Edwidge Danticat

Edwidge Danticat

Past Event: Monday, January 8, 2007

At Benaroya Hall — S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium

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Sponsored by University Book Store.

Haitian author Edwidge Danticat is fluent—and eloquent—in three languages. Born in Port-au-Prince, she was raised in the Creole culture, took an honors degree in French literature, and writes stunning fiction in English.

She published her debut novel, Breath, Eyes, Memory (1994), at twenty-four, only twelve years after immigrating to New York, “completely between languages.” Infusing her novels, short stories, and essays is the rich narrative tradition of her Haitian ancestors, who, Danticat says, blended the European languages of their enslavers with African dialects to invent “a language from which colorful phrases blossomed to fit the desperate circumstances.” Her short story collection Krik? Krak! (1991), nominated for the National Book Award, gives voice to those who fled the dictators and those who remained behind. She invokes history in The Farming of Bones (1999), the haunting tale of Haitian field workers massacred by a Dominican Republic dictator. A finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award, The Dew Breaker (2004) portrays an immigrant father who hides from his Brooklyn-dwelling daughter the brutal acts he committed in the Haitian homeland.

Danticat has been awarded the Pushcart Prize, an American Book Award, and the first Story Prize for outstanding short fiction. She has taught at New York University and the University of Miami. Danticat lives in the “Little Haiti” neighborhood of Miami.

Excerpt from The Dew Breaker
Before my father was arrested, the president of the republic would drive through my town on New Year’s Eve and throw money from the window of his big shiny black car. Sun rays would wrap themselves around the brand-new coins, making them glow like glass. When we heard that the president was coming, we would clean our entire house, dust our cedar table, and my father would stay home from the sea in case the president chose to get out of the car and walk into our house, to offer us something extra, a bag of rice, a pound of beans, a gallon of corn oil, a promise of future entrance to the medical school or the agricultural school in Damien, something that would have bought our loyalty forever, so that twenty, thirty, forty years after he was long dead, we might still be saying, “Things were hard, but we once had a president who gave me a sack of rice, some beans, and a gallon of cooking oil. It was the first and last time anyone in power gave me anything.” As if this sack of rice, this pound of beans, this gallon of cooking oil were the gold, silver, and bronze medals in the poverty Olympics.

Selected Work
The Dew Breaker (2004)
Behind the Mountains, young adult (2002)
The Butterfly’s Way: Voices from the Haitian Dyaspora in the United States, editor (2001)
The Farming of Bones (1999)
Breath, Eyes, Memory (1994)
Krik? Krak! (1991)

African American Literature Book Club
BookBrowse Interview
The Morning News: Interview with Edwidge Danticat

Event Details

Benaroya Hall — S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium

200 University Street
Seattle, WA 98101

View directions.

Transportation & Parking

This event will be held in the S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium, the largest event space at Benaroya Hall. 

Benaroya Hall is located at 200 University Street, directly across Second Avenue from the Seattle Art Museum. The public entrance to Benaroya Hall is along Third Avenue.

  • From Southbound I-5
    Take the Union Street exit (#165B). Continue onto Union Street and proceed approximately five blocks to Second Avenue. Turn left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Northbound I-5
    Exit left onto Seneca Street (exit #165). Proceed two blocks and turn right onto Fourth Avenue. Continue two blocks. Turn left onto Union Street. Continue two blocks. Turn left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Northbound Highway 99 (Aurora Avenue)
    Take the Seneca Street exit and move into the left lane. Turn left onto First Avenue and proceed one block. Take the next right (at the Hammering Man sculpture) onto University Street. Continue up the hill two blocks to Third Avenue. Turn left onto Third Avenue. Continue to the next block and turn left onto Union Street. Make the next left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Southbound Highway 99 (Aurora Avenue)
    Take the Denny Way/Downtown exit. Keep right and cross over Denny Way onto Wall Street. Proceed approximately five blocks and turn left onto Second Avenue. Continue south on Second Avenue approximately eight blocks. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.

By Bus
Benaroya Hall is served by numerous bus routes. Digital reader boards along Third Avenue display real-time bus arrival information. For details and trip planning tools, call Metro Rider Information at 206.553.3000 (voice) or 206.684.1739 (TDD), or visit Metro online. The Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel, served by bus and light rail, has a stop just below the Hall (University Street Station).

The 430-car underground garage at Benaroya Hall provides direct access from the enclosed parking area into the Hall via elevators leading to The Boeing Company Gallery. Enter the garage on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street. Maximum vehicle height is 6’8″. Blink charging stations are available for electric vehicles. The event rate is $16.

Parking is also available at:

  • The Cobb Building (enter on University Street between Third and Fourth avenues).
  • The Russell Investments Center (enter on Union Street between First and Second avenues).
  • There are many other garages within a one-block radius of Benaroya Hall, along with numerous on-street parking options.


All of our venues have accessible seating and listening devices available. Please contact us at boxoffice@lectures.org or 206.621.2230 x10 for more details and to let us know you’re coming so we can better accommodate your needs.