Edwidge Danticat Biography

Biography (Masterpieces of American Literature)

ph_0111226220-Danticat.jpgEdwidge Danticat Published by Salem Press, Inc.

Edwidge Danticat was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in 1969. Like many Haitian children of her generation, she was born into a poor family and was left in the care of relatives when her parents emigrated to the United States in search of better opportunities. Danticat’s father left first, when she was two years old; her mother followed two years later. Danticat’s parents settled in Brooklyn, New York, and found work—her father as a cab driver, her mother as a textile worker. They had two more children, both boys, before sending for their older children in Haiti. In 1981, when Danticat was twelve years old, she and her younger brother were reunited with their parents in Brooklyn.

As a child in Haiti, Danticat spoke Haitian Creole, or Kreyol, a language that is based mainly on French but includes influences from West African languages as well. Creole is still the language that Danticat speaks at home with her parents in Brooklyn. Danticat recalls that storytelling was one of the favorite pastimes in Haiti when she was young. Older relatives would ask “Krik?” to inquire whether the children were ready to hear stories, and the children would reply “Krak!” to indicate that they were ready to listen. Danticat believes that her love of writing stems from her immersion in the culture of storytelling as a child.

When Danticat arrived in Brooklyn, she spoke no English. In school in Haiti, she had learned to read and write in French. English was her third language, which she learned in bilingual classes at Brooklyn’s Intermediate School 320. Her teen years were difficult. Danticat felt like an outsider at school, because she was...

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Edwidge Danticat Biography (Masterpieces of American Literature)

Danticat’s fiction is informed by her own experiences as a Haitian American and as an immigrant. But she infuses her experience with a compelling voice and well-drawn characters that illustrate the complex themes that are woven into her work. Her writing explores how people can “live between two worlds,” how social class and color exert powerful forces on people’s lives, how the major upheavals of history affect individuals, and how the mother-daughter relationship resonates throughout the lives of women. Most of all, Danticat’s work centers on relationships and the ways that relationships are affected by difficult times. To be certain, many of her characters undergo great hardships and tragedies. Most of the time, the bitterness is tempered with a share of sweetness or tenderness.

Edwidge Danticat Biography (Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Edwidge Danticat was born on January 19, 1969, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, the eldest child of André Miracin Danticat and Rose Danticat. Her father emigrated to the United States (New York) when Danticat was two years old; her mother emigrated when Danticat was four years old, leaving her and her brother, Eliab, in the care of an aunt and uncle in Haiti. The siblings joined their parents and two New York-born younger brothers in Brooklyn when Danticat was twelve years old. The members of her extended family in Haiti and the stories and traditions that she learned there were major influences on her later writing.

Danticat was raised speaking Haitian Creole, and she was educated in French while in Haiti. As a teenager in Brooklyn, she began to write in English, her third language. She majored in French literature at Barnard College and graduated from there in 1990. Danticat went on to earn a master of fine arts degree in writing from Brown in 1993. A version of her graduate thesis was published as her first novel, Breath, Eyes, Memory.

Danticat’s second novel, The Farming of Bones, a rich and mature work based on the 1937 massacre of Haitians in the Dominican Republic, was published in 1998. The Farming of Bones was followed by work in editing, translation, and film. In 2002, Danticat published her first full-length nonfiction work, After the Dance, and a novel for young adults, Behind the Mountains (2002). This novel, presented in the form of the diary of a teenage Haitian girl who is reunited with her family in Brooklyn after eight years’ separation, is a coming-of-age story reflecting the stress of emigration on families.

Danticat moved from New York to Miami’s Little Haiti and was married in 2002 to Faidherbe “Fedo” Boyer, owner of a service offering creole-language translation. She and her husband have one child, daughter Mira Boyer.

Edwidge Danticat Biography (Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Edwidge Danticat (DAN-tih-cah), the first African Haitian woman author to write in English, emerged on the contemporary literary scene as one of the United States’ most creative young artists. Krik? Krak!, a finalist for the prestigious National Book Award in 1995, brought Danticat to the attention of literary critics and media. In 1998, television host Oprah Winfrey chose Breath, Eyes, Memory for her book club, catapulting the novel into best-seller status. Danticat’s stories have been published in more than twenty-five journals. She has also edited several collections of Haitian writings.

When Danticat was two years old, her father emigrated to the United States, where he found a job driving a taxicab. Her mother followed him two years later to work in a textile factory, leaving Edwidge and her younger brother to the temporary care of an aunt and uncle. At the age of twelve, Danticat arrived in Brooklyn, where she had to adjust to two new brothers, learn English, and endure the stereotyping of Haitian immigrants as “boat people.” She nonetheless thrived in school, was accepted at Barnard College, where she majored in French literature, and went on to Brown University on a full scholarship to earn a master of fine arts degree.

The inspiration for Breath, Eyes, Memory, Danticat’s first novel, was an essay she wrote for a high school newspaper about her childhood in Haiti. The novel begins as the first-person narrator, Sophie Caco, is summoned to New York, leaving behind the aunt she loves in order to live with a mother she barely recalls. The new relationship is deeply troubled, complicated by cultural conflict and the...

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Edwidge Danticat Biography (Short Stories for Students)

Brought up in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Edwidge Danticat has had firsthand experience with many of the harrowing...

(The entire section is 331 words.)

Edwidge Danticat Biography (Literature of Developing Nations for Students)

Edwidge Danticat Published by Gale Cengage

Edwidge Danticat (pronounced ‘‘Edweedj Danticah’’) was born January 19, 1969, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and was separated from her...

(The entire section is 616 words.)

Edwidge Danticat Biography (Short Stories for Students)

Edwidge Danticat was born on January 19, 1969, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to André Miracin (a cab driver) and Rose Souvenance (a textile...

(The entire section is 507 words.)

Edwidge Danticat Biography (Literature of Developing Nations for Students)

Edwidge Danticat (pronounced ‘‘Edweedj Danticah’’) was born January 19, 1969, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and was separated from her...

(The entire section is 659 words.)