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Edwidge Danticat: Writers on the Record

with Victoria Lautman

Click play to listen. Recorded on September 30, 2007.

Journalist Victoria Lautman interviews Edwidge Danticat on her searing family memoir, Brother, I’m Dying (2007).  This is a book that ricochets from Port-au-Prince, Haiti to Brooklyn and bounces between the two most important men in the writers’ life: her father and his brother. When Danticat’s mother and father moved to the United States to pursue a better life for their children, Uncle Joseph devoted eight years to raising Danticat and her younger brother Bob before they could be reunited with their parents in New York. Joseph’s death in the custody of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security set this book in motion, but Danticat’s stories of her turbulent and evocative homeland are at the core of this narrative as in all her beloved bestsellers: Breath, Eyes, Memory (1994). Krik? Krak! (1995), The Farming of Bones, (1998), and The Dew Breaker (2004).

Speakers and Performers

Edwidge Danticat

MacArthur Fellow Edwidge Danticat’s many books include the memoirs Brother, I’m Dying and After the Dance: A Walk through Carnival in Jacmel, Haiti; the novels The Farming of Bones and Breath, Eyes, Memory; the story collections The Dewbreaker and Krik? Krak!; and two novels for young adults, Behind the Mountain and Anacaona: Golden Flower, Haiti, 1490.  Danticat earned her bachelor’s degree from Barnard College and an M.F.A. from Brown University.  She has taught creative writing at New York University and the University of Miami.

Victoria Lautman

Victoria Lautman is the founder, host, and executive-producer of Writers on the Record with Victoria Lautman. Prior to conceiving and founding this free, public series, Victoria was a featured host and contributor on Chicago Public Radio for two decades.
CHF Suggests      Related links and resources for further study

Leaders And Thinkers

Edwidge Danticat (b. 1969)
Archived articles on the author from around the Web
Junot Díaz (b. 1968)
Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007)
Deborah Eisenberg (b. 1945)
MacArthur Fellow and author of the short story collection Twilight of the Superheroes (2006)

Related Events

Authors at the Chicago Public Library
Writers on the Record and other readings and interviews, at branches all over town
The New Yorker Festival
Including appearances by Jonathan Lethem, Colson Whitehead, George Saunders, and other writers
Powell's Books
Readings and more in Portland, Oregon

Good Reads

Grappling With Haiti’s Beasts (2004)
Interview with Danticat in The Atlantic
Danticat's Writing in The Progressive
Danticat's political views
Review: The Postmodern Me (2009)
Article on Love and Obstacles: Stories by Danticat's colleague Aleksandar Hemon

Online Resources

Audio: Writers on the Record with Victoria Lautman
Interviews with Louise Erdrich, Adam Gopnik, Frank McCourt, and others
Danticat in The New Yorker
Danticat's stories from 1999 onward
Audio: Edwidge Danticat, Dealing with Birth and Death
Danticat on "Fresh Air" (09/26/2007) and "All Things Considered" (09/15/2007)