Non, merci! Anthony Phelps Declines President’s Tribute

Anthony Phelps, the world-renowned poet, novelist and storyteller born in Port-au-Prince explained, in an open letter published in Le Nouvelliste, why he declined to accept an award of honor from President Michel Martelly—as reports.

On June 15th, the author was published in the newspaper:

Paris, June 15, 2012.
I read with astonishment in Le Nouvelliste that I received a tribute in absentia from President Martelly.
On June 4th I received an email telling me I’d be honored, along with a group of writers, by President Martelly, and that I should provide someone to represent me. This email was not sent by the office of the presidency, did not say on what occasion the ceremony was to take place.
Without greater clarity, I declined the invitation email.
Anyway I can not accept an homage as the author of My Country, as long as Jean Claude Duvalier will not be prosecuted.

Anthony Phelps was once a prisoner of the Duvalier regime and was forced into exile during their reign.

Phelps was born in Port-au-Prince on August 25th, 1928 and devoted himself to literature after studying chemistry and ceramics in the United States and Canada.

In 1961 he founded – with poets Davertige, Serge Legagneur, Roland Morisseau, Philoctetes and René Auguste Thénor – The Literary Haiti Group and the magazine Seed.

Settling in Montreal in May of 1964, Phelps did theater – stage, radio and television – and began working in journalism. During this time he narrated several films.

In 1985, after twenty years of service to the Newsroom TV Radio Canada, he took early retirement to devote himself entirely to writing.

Many times he has been the Boursier of the Arts Council of Canada, and has twice won the Poetry Prize of Casa de las Americas, Cuba.

On February 2, 2001, Anthony Phelps received from the Canadian Ministry of Citizen Relations and Immigration the Plaque, at the forum “Black ink, literature and black communities.”

He published three volumes of poetry, and collaborated on various newspapers and magazines.

He established and leads the troupe of actors, Prism, and performs weekly broadcasts of poetry and drama on Radio Cacique, which he co-founded.

His work is about twenty titles, translated into Spanish, English, Russian, Ukrainian, German, Italian, Japanese and some of his books are on the agenda of French Studies at several universities in the United States including: Princeton, Saint Michael’s College (Vermont) and Iowa State University.

For the original report go to

Photo by Setka Film from

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