MacArthur Fellows Program

Edwidge Danticat

Novelist | Class of 2009

Chronicling the power of human resistance and endurance through moving and insightful depictions of the Haitian immigrant experience.

Title
Novelist
Location
Miami, Florida
Age
40 at time of award

Edwidge Danticat is a novelist whose moving and insightful depictions of Haiti’s complex history are enriching our understanding of the Haitian immigrant experience. In works that chronicle the lives of ordinary Haitians, she evokes themes of family, isolation, and community that, while grounded in a specific cultural milieu, resonate with a wide range of audiences. With graceful, deceptively simple prose, she recounts the 1937 massacre of Haitian workers in the Dominican Republic in The Farming of Bones (1999); told through the eyes of a young domestic servant, the story of the atrocity becomes one of cultural and spiritual survival. In The Dewbreaker (2004), a series of seemingly disconnected stories are revealed to revolve around the same traumatic events. Danticat challenges readers of these stories to understand and forgive a perpetrator of horrific atrocities committed in a distant time and place, illustrating how events in Haiti continue to haunt the immigrants of the diaspora. Her most recent book, a memoir entitled Brother, I’m Dying (2007), pays tribute to her father and uncle through an unflinching account of the triumphs and tragedies they experienced in Haiti and the United States. In these and other works, Danticat provides a nuanced portrait of the intersection between nation and diaspora, home and exile, and reminds us of the power of human resistance, renewal, and endurance against great obstacles.

Edwidge Danticat received a B.A. (1990) from Barnard College and an M.F.A. (1993) from Brown University. Her additional books include the novel Breath, Eyes, Memory (1994); a collection of stories, Krik? Krak! (1995); a memoir, After the Dance: A Walk through Carnival in Jacmel, Haiti (2002); and two novels for young adults, Behind the Mountain (2002) and Anacaona: Golden Flower, Haiti, 1490 (2005). Danticat has been a visiting professor of creative writing at New York University (1996-1997) and the University of Miami (2000 and 2008).

Recent News

Since 2009, Edwidge Danticat has published several books, including Eight Days (2010), a picture book; Create Dangerously (2010), a collection of essays; and Claire of the Sea Light (2013), a novel. Danticat also appeared in the independent film Stones in the Sun (2014) and worked on a documentary called Girl Rising (2013). She has two forthcoming publications: Untwine, a young adult novel, and Mama’s Nightingale, a picture book.

Updated July 2015

News About this Fellow
November 6, 2017
"Edwidge Danticat: Dawn After the Tempests"
The New York Times
Edwidge Danticat, 2009 MacArthur Fellow
June 30, 2017
"In 'The Art of Death' Edwidge Danticat Faces Mortality in Life and Fiction"
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Edwidge Danticat, 2009 MacArthur Fellow
June 26, 2017
"Edwidge Danticat Wrestles With Death, in Life and in Art"
The New York Times
Edwidge Danticat, 2009 MacArthur Fellow
June 26, 2017
"Edwidge Danticat Wrestles With Death, in Life and in Art"
The New York Times
Edwidge Danticat, 2009 MacArthur Fellow
January 31, 2017
"Poetry in a Time of Protest"
The New Yorker
Edwidge Danticat, 2009 MacArthur Fellow
October 6, 2016
"Hurricane Matthew's Devastating Toll in Haiti"
The New Yorker
Edwidge Danticat, 2009 MacArthur Fellow
View all news

Photos

Photos are owned by the MacArthur Foundation and licensed under a Creative Commons license: CC-BY.
Credit: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

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