Amy Wilentz is an accomplished journalist who has corresponded from Jerusalem for The New Yorker, profiled Benazir Bhutto, Jimmy Carter, and Jeffrey Sachs, and written extensively about Haiti for a variety of publications such as the New York Times, Time, Politico, and The Nation.
She published her first book about Haiti, The Rainy Season: Haiti Since Duvalier, in 1989 for which she received the Whiting Writers Award and PEN/Martha Albrand Nonfiction Award, and was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her second book and first novel, Martyrs’ Crossing (2000), is wrapped up in the Arab-Israeli conflict and won the American Academy of Arts and Letters Rosenthal Award. Leaving Manhattan for Los Angeles resulted in the 2006 memoir I Feel Earthquakes More Often Than They Happen: Coming to California in the Age of Schwarzenegger.
The Rainy Season, Wilentz’s portrait of Haiti after the fall of Jean-Claude Duvalier, was praised in the New York Times Book Review as “a remarkable account of a journalist’s transformation by her subject.” In her relationship with the country since then, Wilentz has witnessed more than one magical transformation. With her new book, Farewell, Fred Voodoo, she gives us a vivid portrayal of the extraordinary people living in this stark place. Wilentz traces the country’s history from its slave plantations through its turbulent revolutionary history, its kick-up-the-dirt guerrilla movements, its totalitarian dynasty that ruled for decades, and its long and always troubled relationship with the United States. Yet through a history of hardship shines Haiti’s creative culture—its African traditions, its French inheritance, and its uncanny resilience, a strength that is often confused with resignation. (goodreads.com)
Amy Wilentz teaches in the Literary Journalism program at the University of California at Irvine, and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three sons.