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Danticat, Edwidge (1969–)

Danticat, Edwidge (1969–)

Edwidge Danticat, a Haitian writer, was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on January 19, 1969. Danticat's fiction interrogates Haiti's troubled past and the problems faced by the Haitian diaspora in the United States. In 1981, at age twelve, Danticat left Haiti for the United States, and she remains haunted by her ambivalent status as a Haitian exile. Her debut novel, Breath, Eyes, Memory (1994), begun in high school, heralded a potent new voice for the Haitian American diaspora. Subsequently it was a selection for Oprah Winfrey's Book Club. Krik?Krak! (1995), a collection of short stories, was followed by two exceptionally powerful novels, The Farming of Bones (1998) and The Dew Breaker (2004). The first chronicled the mass murder of Haitian cane cutters in the Dominican Republic during the Trujillo dictatorship; the second followed the lives of Haitians as they struggled to survive in the West Indian enclaves of New York. Even as the novels articulated unspeakable grief and trauma, they were distinguished by the gentle, redemptive voice that has become recognizably Danticat's. Behind the Mountains (2002) and Anacaona, Golden Flower (2005) are novels for young adults. The latter tells the story of a pre-Columbine queen of Haiti, Anacaona, who resisted the Spanish. After the Dance (2002) is a memoir and travelogue about the Haitian carnival.

See alsoCarnival; Literature: Spanish America.


Scarboro, Ann Armstrong. Edwidge Danticat Visits Her Haitian Roots, June, 2003. Boulder, CO: Mosaic Media Arts. VHS tape. Danticat discusses life in Haiti, her family, immigration to the United States, and her work to promote young authors. Ends with a reading in French from The Dew Breaker.

Thomson, Ian. Bonjour Blanc: A Journey through Haiti. London: Penguin, 1992.

                                         Ian Thomson

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