Helen Barolini (maiden name Mollica) (November 18, 1925) is an American author, born in Syracuse, New York. She has been included in Best American Essays for 1991 and 1993. Her first book, the novel Umbertina (1979), was assisted by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and in 2008 won the Premio Acerbi, a coveted Italian literary prize. Her anthology The Dream Book: An Anthology of Writings by Italian American Women received an American Book Award.
Barolini attended Wells College in Aurora, Cayuga County, New York, and graduated magna cum laude from Syracuse University. She received a Master's degree from Columbia University. She was an exchange student at the University of London where she studied contemporary English literature, and then traveled in Europe writing "Letters from Abroad" for the Syracuse Herald-Journal. Following studies in Italy, she married the late Italian author and journalist Antonio Barolini, and lived in Italy and the United States. She became the English translator of Antonio's writings that were published in The New Yorker, Reporter, and other American publications as well as translator of his books.
She has been an invited writer at Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony and a writer in residence at the Mark Twain Quarry Center of Elmira College, and has been honored by MELUS, the American Italian Cultural Roundtable, the Order Sons of Italy in America, the Italian Welfare League, and other organizations for her literary work on the Italian-American experience.
She married Antonio Barolini, an Italian poet, they had three children Teodolinda Barolini, the Lorenzo Da Ponte Professor of Italian at Columbia University and 1998 Guggenheim Fellowship recipient in humanities in the field of Italian Literature, Susanna Mengacci, and Nicoletta Barolini.
- Umbertina. (1979) New York: Feminist Press, 1999. ISBN 978-1-55861-205-1.
- The Dream Book: An Anthology of Writings by Italian-American Women. (1985) Rev. ed. Syracuse: Syracuse UP, 2000. ISBN 0-8156-0662-1.
- Love in the Middle Ages. New York: Morrow, 1986. ISBN 0-688-06387-X.
- Festa: Recipes and Recollections of Italian Holidays. Illustrations by Karen Barbour. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1988. ISBN 0-15-145771-9.
- Aldus and His Dream Book: An Illustrated Essay''. New York: Italica Press, 1992. ISBN 0-934977-22-4.
- Chiaroscuro: Essays of Identity. (1997) Rev. ed. Madison: U of Wisconsin P, 1999. ISBN 0-299-16084-X.
- More Italian Hours, and Other Stories. Boca Raton: Bordighera Press, 2001. ISBN 1-884419-48-8.
- Rome Burning. Delhi: Birch Brook Press, 2004. ISBN 0-913559-86-5.
- Their Other Side: Six American Women and the Lure of Italy. New York: Fordham UP, 2006. ISBN 978-0-8232-2629-0.
- A Circular Journey. New York: Fordham UP, 2006. ISBN 978-0-8232-2615-3.
- Crossing the Alps. (2010) Bordighera Press
- 2010 Hudson Valley Writers Center Award
- 2008 Premio Acerbi for Umbertina
- 2006 Eugene Walter Short Story Award
- 2003 Woman of the Year Award in Literature from Italian Welfare league, New York
- 2003 Sons of Italy Literature Award
- 2001 Ars et Literas Award from the American Italian Cultural Roundtable
- 2000 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for the Study of Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States
- 2000 Chiaroscuro: Essays of Identity included in Houghton Mifflin's Notable Works of American Literary Non-Fiction in their publication Best American Essays of the Century
- 1987 Susan Koppleman Award of American Culture Association for the best anthology in the feminist study of American Culture for The Dream Book
- 1986 American Book Award of The Before Columbus Foundation for The Dream Book
- 1984 Americans of Italian Heritage "Literature and the Arts Award"
- 1982 American Committee on Italian Migration "Women in Literature" Award for Umbertina
- 1977-79 Member, The Writers Community, New York City
- 1976 National Endowment for the Arts Grant in Creative Writing
- 1970 Marina-Velca essay prize in Italy
- Papers, 1947-1983: A Finding Aid. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.