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Soirée France—Haïti, une traversée littéraire

Two years after the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010, this event is an invitation to explore the vibrancy of Haitian cultural heritage and promising literary production in the twenty-first century.

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The Alliance Française de Chicago, in partnership with the Cultural Service at the Consulate General of France in Chicago, presents a panel discussion on Haitian literature with two of greatest contemporary Haitian writers living in Port-au-Prince today: Lyonel Trouillot and Yanick Lahens. The panel is moderated by William Balan-Gaubert, researcher and lecturer at the University of Chicago.

“Haïti, Une traversée littéraire” is part of Haïti 2012: Dreams and Reality—Pays Rêvé, Pays Réel, which ran from March 5-9, 2012, for the first time in Chicago and Milwaukee and featured leading personalities of the Haitian cultural scene.

Two years after the devastating earthquake on January 12, 2010, this event has been conceived as an invitation to explore, together with our guests, the vibrancy of Haitian cultural heritage and promising production in the twenty-first century. The presenters include six prominent, award-winning Haitian intellectuals and artists: Lyonel Trouillot, 2011 Goncourt nominated author, poet and journalist; Yanick Lahens, writer and activist; Louis-Philippe Dalembert, author and poet; Arnold Antonin, film director; Mireille Pérodin-Jérôme, art historian, curator, and director of the Ateliers Jérôme, Pétion-Ville; and Edouard Duval-Carrié, Miami-based Haitian artist, critic, and director of the Centre culturel d’art haïtien.

After her studies in France, Yanick Lahens returned to Port-au-Prince where she taught at the Université d’Etat, worked as a journalist at Radio Haïti, and joined Raoul Peck’s Ministry of Culture alongside Louis-Philippe Dalembert. At the forefront of Haiti’s cultural life, she mobilizes her efforts to engage citizenry to create libraries and learning centers and to create sustainable development. Her writing includes essays, short stories, and her prize-winning novel La Couleur de l’aube (2008). Her latest work, Failles (2010), which was finished in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, addresses the real and the socio-political fault lines that permeate Haiti, its cultures, society, and politics.

Lyonel Trouillot (Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, June 2010) lives in Port-au-Prince and is a poet, novelist, journalist, professor, and song writer. While a student of law, he turned to writing to engage politically with the complexity of Haiti’s reality. A signatory to the “Manifeste pour une littérature-monde,” he coordinates the meetings of Etonnants Voyageurs in Haiti. He publishes in Kreyol and in French and has founded a number of journals in Kreyol. His 2011 novel La belle amour humaine was among the four finalists for the prestigious 2011 Prix Goncourt and received the 2011 Grand Prix du Roman Métis. He cowrote with Louis-Philippe Dalembert Haïti: Traversée littéraire (2010), which won the Trophée des arts afro-caribéens.

This program is in French and was made possible thanks to the generous support of le Centre de la Francophonie des Amériques and Dish Network.


Recorded Monday, March 5, 2012 at Alliance Française de Chicago.

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