Haitian Writer Edwidge Danticat Begins Butler University’s Spring Writers Series

It seems serendipitous that Butler University has scheduled Edwidge Danticat as the first in their Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series. Haitian born Edwidge Danticat will speak to Butler University and the Indianapolis community on Wednesday, January 13 about her vast literary accomplishments. As a critically acclaimed, celebrated author, Danticat’s voice has reached many people. With recent events in the world, it seems likely that Danticat will take this opportunity to speak out about the tragic events, which have occurred in her birth country. Hear her speak in her own words about an amazing literary career this Wednesday at Butler University. This Indianapolis event will be held in the Reilly Room of Butler’s Atherton Union Building at 7:30 pm. As always, the Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series is FREE to all Indianapolis people.

Edwidge Danticat (pronounced (Dahn-tee-kah) moved to the United States from Haiti when she was only twelve years old. Her parents emigraged to New York when she was much younger, leaving her to live with her aunt and uncle. Although her formal education had her speaking French, Haitian Creole was the language of her youth. She wrote her first short story will in Haiti, about a young girl visited by a clan of women each night. Then finally at twelve, her parents were able to bring her and her brother to live with them in Brooklyn. Growing up as an immigrant teenager, Edwidge took solace in literature as a refuge from feeling like an outsider because of her accent and cultural heritage.

She was first published in New Youth Connections, a citywide magazine written by teenagers. Her story (the first one written in English) was titled “A Haitian-American Christmas: Cremace and Creole Theatre.” She continued to write for the magazine, drawing on her experiences as an immigrant. Her first published novel was actually inspired by her work writing for New Youth Connections, which motivated her to delve deeper into her personal history. Danticat writes of this experience, “When I was done with the [immigration] piece, I felt that my story was unfinished, so I wrote a short story, which later became a book, my first novel: Breath, Eyes, Memory… Writing for New Youth Connections had given me a voice. My silence was destroyed completely, indefinitely.”

Edwidge Danticat attended Barnard College where she received a BA in French literature. Later she earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Brown University. Her thesis, titled “My run in the fire – an abridged novel” was the basis for her first book, which later became an Oprah’s Book Club selection.Her other published novels include Krik? Krak! (a National Book Award Finalist), The Farming Bones (and American Book Award winner, Brother I’m Dying, The Dew Breaker and many more.

Danticat has taught at both New York University and the University of Miami (where she currently lives). She collaborates frequently with filmmakers Patricia Benoit and Jonathan Demme on Haitian art and documentaries about Haiti. In fact, Danticat is an advocate for Haitian issues. She was a collaborator and contributor on the documentary Poto Mitan: Haitian Women Pillars of Global Economy, a documentary which examines the impact of globalization of five different generations of women. In addition, Danitcat is the editor of The Butterfly’s Way:Voice from the Haitian Dyaspora in the United States.

With Edwidge Danticat as the first writer of the Spring 2010 Visiting Writers Series, this Indianapolis art event will be timely and interesting. Hear from the voice of a Haitian at a time when Haiti is in the global spotlight. For more information about the Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writer’s Series (sponsored by NUVO Newsweekly), visit the Butler University Writers Studio website.

Grab dinner at the near by Indianapolis cultural district, Broad Ripple Village or in Indianapolis downtown. With so many Indianapolis restaurants and Indianapolis bars to choose from, there is no reason to turn up to this Indianapolis education event on an empty stomach. Stay tuned to Fun City Finder.com for more information about fun things to do in Indianapolis.

Edwidge Danticat
Wednesday, January 13
7:30 pm

Butler University
4600 Sunset Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46208