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Edwidge Danticat

Biography

Haitian Authors & Artists

Date of Birth (DOB): 1/19/69
From: Haiti
Best Known for: Author of "Breath, Eyes, Memory"

Bio: Edwidge Danticat was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti January 19, 1969 during the dictatorship of Duvalier. When she was two years old, her father Andre (a cab driver) left Haiti for New York. Her mother Rose (a textile worker) followed him two years later. Danticat was then raised by her aunt. At twelve, she moved to America, where she had difficulty fitting in during those crucial junior high years; her clothing and her accent were so different that she remained silent for most of her teens. She wrote her first short story when she was nine about a girl who was visited by a clan of women each night. Danticat planned to train as a nurse, but as an undergraduate she began to write stories, some of which appear in her book Krik? Krak!

Her book Krik? Krak! A collection of short stories was a finalist for the National Book Award in 1995. She attained her undergraduate degree from Barnard College in French literature At Brown University while completing a Master of Fine Arts degree, she wrote Breath, Eyes, Memory as her MFA thesis; it would eventually be featured as an Oprah Reading Club selection in 1998. She became a media darling immediately following her exposure from Oprah and also worked with filmmaker Jonathan Demme (Beloved, The Silence of the Lambs) on documentaries about Haiti.

Her second novel Farming of the Bones (1997) focused on the infamous massacre of 1937, when then-Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Leonard Trujillo Molina ordered the murder of hundreds of Haitians attempting to flee back across the river separating the two countries in a bid to escape racial violence and their backbreaking jobs on Dominican sugar plantations. She has taught creative writing at New York University, and according to USA Today she lives with her parents in Brooklyn.

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