Haitian Author Edwidge Danticat's Persevering Spirit Triumphs in Her Work

Highly-honored Haitian-American writer, Edwidge Danticat began life in Port-au-Prince in 1969. Her parents abandoned her to the care of her paternal uncle while they pursued a better life in America, leaving her with him for eight years in one of Port-au-Prince's worst neighborhoods.


When she was a pre-teen her parents requested she come and live with them in a suburb outside of Manhattan. She arrived and was enrolled in school where her inability to speak English caused students to bully her. Undaunted, she persevered and learned English well enough to submit an article, "A Haitian-American Christmas: Cremas and Créole Theatre" to a teen publication.

She pursued literature and writing, earning her undergraduate degree in French Literature, and completing her MFA in Creative Writing at Brown University. Since then she has both taught and written at universities in New York and Miami.

An author of several books of literature, among them the National Book Award and National Book Critics Peace Prize for "Brother I'm Dying", she has also won recognition as a Caribbean fiction, young American, and short-story writer. More awards of praise have followed including Brown's "Woman of Achievement Award", Harper's Bazaar nod as someone to watch, and magazine publishers' acknowledgement as "One of the 15 Gutsiest Women of the Year".

Edwidge writes in the tradition of other cantadora writers such as Maxine Hong and Amy Tan, who use the genre of magical realism to illuminate the truth of their cultural heritages.

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