Neustadt Lit Fest to Feature Haitian American Writer Edwidge Danticat

September 13, 2018
by WLT

Neustadt Lit Fest International Books & Culture. October 9 through 11, 2018. The University of Oklahoma, Norman.

The Neustadt Lit Fest, a legendary celebration of international literature and culture, will take place Oct. 9-11 on the University of Oklahoma Norman campus. Headlined by Edwidge Danticat, winner of the prestigious Neustadt International Prize for Literature, the festival also will feature a marquee performance by the world-famous Haitian dance troupe Rara Tou Limen. The festival and $50,000 award are sponsored by World Literature Today, OU’s award-winning magazine of international literature and culture.

The festival kicks off on Tuesday, Oct. 9, with an opening-night reception at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art on the OU campus. Additional highlights include a public conversation with Danticat, roundtable discussions of Danticat’s work and Haitian culture, a dance and drum workshop with Rara Tou Limen, and Danticat’s keynote talk. All events are free and open to the public.

Visit the festival website,, for complete details and to learn more about the rich Neustadt tradition at the University of Oklahoma. For additional information or special accommodations, call World Literature Today at (405) 325-4531.

Schedule Highlights

Tuesday, Oct. 9

6:30-8:30 p.m.

Opening-Night Celebration and Book Signing

Listen to remarks by 2018 Neustadt Prize laureate Edwidge Danticat, hear the announcement of the winner of the 2019 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature, and watch a preview of “Women Like Us,” choreographed by OU professor Marie Casimir. Visiting writers will be available to sign copies of their books. Refreshments provided.

Sandy Bell Gallery, Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, 555 Elm Ave.


Wednesday, Oct. 10

10-11:15 a.m.

Caribbean Migrations: A Roundtable Discussion

Marie Casimir (University of Oklahoma), Erik Gleibermann (San Francisco) and Achy Obejas (Mills College) take part in a discussion on the theme of cultural, literary and linguistic migrations in and from the Caribbean, moderated by Karlos Hill (University of Oklahoma), followed by Q&A with the audience.

Scholars Room (315), Oklahoma Memorial Union, 900 Asp Ave.


Noon-1:30 p.m.

Edwidge Danticat’s Literary Message: A Roundtable Discussion and Luncheon

Catherine John Camara (University of Oklahoma), Marcia Chatelain (Georgetown University) and Atibon Nazaire (Brooklyn) discuss Danticat’s work in the context of the Haitian diaspora and Haitian American culture, followed by Q&A with the audience. Lunch provided, but limited seating is available (respond online). Co-sponsored by OU’s Center for the Americas.

Scholars Room (315), Oklahoma Memorial Union


3:30-4:30 p.m.

Edwidge Danticat and Erik Gleibermann: A Literary Conversation

In her 2017 essay collection, The Art of Death, Edwidge Danticat muses, “We write about the dead to make sense of our losses, to become less haunted, to turn ghosts into words, to transform an absence into language.” In this inside look into the writerly life, Danticat will discuss themes of mortality and artistic creation with author and journalist Erik Gleibermann.

1st floor Gallery, Gould Hall, 830 Van Vleet Oval


6-8 p.m.

Community Dance and Drum Workshop

The Haitian dance troupe Rara Tou Limen presents a dance and drum workshop, open to the public.

305 Fine Arts Center, 563 Elm Ave.


Thursday, Oct. 11

9:30-10:45 a.m.

Haitian Dance

Don’t miss the marquee performances of “Women Like Us,” choreographed by Marie Casimir, and “ReBIRTH” by Rara Tou Limen, followed by a talkback with the performers. Co-sponsored by the OU School of Dance.

Sharp Hall, Catlett Music Center, 500 W. Boyd St.


11 a.m.-Noon

“All Geography Is Within Me: Writing Life, Death, Freedom, and Salt”: The 2018 Neustadt Keynote

Edwidge Danticat delivers the 2018 Neustadt Prize lecture, followed by audience Q&A.

Sharp Hall, Catlett Music Center


About Edwidge Danticat

Edwidge Danticat (b. 1969) is the author of Breath, Eyes, Memory, an Oprah Book Club selection; Krik? Krak! a National Book Award finalist; The Farming of Bones; The Dew Breaker; Create Dangerously; Claire of the Sea Light; and The Art of Death: Writing the Final Story. She also is the editor of The Butterfly’s Way: Voices from the Haitian Dyaspora in the United States, Best American Essays 2011, Haiti Noir, and Haiti Noir 2. She has written six books for children and young adults—Anacaona, Behind the Mountains, Eight Days, The Last Mapou, Mama’s Nightingale, and Untwine—as well as a travel narrative, After the Dance. Her memoir, Brother, I’m Dying, was a 2007 finalist for the National Book Award and a 2008 winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography. She was a 2009 MacArthur fellow. The 2018 Neustadt Prize jury read The Dew Breaker as the representative text of her work. (Source: