Chauvet, Marie – Haitian Novelist and Writer



Chauvet, Marie. Novelist – The best known and most prolific of Haiti’s female novelists, Marie Chauvet was born in Port-au-Prince in 1917. Her first novel, Fille D’Haiti (1953), about the mulatto daughter of a prostitute who tries to escape her origins in the hypocritical world of the Haitian elite, was awarded the Prix de l’Alliance francaise. La Danse sur le Volcan (1957), depicting the events leading up to the Haitian Revolution, was translated into English and Dutch.

Chauvet’s most famous work, the trilogy of novellas, Amour, colere et folie, was published in Paris in 1968. The author was unable to return to Haiti from France because the novel dealt with the behaviour of corrupt Duvalierist officials and the sadistic Tontons Macoutes. Her husband begged her not to publish it, and when she did, he not only left her, but also bought and destroyed all the copies of the book sent to Haiti. She died in exile in New York in 1975, and was only awarded national honours after the end of the Duvalier dictatorship.

Further reading: Haitian Women Underground: Revising Literary Traditions and Societies – Regine Latorture – Journal of Haitian Studies Vol. 5-6.

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