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International Reading Series: Discussing Haitian Literature with Yanick Lahens & Lyonel Trouillot

April 27 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT

In this virtual fourth installment of our International Reading Series curated by Anderson Tepper, City of Asylum welcomes Yanick Lahens and Lyonel Trouillot. This series features an exploration of global perspectives and voices with authors born outside of the United States. In this program, Yanick, Lyonel, and Anderson will discuss the authors’ recent novels and explore the different facets of Haitian literature. 

Yanick’s novel Sweet Undoings offers a portrait of Port-au-Prince, where violence finds its counterpart in sweetness. The novel follows an ensemble cast of compelling characters—a French journalist, a lounge singer, a desperate poet, an activist, a pacifist, and an American living his days out in Haiti, his home away from home. Nourishing its power from the bowels of the city, Sweet Undoings moves with a rapid, electric syncopation, gradually and tenderly revealing the intimacy of the lives within.

Lyonel offers his own vision of Port-au-Prince in Antoine of Gommiers, a satirical novel tinged with magical realism. With alternating chapters that reveal the day to day struggles of two twin brothers—Ti-Tony, a small time hustler, and Frankie, a wheel-chair-bound folklorist who is writing a biography of the mythic titular Antoine—residing in the capital city, the worlds of rural and urban Haiti are brought to colorful and vibrant life.

Purchase a copy of Yanick’s book, Sweet Undoings, or Lyonel’s book, Antoine of Gommiers, at City of Asylum Bookstore.

About the Authors:

Yanick Lahens was born in Port-au-Prince in 1953. After attending school and university in France, she returned to Haiti, where she taught literature at the university in Port-au-Prince and worked for the Ministry of Culture. Her first novel was published in 2000, and she won the prestigious Prix Femina in 2014 and a French Voices Award in 2015 for Moonbath. An English translation of Moonbath (tr. Emily Gogolak) was published by Deep Vellum in 2017.

Lyonel Trouillot is a Haitian novelist, poet, journalist, and professor of literature, as well as the author of 11 novels, two essays and a book of poetry. His La belle amour humaine was shortlisted for the Goncourt in 2011 and received the Grand Prix du Roman Métis (2011), the Geneva Book Fair Literary Prize (2012), and the Gitanjali Literary Prize (2012).That same year, he was awarded the Prix Wexler for his novel Yanvalou pour Charlie, and in 2013, he was awarded the Prix Carbet de la Caraïbe et du Tout-Monde for Parabole du failli. In 2019 his novel Kannjawou was shortlisted for the Albertine Book Award.

About the Moderator: 

Anderson Tepper is co-chair of the international committee of the Brooklyn Book Festival and a guest curator of the 2023 PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature. Formerly of Vanity Fair, he writes on books and authors for a variety of publications, including The New York TimesThe Los Angeles Times, and World Literature Today. Anderson Tepper serves on the City of Asylum Advisory Board.

About Your Visit: 

This program is virtual only.

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April 27
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT
Program Category:


Alphabet City
40 W. North Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15212 United States

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