Edwidge Danticat ’90

Edwidge Danticat ’90, a writer of short stories and novels, was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti in 1969 and moved to the United States at the age of twelve. Her recent first-person novel, Behind the Mountains, was based on her childhood and adaptation to a new life in Brooklyn. Protagonist Celiane Esperance and her family leave politically unstable and impoverished Haiti. After years of separation, Celiane reunites with her family in Brooklyn where the new country’s ways surprise her greatly. Her first novel was Breath, Eyes, Memory, followed by The Farming of the Bones, and her first collection of short stories, Krik? Krak!. Her 2007 memoir, Brother, I'm Dying, was a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography. In 2009, she received the coveted MacArthur Fellowship.  In her work, she examines what it means to be an immigrant artist from a country in crisis, with recurring themes of migration, sexuality, gender, and history. She received Barnard’s Woman of Achievement Award in 1995.