How to pronounce Edwidge Danticat: Edweedje Danticah
Since the publication of her debut work Breath, Eyes, Memory in 1994, Edwidge Danticat has won praise as one of
America's brightest, most graceful and vibrant young writers. In this novel, and in her National Book
Award-nominated collection of stories, Krik? Krak!, Danticat evokes the powerful imagination and rich narrative
tradition of her native Haiti, and in the process records the suffering, triumphs, and wisdom of its people. Author
Paule Marshall has said of Danticat, "A silenced Haiti has once again found its literary voice."
Born in Haiti in 1969, Danticat, like the protagonist of her novel Breath, Eyes, Memory, at the age of twelve left her birthplace for New York to reunite with her parents. She earned a degree in French Literature from Barnard College, where she won the 1995 Woman of Achievement Award, and later an MFA from Brown University. More recently, she has received an ongoing grant from the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Foundation.
Critical acclaim and awards for her first novel included a Granta Regional Award for the Best Young American Novelists, a Pushcart Prize and fiction awards from Essence and Seventeen magazines. She was chosen by Harper's Bazaar as one of 20 people in their twenties who will make a difference, and was featured in a New York Times Magazine article that named "30 Under 30" creative people to watch. In winter 2005, Jane magazine named her one of the "15 Gutsiest Women of the Year."
Danticat's second novel, The Farming of Bones, based upon the 1937 massacre of Haitians at the border of the Dominican Republic, was published in September 1998 by Soho Press; and The Dew Breaker was published in 2004. In addition she has written at least two books for children (including Anacaona, Golden Flower, Haiti, 1490 and Behind the Mountains) and some non-fiction.
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Two separate interviews with Edwidge Danticat in which she discusses The Dew Breaker and Breath, Eyes, Memory.
A Conversation with Edwidge Danticat about The Dew Breaker
Q: Can you tell us about the title of your new book The Dew Breaker?
A: The title is my English translation of a Creole expression "choukèt laroze," which during the twenty-nine year period (1957-1986) that Haiti was ruled by the father and son dictators, François "Papa Doc" and Jean Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, referred to a rural chief, a brutal regional leader and sometime torturer. I have always been fascinated by the poetic naming of such a despicable authority figure and when I started writing about a former torturer, I decided to translate the expression in the most serene sounding way I could. And so we have the dew breaker. I could have chosen several other ways to translate this, the dew shaker, the dew stomper, for example, but I like the way the words dew breaker echo the American expression ball breaker, which is a more fitting label for these kinds of people.
Q: Why did you decide to structure the telling of the book in the way that you do? Do you feel that this book represents a departure from your previous works? If...
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