Institute of African American Affairs
“The Caribbean, The Future: Despair or Hope,
Strategies of Connection and Disconnection”
Date: Wednesday, November 4th, 2015
Time: 6:30 pm
Location: NYU Law School D’Agostino Hall
Room: Lipton Hall - 108 West Third Street
(between Sullivan and MacDougal Streets)
New York, NY 10012
Lyonel Trouillot is a novelist and poet writing in French and Haitian Creole, a journalist, and a professor of French and Creole literature in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He was born in Port-au-Prince, where he still lives, but left Haiti for the United States to escape the repression under Jean-Claude Duvalier in the early 1980s. He studied law, but switched to literature early in his career. Fascinated by literature from an early age, he collaborated in various newspapers and magazines in Haiti and the diaspora, where he has published numerous poems and critical essays. He has also written lyrics for songs by Tambou Libète, Manno Charlemagne, Toto Bissainthe, Jean Coulanges, and Atis Endepandan. Trouillot also cofounded the journals Lakansyèl and Tèm et Langaj and is now a member of the Collective of the journal Cahiers du Vendredi and codirector of the collection of the same name. His numerous books and awards include a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres in 2010; in 2011 the Prix Wepler for his novel Yanvalou pour Charlie; for La Belle Amour humane, shortlisted for the Goncourt, awarded the Grand Prix du Roman Métis (2011), the Geneva Book Fair Literary Prize (2012), and the Gitanjali Literary Prize (2012); in 2013 he was awarded the Prix Carbet de la Caraïbe et du Tout-Monde for Parabole du failli. In 2014 he wrote together with Raoul Peck and Pascal Bonitzer the script for Peck's feature film Murder in Pacot.
"I come from the Haitian professional middle class. I grew up in a family where children went to school. My father was also a professor of literature among other things. And so, as a child, I was already familiar with literature. Writing is a tradition in my family. And, being the youngest in the family, I was introduced to literature at a very early age. I went to a very liberal Roman Catholic school in which we were taught to pay attention to all that was happening around us. And, in Haiti, one does not need to look for something to write about. I guess, at a very early age I was already fascinated by the world of words and pretty much aware of social problems and issues."
―Lyonel Trouillot - (Source: Callaloo, Vol. 15, No. 2, Haitian Literature and Culture, Part 1 (Spring, 1992), pp. 403-406; interview with Mohamed B. Taleb-Khyar)