Edwige Danticat

Edwige Danticat

Haitian writer who has written short stories, scripts and novels. Her works show another side of Haiti and reveal a deep and fantastic place, without ignoring the ethnic, economic and political problems that affect the inhabitants of her home country. She is considered the first Haitian writer to produce a literary work in English.

Danticat was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in 1969 when it was still suffering the awful ravages of the dictatorial regime of Papa Doc Duvalier. When she was just two years old, her father emigrated to the United States to offer her a better future, and her mother came two years later. Danticat was left in the care of her uncle. This strongly influenced her. Her uncle was a religious minister in one of the poorest areas of the Haitian capital. She accompanied him to church meetings where she was witness to the country’s harsh realities. Danticat also absorbed the influences of oral traditions.

At 12 years of age, she went to the United States to be with her parents and they settled in Brooklyn. She continued her university studies in the United States and graduated with a degree in French literature from Barnard College. She later earned a master’s degree at Brown University. Her first novel, Breath, Eyes, Memory, arose from part of her thesis.

Her first book was followed by a collection of short stories titled Krik? Krak! The book was well received by critics in the United States and was a finalist for the National Book Award in 1995. The book established Danticat’s reputation as an author committed to her roots. The book collected oral traditions to create the stories of female characters who suffered brutal outrages in a poor and divided society.

Danticat has valiantly taken on her role as a chronicler and reflects a culture that is sustained by legends, myths and traditions that generations of women have been able to pass on. Her moving stories expose horrors like no other Haitian writer of her generation. Her works have also been well received abroad and have been translated into more than ten languages.

The Farming of Bones is her latest novel. Danticat has also worked in the United States as a scriptwriter for the film production company Clinica Estetico. In 1995, she won the Pushcart Short Story Prize for a series of short stories. Today, Danticat continues to work and live in the United States.

Works

Breath, Eyes, Memory (1994)

Krik? Krak! (1997)

The Farming of Bones (1997)

Author: Christian Ibarra
Published: May 09, 2012.

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