Haiti: “Land of Writers, Land of Books”

“Lyonel, Dany, Danticat, la littérature haïtienne change l’image d’Haïti” praises the work of Haitian literary figures for their impressive achievements this year and for contributing to changing Haiti’s public image. The article considers that this is the year of the consecration of Haitian literature in Haiti and its diaspora.

Indeed this year, Haitian authors have been at the vanguard, successfully winning several important prizes. In Haiti, Lyonel Trouillot won the Prix Wepler-Fondation La Poste for his novel Yanvalou pour Charlie; Yanick Lahens was a finalist for the Prix Carbet for the novel La Couleur de l’aube [The Color of Dawn], for which she received the Prix Richelieu in France; Gary Victor was a special guest at the 32nd Book Salon of Montréal; and Dominique Batraville won second prize for the International Poetry Contest [Concours international de poésie] in France and Spain.

In the diaspora, Dany Laferrière won two remarkable awards in Canada: the “Métropolis Bleu” prize for his overall production and career and the “Grand Prix du livre” for his last novel L’Enigme du retour [The Enigma of Return]. For this novel, Laferrière also won the prestigious Médicis Prize in France. The article also highlights Haitian-American writer Edwige Danticat’s recent triumph in winning the Genius award for her novel Brother I’m Dying [Adieu mon frère].

The article emphasizes that the attention that Haiti has been receiving in literary circles around the world has redirected the focus of the media from the country’s poverty to its intellectual wealth, stating that people are “astounded that such literature is emerging from a poor country, surprised that such a ‘[freshly-baked] batch of writers’, as [writer, painter, musician] Franckétienne loves to say, comes from a population with a high percentage of illiterate people.” These writers of Haitian origin, stresses the article, and other creators have succeeded in changing Haiti’s image to “Haiti, land of writers, land of books.”

For full article (in French), see http://www.haitipressnetwork.com/news.cfm?articleID=12895

Photo of (and more information on) Yanick Lahens from http://www.ville-neuillysurseine.fr/1-14371-Ca-s-est-passe-a-Neuilly-.php

Photo of (and more information on) Frantz Dominique Batraville from http://www.signalfmhaiti.com/portrait/155-portrait-decrivain-cette-semaine-sur-signal-fm-lecrivain-haitien-l-frantz-dominique-batraville-r-lundi-5-janvier-2009

Photo of (and more information on) Edwidge Danticat from http://voices.cla.umn.edu/artistpages/danticatEdwidge.php

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