Louis-Philippe Dalembert, Haitian poet and novelist

Spending your formative years clandestinely watching movies from across a ravine could certainly be a surefire way of creating literary gold. It is the truth, at least, in the case of Haitian writer Louis-Philippe Dalembert. Born in 1962, in a time when the cinematic world was taking hold of Haiti and outdoor theatres were popping up all over, Dalembert, like many of the other folks in his neighborhood, gathered to watch the American westerns or Asian action films that often played, making up the dialogue, to themselves or as a collective, to fit the action.


This time was especially formative for Dalembert, who'd spent the first few years of his life growing up in Port-au-Prince, a city under the much stricter rule of 'Papa Doc' Duvalier. Though the happier 60's and 70's were more influential than the first six years of his life, this early period, officiously ruled by his no-nonsense grandmother and the strictures of religion proved necessary sources for one of his later novels, 'Le crayon du bon Dieu n'a pas de gomme'.

A speaker of seven languages, Dalembert who lives between Haiti, Berlin and France, writes in both French and Creole. His works have, however, been translated into a slew of different languages, allowing his vagabond style of writing to permeate far away markets and reach different cultural consciousnesses.

His style is influenced by his own way of life. Currently settled, if between three countries and two hemispheres, Dalembert, a world traveler through and through, has lived in Rome, Kinshasa, Nancy, and Jerusalem. With a PhD in comparative literature and his reputation as a journalist and writer in Haiti to precede him, Dalembert can rest in his writing laurels just about anywhere he pleases.

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