Edwidge Danticat and the Haitian Immigrant Experience

Haitian author Edwidge Danticat's new novel Claire of the Sea Light is the Wilmette Public Library's official selection for its 2014 "One Book, Everybody Reads" community program. Danticat, who immigrated to New York City from Haiti with her parents at 12, has been the recipient of every major literary award that can be bestowed on her. She has been on top-ten, best book, best fiction book lists, as well as the Washington Post's 2013 Notable Fiction list.


Claire of the Sea Light limns the Haitian immigrant life, its history, culture, and the people themselves. Several themes weave their way through the magical storytelling of Danticat's deft characterization of cultural roles in the immigrant community. A story of a young Haitian girl, who is orphaned by her father in expectation she will be better taken care of; the story elliptically traces Claire's experiences back to her old life in the tiny fishing hamle,t where she once lived.

Danticat has been a forerunner in describing the immigrant lives of the Haitian Diaspora, beginning with her first novel Breath, Eyes, Memory while still in her twenties. Much honored, she has been the recipient of critics' awards, fellowship grants, literary recognition, medals of honor, and achievement awards, including literary magazine and academic awards.

Danticat is scheduled to give a reading on Claire of the Sea Light on May 4, 2014. The reading will officially end the Spring "One Book, Everybody Reads" program series.

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