Krik? Krak! | Study Guide

Edwidge Danticat

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Edwidge Danticat | Biography


Early Life and Education

Edwidge Danticat was born on January 19, 1969, in Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. By 1973 Danticat's parents had emigrated to the United States. Danticat and her brother remained in Haiti and lived with an aunt and uncle. In 1981 Danticat joined her parents in the United States. She found American life difficult to navigate after having grown up in Haiti. Her clothing, language, and experiences reflected her Haitian heritage and made it hard for Danticat to fit in or feel comfortable among her peers. She wrote stories when she wanted to get away from her unhappy social situation which she had done since she was younger.

Danticat's parents wanted her to pursue a career in medicine. Instead she earned a BA in French literature from Barnard College in New York City, New York, in 1990 and an MFA degree from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1993. Danticat's master's thesis told the stories of generations of Haitian women.

Writing Career

Danticat's master's thesis was published in 1994 as the novel Breath, Eyes, Memory. Her next book was a collection of stories titled Krik? Krak! which was published in 1995. Krik? Krak! was a finalist for the National Book Award. Danticat's second novel was The Farming of Bones which was published in 1998. The novel is set at the time of the historic massacre of Haitian workers in 1937 by Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo (1891–1961). Danticat's 2004 story collection The Dew Breaker dealt with Haitian people's struggles during the violent reign of dictator François Duvalier. Danticat's 2007 memoir Brother, I'm Dying was a winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award.

In 2010 Danticat published Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work which is a collection of essays about being a Haitian writing about Haiti from the vantage point of a person living in the United States. Her 2013 novel Clair of the Sea Light deals with the many connections that emerge in relation to a young girl's disappearance in a Haitian town. Danticat published two books for young people in 2015. She wrote a children's book titled Mama's Nightingale: A Story of Immigration and Separation which is about the separation of a young Haitian immigrant from his mother when she is put behind bars for not having documentation. That same year Danticat published the young adult novel Untwine. Since then she has written about her mother's death in The Art of Death: Writing the Final Story which was published in 2017. Danticat also published the short story collection Everything Inside in 2019. Danticat's work ranges widely in form and content but focuses primarily on women, families, relationships, and the effects of political and social forces on their lives.

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