Edwidge Danticat Offers Insights To The Haitian Experience Through Her Books Written For Children And Young Adults
Written by Miami Today on September 7, 2006
When she was 2 years old, her father emigrated from Haiti to New York in search of work, and her mother followed him four years later, in 1973. For the next eight years, Edwidge Danticat (ed-WEEJ dan-tee-CAH) was raised by her aunt and uncle in Port-au-Prince with summer visits to Haiti’s rural interior before she was reunited with her parents in a largely Haitian-American neighborhood in Brooklyn.
The experiences were to provide engrossing material for what would become award-winning literary works — novels, stories for young adults and children, depictions of Haiti and Haitians past and present — by Ms. Danicat, now a resident of Miami.
Her first work, "Breath, Eyes, Memory," published in 1994, was chosen by Oprah Winfrey for her Oprah’s Book Club, and a later one, "Krik? Krak!" was nominated for a National Book Award. Other awards and recognitions have been bestowed on Ms. Dandicat.
A main concern is the death in Miami in November of her uncle, the Rev. Joseph Dantica, who died in a hospital under federal custody at age 81 three days after seeking political asylum following the burning and sacking of his church and school in Haiti during clashes between UN peacekeepers and street gangs. Family members and others have called for an investigation into the circumstances of the minister’s death.
Ms. Danticat, who once taught creative writing at the University of Miami and has remained here with her husband, the owner of a translation business, was interviewed by Miami Today international editor Michael Hayes.
This is an excerpt from the weekly profile article published in Miami Today. To read the entire article in full, order this issue or subscribe to the print edition of Miami Today.