Man in 1962 plane crash lives to write about his adventure



The winners in the festival’s writing contest were:

Short story: Lisa Connors, “One Daughter.”

Creative nonfiction: Nancy Schaack, “Grieving.”

• Poetry: Margaret Pearson, “Blue Graffiti.”

Fred Caruso’s journey to becoming an Irish citizen began with a plane crash.

Caruso, a New York native from an Italian family, was headed from Newark, N.J., to Frankfurt, Germany, when his plane crash-landed in Ireland. He and 47 other people survived. Twenty-eight passengers died.

Caruso turned his ordeal and the story that followed into a book, “Born Again Irish.” He discussed the book and his experiences as an author Saturday at the eighth biennial Readers Festival at Mesa State College.

The festival invites five authors from various walks of life to discuss the writing process, their works and getting published. Nearly 70 people attended the festival this year.

After his plane crash experience in 1962, Caruso wrote for the military news publication Stars and Stripes and attended journalism school at the University of Montana, where he met his wife, the daughter of Irish immigrants. Together, the two decided to become Irish citizens and split their time between Centennial, Colo., and County Cork, Ireland.

Caruso said he felt reborn after the crash and made his new native home Ireland. He and his fellow passengers knew for five hours that their plane would crash, then spent three days floating in a raft.

“I just wanted to become Irish, and that’s what happened, with many tales in between,” he said.

This year’s festival included speeches by poet Laurie Wagner Buyer, sports and travel writer John Henderson, playwright Kate Snodgrass and historian and journalist Kate Ruland-Thorne. The festival, funded through donations includes author talks as well as a writing competition. This year’s competition had 84 entries from local authors.


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