Monday, April 18, 2011

Edwidge Danticat

Country of origin: Haiti

Danticat was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. When she was two years old, her father André emigrated to New York, to be followed two years later by her mother Rose. This left Danticat and her younger brother Eliab to be raised by her aunt and uncle. Although her formal education in Haiti was in French, she spoke Kreyòl at home.

While still in Haiti, Danticat wrote her first short story about a girl who was visited by a clan of women each night.[citation needed] At the age of 12, she moved to Brooklyn, New York, to join her parents in a heavily Haitian American neighborhood. As she was an immigrant teenager, Edwidge's accent and upbringing were a source of discomfort for her, thus she turned to literature for solace.[citation needed] 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 a story about her immigration experience for New Youth Connections, "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.”



* 1994 Fiction Award The Caribbean Writer
* 1995 Woman of Achievement Award, Barnard College
* Pushcart Short Story Prize for "Between the Pool and the Gardenias"
* National Book Award nomination for Krik? Krak!
* 1996 Best Young American Novelists for Breath, Eyes, Memory by GRANTA
* Lila-Wallace-Reader's Digest Grant
* 1999 American Book Award for The Farming of the Bones
* The International Flaiano Prize for literature
* The Super Flaiano Prize for The Farming of the Bones
* 2005 The Story Prize for "The Dew Breaker"
* 2007 National Book Award nomination for "Brother, I'm Dying"
* 2007 The National Book Critics Circle Award for "Brother, I'm Dying"
* 2008 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for "Brother, I'm Dying"
* 2009 MacArthur Fellows Program Genius grant

To find out more about Edwidge Danticat, see her page on Wikipedia, as well as this interview.

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