The fastest titler in America by Stella Vincenot

Writer’s Brief

Dany Laferrière: a French, Haitian, Japanese writer?

Journalist, TV and radio host, screenwriter, director, Dany Laferrière worked as a journalist in his native Haiti during the notorious Duvalier regime, immigrating to Canada in 1978 after a colleague with whom he was collaborating on a story was murdered. He settled in Montreal, where he worked at various low-paying jobs while writing his first novel, Comment fair l’amour avec un Nègre sans se fatiguer (1985) [How to Make Love to a Negro, 1987]. A semi-autobiographical account of an impoverished black immigrant and his attraction to white women, the book was a critical and commercial success, and was later made into a feature film and translated into several languages.

The author of twelve novels, he has won several awards, among them the first Prix Carbet des lycéens 2000 for Le cri des oiseaux fous and the Prix RFO du Livre 2002 for Cette grenade dans la main du jeune nègre est-elle une arme ou un fruit? [Why Must a Black Writer Write about Sex?, 1995]. Laferrière won the 2006 Governor General award for Je suis fou de Vava, his first novel for children.

His novel Je suis un écrivain japonais (I am a Japanese Writer) was published in 2008.

We use this as an opportunity to interview Laferrière.

Excerpt from I am a Japanese Writer: “My publisher called while I was out buying fresh salmon. He wanted to know what was going on with that damned book. I’d rather talk salmon. Once, I couldn’t stand the stuff. I ate it and ten minutes later I was puking. The last time was at a friend’s place. I missed the bowl in her bathroom. I cleaned up the floor, washed my face and went back to the living room. I swore it was the last time I’d eat it. Okay, it’s not the first promise I haven’t kept. I am under no obligation to keep promises I make to myself—except the one to write this book…”

Reading List

  • Laferrière, D 1991 Eroshima: a novel. Coach House Press, Toronto
  • Laferrière, D 1993, An aroma of coffee. Coach House Press, Toronto
  • Laferrière, D 1997 A drifting year. Douglas & McIntyre, Vancouver
  • Laferrière, D 1994, Why must a black writer write about sex? Coach House Press, Toronto
  • Laferrière, D 2010, How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired. Douglas & McIntyre, Vancouver
  • Laferrière, D 2010 Heading South. Douglas & McIntyre, Vancouver
  • Laferrière, D 2011, I Am a Japanese Writer. Douglas & McIntyre, Vancouver
  • Laferrière, D 2011, The Return. D&M Publishers Incorporated,
  • Laferrière, D, 2004, Films From a Poet’s Imagination: How to Conquer America In One Night/ On the Verge of a Fever. Facets DVD <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYcVnzFSwsI>
  • Basho, A M 2003 Classic Haiku: An Anthology of Poems by Basho and His Followers. Courier Dover Publications
  • Ueda, M & Matsuo, B.1995 Bashō and his interpreters: selected hokku with commentary, Stanford University Press, California
  • Midori. 2008 The Essential Midori. RCA Red Seal

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