Tuesday, 1 January 2008
January writer: Edwidge Danticat
Edwidge Danticat was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in 1969. Because her parents immigrated to New York when she was very young, Danticat was raised by an aunt. Danticat says that the memories of Haiti are still extremely vivid in her mind, and that her love of Haiti and things Haitian deeply influences her writing.
At the age of twelve, Danticat joined her parents in Brooklyn. She later earned a degree in French Literature from Barnard College, where she won the 1995 Woman of Achievement Award, and later an MFA from Brown University where, as her thesis, she wrote Breath, Eyes, Memory (Soho Press, 1994). This novel tells of four generations of Haitian women who struggle to overcome their poverty and powerlessness.
Krik? Krak! (1995) was a National Book Award finalist. In this collection of short stories Danticat explores Haitian identity, culture, and tradition. Many of her stories address the island's political state of affairs.
The Farming of Bones (1998), was an American Book Award winner. Other works include Behind the Mountains (2002), The Dew Breaker (2004), Anacaona: Golden Flower, Haiti, 1490 (2005), and Brother, I'm Dying (2007). She is also the editor of The Butterfly's Way: Voices from the Haitian Dyaspora in the United States and The Beacon Best of 2000: Great Writing by Men and Women of All Colors and Cultures.
Danticat's short stories have appeared in over twenty-five periodicals and have been anthologized several times. Her work has been translated into French, Korean, German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish and other languages, and she has won many prestigious awards and prizes for her writing.
In her article We Are Ugly, But We Are Here we find a distillation of the ethos that drives the writing of Edwidge Danticat.