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Dany Laferrière

Dany Laferrière

Dany Laferrière in 2014
Dany Laferrière in 2014
BornWindsor Kléber Laferrière
(1953-04-13) 13 April 1953 (age 70)
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
OccupationNovelist, journalist
CitizenshipHaitian, Canadian
ChildrenMelissa Laferriere-Tucker
A statue of Laferrière by Roger Langevin sits outside the Grande Bibliothèque in Montreal.

Dany Laferrière OC OQ (born Windsor Kléber Laferrière, 13 April 1953) is a Haitian-Canadian novelist and journalist who writes in French.[1] He was elected to seat 2 of the Académie française on 12 December 2013, and inducted in May 2015.[2]


Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and raised in Petit-Goâve, Laferrière worked as a journalist in Haiti before moving to Canada in 1976.[3] He also worked as a journalist in Canada, and hosted television programming for the TQS network.[3]

Laferrière published his first novel, How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired (Comment faire l'amour avec un nègre sans se fatiguer) in 1985.[3] The novel was later adapted into a screenplay by Laferrière and Richard Sadler, earning a Genie Award nomination for best adapted screenplay at the 11th Genie Awards in 1990. The film adaptation of the novel starred Isaach De Bankolé and was directed by Jacques W. Benoit.

Laferrière writes exclusively in French, although some of his works have been published in English translation by David Homel.

Several further films have been adapted from his work, including On the Verge of a Fever (Le Goût des jeunes filles) in 2004 and Heading South (Vers le sud) in 2005. He also wrote the original screenplays for Voodoo Taxi in 1991 and How to Conquer America in One Night (Comment conquérir l'Amérique en une nuit) in 2004, and was the director of the latter.

In 2009, Laferrière won the prestigious Prix Médicis for his 11th novel, L'énigme du retour. Upon receiving the prize, he commented on its ability to open up a new readership in France, giving him visibility there. In the past Laferrière had always refused to be published in the fall, a season associated with the great literary prizes, but had been recommended to do so with L'énigme du retour by his editors. The novel follows Laferrière as he returns to his birthplace in Haiti, 33 years after he left it, upon learning of his father's death in New York City. The narrative blurs the line between prose and poetry, resembling haiku structures in some sections.

On 12 December 2013, Laferrière was elected on the first round of balloting to Seat no. 2 of the Académie française, becoming the first Haitian, the first Canadian and the first Quebecer to receive that honour.[4][5] He is the second black person to have been inducted, the first being Senegalese writer and statesman Léopold Sédar Senghor in 1983.[2]

On 3 June 2014, he was awarded the International Literature Award by the House of World Cultures for his novel The Return (L'enigme du retour).[6]

In 2014, he was appointed officer of the National Order of Quebec.[7] In 2015, Laferrière was awarded the Order of Canada with the grade of officer.[8]

In 2016, Laferrière won the Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award for his literary achievements.

Laferrière lives in Miami, Florida.


  • Comment faire l'amour avec un nègre sans se fatiguer, 1985 (Éditions VLB)
English translation How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired, 1987 (Coach House Press)
  • Éroshima, 1987 (Éditions VLB)
English translation Eroshima, 1991 (Coach House Press)
  • L'odeur du café, 1991 (Éditions VLB)
English translation An Aroma of Coffee, 1993 (Coach House Press)
  • Le goût des jeunes filles, 1992 (Éditions VLB)
English translation Dining with the Dictator, 1994 (Coach House Press)
  • Cette grenade dans la main du jeune nègre est-elle une arme ou un fruit?, 1993 (Éditions VLB), Prix RFO du livre (2002)
English translation Why Must a Black Writer Write About Sex?, 1994 (Coach House Press)
  • Chronique de la dérive douce 1994 (Éditions VLB, poetry)
English translation A Drifting Year, 1997 (Douglas & McIntyre)
  • Pays sans chapeau, 1996 (Éditions Lanctôt)
English translation Down Among the Dead Men, 1997 (Douglas & McIntyre)
  • La chair du maître, 1997 (Éditions Lanctôt)
  • Le charme des après-midi sans fin, 1997 (Éditions Lanctôt)
  • Le cri des oiseaux fous, 2000 (Serpent à plumes)
  • J'écris comme je vis ; Entretien avec Bernard Magnier, 2000 (Éditions La passe du vent)
  • Je suis fatigué, 2000 (Les librairies initiales)
  • Je suis fou de Vava, 2005 (Éditions de la Bagnole)
  • Pays sans chapeau, 2006 (Éditions du Boréal)
  • Vers le Sud, 2006 (Grasset)
English translation Heading South, 2008 (Douglas & McIntyre)
  • Je suis un écrivain japonais
English translation I Am a Japanese Writer, 2010 (Douglas & McIntyre)
  • La fête des morts, 2009 (Éditions de la Bagnole)
  • L'énigme du retour, 2009 (Québec: Boréal, France: Grasset)
English translation The Enigma of the Return, 2011 (Douglas & McIntyre)
  • Tout bouge autour de moi, 2010 (Mémoire d'encrier)
English translation "The World is Moving Around Me", 2013 (Arsenal Pulp Press)
  • L'Art presque perdu de ne rien faire, 2011 (Boréal)
  • Journal d'un écrivain en pyjama, 2013 (Montréal: Mémoire d'encrier)
  • Tout ce qu'on ne te dira pas, Mongo, 2015 (Montréal: Mémoire d'encrier)

Further reading

  • Beniamin Vasile, Dany Laferrière: l'autodidacte et le processus de création, Paris: l'Harmattan, collection "Critiques Littéraires", 2008


  1. ^ Jaggi, Maya (1 February 2013). "Dany Laferrière: a life in books". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
  2. ^ a b Donadio, Rachel (29 May 2015). "Dany Laferrière, a Guardian of French, Joins the Académie Française". The New York Times.
  3. ^ a b c Brian Busby, "Dany Laferrière". The Canadian Encyclopedia, November 16, 2009.
  4. ^ "Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on the election of Dany Laferrière to the Académie française". Stephen Harper Prime Minister of Canada. 12 December 2013. Archived from the original on 13 December 2013.
  5. ^ "Montreal author Dany Laferrière named an Immortal". CTV News. 12 December 2013.
  6. ^ "Dany Laferrière: the one who plays with words". Deutsche Welle. 3 July 2014. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
  7. ^ "Dany Laferrière". Ordre national du Québec. Government of Quebec. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
  8. ^ "Order of Canada Appointments". The Governor General of Canada His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston. Governor General of Canada. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
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Dany Laferrière
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