Krik? Krak!GAMBIER, Ohio (March 20, 2007) "Krik?" calls the storyteller. And the listeners, perking up their ears, shout back "Krak!" A Haitian custom, this verbal formula usually leads to light stories or riddles. The literary world knows the intriguing phrase, however, as the title of a story collection by acclaimed Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat, whose work, both deeply intimate and broadly political, is anything but light-hearted.
Danticat will read from her work at Kenyon on Monday, March 26, at 7:30 p.m. in Higley Auditorium. Tuesday will feature a "Conversation with Edwidge Danticat" at 11:10 a.m. in Olin Auditorium.
"Edwidge Danticat is a central voice in Anglophone Caribbean literature," says Professor of English Theodore O. Mason Jr. "Her fiction gives us a strong sense of the local, but in doing so, she also manages to tell stories with implications far broader." Much of her work deals with the struggles of people surrounded by poverty and violence in her native country, as well as the disruptions endured by those who immigrate to the United States.
Danticat's personal story is a compelling one. Born in 1969 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, speaking Creole at home and French in school, she moved to New York when she was twelve. By the time she was twenty-five, she had published Breath, Eyes, Memory, her first novel. Krik? Krak!, published in 1995, was nominated for the National Book Award.
"When you write, it's like braiding your hair," Danticat has said. "Taking a handful of coarse unruly strands and attempting to bring them to unity . . . Some of the braids are long, others are short. Some are thick, others are thin. Some are heavy. Others are light."
Danticat's other books include The Farming of Bones (1998), Behind the Mountains (2002), and another story collection, The Dew Breaker (2004), which was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award.
She comes to Kenyon as part of the Faculty Lectureships series.