, and others in the south east Baltimore neighborhood where a good portion of the novel is set. This first chapter appears in Crack the Spine, 2014. I've been working on this novel since 2000. An earlier version of the first three chapters served as my thesis in the JHU Master's of Writing program.

    PDF icon SoulMusicssNEW2014.pdf
  • Verdad Bag of Secrets.jpg

    Published in Verdad Literary Magazine as a stand alone story, "Bag of Secrets" is the second chapter, when Delia comes to understand that everyone has secrets. Delia learns her mother's secret of being a closet drinker and her secret from her mother is what Bird is doing to her. She sees a neigbor stealing from the store--yet another secret that she does not reveal.
  • PracticingDarkss2016.pdf

    In this section, Bird has already introduced Delia to his secret apartment and has plied her with expensive gifts that her mother fails to notice. This section takes place after her first sexual experience, Bird, a man she comes to understand that she neither loves nor hates.

    PDF icon PracticingDarkss2016.pdf
  • DangerousIntersectionsss1-2015.pdf

    Lucy, a piano instructor at Peabody, teaches Delia, a neighborhood girl, as a private student. She frequents the grocery story that Bird owns and where Delia works. This is one of her encounters with Bird outside the store and during which she begins to doubt Bird's character. Lucy is the only adult who realizes that Bird's focus on Delia is not normal.

    PDF icon DangerousIntersectionsss1-2015.pdf
  • for rosalia (

    This is a reading of Uncharted Steps on "The Signal," a radio show hosted by Aaron Henkin. Although this story is not directly related to the Delia's Concerto novel, the characters hail from the same south east Baltimore areas and represent the same demographic: white working class, middle to lower middle class. While this story explores fatherless boys, Delia focuses on fatherless girls, each gender struggling with their own vulnerabilities as a result of being fatherless.

Rosalia's Curated Collection

View Rosalia's favorite works from other Baker Artists

Raising Our Voices: Womyn Out Loud Reading Series

Rosalia Scalia has worked with local writers, Carla DuPree, Andria Cole, Susan Mauddi Darraj, Lalita Noronha, and Kendra Kopelke to help launch a more diverse offering of literary voices. Held that the Impact Hub, the event also included Songs by LEA and drew a standing-room only crowd of writers and readers, a more diverse audience than the usual folks who frequent literary readings.