Claire of the Sea Light (Danticat)

Author Bio
Where—Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Education—B.A., Barnard College; M.F.A., Brown University
Awards—(see below)
Currently—lives in New York City

Edwidge Danticat is a Haitian-American novelist and short-story writer. Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, she was two years old when her father Andre immigrated to New York, to be followed two years later by her mother Rose. This left Danticat and her younger brother, also named Andre, to be raised by her aunt and uncle. Although her formal education in Haiti was in French, she spoke Kreyol at home.

Early years
While still in Haiti, Danticat began writing at 9 years old. At the age of 12, she moved to Brooklyn, New York, to join her parents in a heavily Haitian American neighborhood. As an immigrant teenager, Edwidge's disorientation in her new surroundings was a source of discomfort for her, and she turned to literature for solace.

Two years later she published her first writing in English, "A Haitian-American Christmas: Cremace and Creole Theatre," in New Youth Connections, a citywide magazine written by teenagers. She later wrote another story about her immigration experience for the same magazine, "A New World Full of Strangers". In the introduction to Starting With I, an anthology of stories from the magazine, Danticat wrote, “When I was done with the [immigration] piece, I felt that my story was unfinished, so I wrote a short story, which later became a book, my first novel: Breath, Eyes, Memory…Writing for New Youth Connections had given me a voice. My silence was destroyed completely, indefinitely.”

After graduating from Clara Barton High School in Brooklyn, New York, Danticat entered Barnard College in New York City. Initially she had intended on studying to become a nurse, but her love of writing won out and she received a BA in French literature in translation. In 1993, she earned a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Brown University—her thesis, entitled "My turn in the fire—an abridged novel," was the basis for her novel Breath, Eyes, Memory, which was published by Soho Press in 1994. Four years later it became an Oprah's Book Club selection.

Since completing her MFA, Danticat has taught creative writing at the New York University and the University of Miami. She has also worked with filmmakers Patricia Benoit and Jonathan Demme, on projects on Haitian art and documentaries about Haïti. Her short stories have appeared in over 25 periodicals and have been anthologized several times. Her work has been translated into numerous other languages, including French, Korean, German, Italian, Spanish, and Swedish.

Danticat is a strong advocate for issues affecting Haitians abroad and at home. In 2009, she lent her voice and words to Poto Mitan: Haitian Women Pillars of the Global Economy, a documentary about the impact of globalization on five women from different generations.

Edwidge Danticat is married to Fedo Boyer. She has two daughters, Mira and Leila.

Books and Awards

  • 1994 - Breath, Eyes, Memory (novel)—Granta's Best Young American Novelists; Super Flaiano Prize
  • 1996 - Krik? Krak! (stories)
  • 1998 - The Farming of Bones (novel)—American Book Award
  • 2002 - Behind the Mountains (young adult novel)
  • 2002 - After the Dance: A Walk Through Carnival in Jacmel, Haiti (travel book)
  • 2004 - The Dew Breaker (novel-in-stories) The Story Prize
  • 2005 - Anacaona: Golden Flower, Haiti, 1490 (young adult novel)
  • 2007 - Brother, I'm Dying (memoir/social criticis ) National Book Critics Circle Award; Dayton Literary Peace Prize
  • 2010 - Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work (essay collection,) OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature
  • 2011 - Tent Life: Haiti (essay contributor)
  • 2011 - Haiti Noir (anthology editor)
  • 2011 - Best American Essays, 2011 (anthology editor)
  • 2013 - Claire of the Sea Light (novel)

 (From Wikipedia. Retrieved 9/15/13.)

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