Radio Waves daily blog by Two Dollar Radio indie book publisher


Dany Laferrière is Immortal



Dany Laferriere on Radio Waves blog by Two Dollar Radio

Occasionally we'll drop a line on here in support of a writer or work that has particularly inspired us in some way. I wrote about Rosalyn Drexler, who is a striking, witty talent a little while back, particularly her novel, The Cosmopolitan Girl.

Dany Laferrière is a Haitian-Canadian writer who was inducted last year to France's prestigious Académie Française, which is like something out of a superhero movie: a club with only 40 members known as "Immortals," started in the mid-17th century by a Cardinal, seeking to preserve and further the French language. You wear a cape and a sword when inducted, and the other academicians select a word for you. In Laferrière's case, the word chosen was "Valiant."

I first became aware of Laferrière through reading his phenomenal 2010 novel, I Am a Japanese Writer. The story follows a black writer that lives in Canada whose strongsuit is coming up with titles for his books, whose editor agrees to sign on a new book based on the title alone, which also endears the writer to fans and embassies internationally: I Am a Japanese Writer. The writer feels a kinship with the Japanese poet Basho, and uses this affinity along with the title to explore issues of national, cultural, and racial identity.

Laferrière was born in Haiti and worked there as a journalist until the age of 23, during the reign of "Baby Doc" Jean-Claude Duvalier, when the death of a fellow journalist left him fearing for his own life. Fleeing Haiti, Laferrière settled in Montreal, where he worked nights as a janitor and penned his debut novel, How To Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired, which was later turned into a feature film and—according to the New York Times—earned him a job as a television weather forecaster (naturally).

So you can see how issues of identity would be important to Laferrière. Apparently, Haiti and Canada both claim paternity, but Laferrière says: “I don’t just come from Haiti or Quebec; I also come from the books in my library.”

Posted by Eric Obenauf on 20 January, 2016 Dany Laferrière, I Am a Japanese Writer | 1 comment
Previous post Next Post

Comments

  • mbd - January 21, 2016

    This sounds great, will check it out, Eric.

Let us know what you think here:

Hi there!

Two Dollar Radio is a family-run outfit founded in 2005 with the mission to reaffirm the cultural and artistic spirit of the publishing industry. We aim to do this by presenting bold works of literary merit, each book, individually and collectively, providing a sonic progression that we believe to be too loud to ignore. Check out the ABOUT US section to read more...

Radio Waves daily blog by Two Dollar Radio indie book publisher

Latest posts

  • Design of the Week | Disorder Press

    Being an indie-pub can be a tough, but exponentially rewarding gig. I thought it would be nice to give a shoutout to the hot upcoming publisher on the scene, Disorder Press—a sibling owned literary press based out of New Orleans and... Read more →

  • The Wire | J.D. Wilkes on Paducah Life

    J.T. Crawford at Paducah Life Magazine recently did a feature on the Kentucky Colonel himself, J.D. Wilkes, in lieu of his debut novel The Vine Ate The South. Wilkes is full of poetry during the interview, including this unforgettable line: "It's... Read more →

  • On the Dial | Ann Arbor Film Festival

    The 55th Annual Ann Arbor Film Festival kicks off tomorrow. 55 years is a long time to be running a film festival, let alone anything. Check out the history of the prestigious fest in their own words: The Ann Arbor Film... Read more →