Writer Dany Laferriere, At Home and Abroad
Windson Kleber Laferriere was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti in 1953. When his father, the mayor of Port-au-Prince and under-secretary of state for trade, went into exile, his mother followed soon after. Both feared the wrath of the Duvalier regime.
From the age of 4, Dany Laferriere was raised by his grandmother in Petit Goave, Haiti. He eventually became a journalist and broadcaster. In 1976 he too fled the country without a word of goodbye, when a colleague, with whom he was working on a story, was murdered.
In Montreal he started out working in low-paying factory jobs, but he put his skills into writing his first book. Translated into English in 1987, ‘How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired’ was a big success. It was followed with several other novels in French, including two children’s books.
In 2009 his eleventh novel, ‘L’Enigme du Retour’ won France’s prestigious Prix Medicis. It was translated into English by David Homel, and released in 2010 as ‘The Return’.
Dany Laferriere was in Haiti during the earthquake of 2010 and chronicled his experience in ‘The World is Moving Around Me’.
In December 2013, in one ballot, Dany Laferriere was elected to the Academie francaise. His is the first Haitian, the first Quebecer, and the first Canadian to be given the honour.