Danticat, Edwidge. Author – Born in Port-au-Prince in 1969, Danticat was raised by an aunt when her parents emigrated to New York when she was very young. It was during these early years that she was influenced by the Haitian practice of story-telling which has developed because much of the population is illiterate. At the age of twelve, she joined her parents in Brooklyn.
At university in the US, she wrote her first novel, Breath, Eyes, Memory (Soho Press, 1994), which tells the story of a young Haitian girl who emigrates to the US, grows to maturity here, becomes estranged from her mother, and then returns to Haiti as a way of reconnecting herself with her past and with her mother. At the age of twenty-six, in 1995, she became a finalist for the National Book Award for her collection of short stories, Krik? Krak!. She has received the 1995 Pushcart Short Story Prize and fiction awards from The Carribean Writer, Seventeen, and Essence magazines, and is now widely considered to be one of the most talented young authors in the United States. In 1998 her novel, The Farming of Bones, set against the backdrop of the 1937 massacre of Haitians living in the Dominican Republic, was published.
A conversation with Edwidge Danticat