Photo Credit: Fabrice Josaphat
If you've been following the ReadMore podcast for a while, you may remember Fabienne from a short interview she did with us about the work of another guest on the show. But Fabienne is also a writer in her own right, and she recently published her first novel in English, Dancing in the Baron's Shadow.
The novel is set in Haiti in the mid 60s when the country was ruled by François Duvalier, a man who was known to most of the world as Papa Doc. But Fabienne explores another Duvalier persona. In Haiti, he was closely associated with one of the spirits of Haitian Vodou, Baron Samdei, the guardian of cemeteries.
In this fast-paced and exhilarating read, Fabienne shows us what life was like for people under this brutal dictator through the story of two brothers, Raymond and Nicolas L'Eveillé. We get a sense of living under the constant watch of Duvalier's ruthless militia, the Tonton Macoutes, and a look inside one of Duvalier's most notorious prisons, Fort Dimanche.
In this week's edition of the ReadMore podcast, Fabienne, who grew up in Haiti, shares how much research she did on the Duvalier regime, why she felt depressed while working on the first draft and just a little bit about the historical novel she's working on right now.
Fabienne, who teaches English at Florida International University where she earned her MFA in creative writing, also shared two of her favorite novels, General Sun, My Brother by Jacques Stephen Alexis and Masters of the Dew by Jacques Roumain. She also mentioned three other Haitian novelists she really enjoys reading, including Edwidge Danticat, Marie Viex-Chauvet and Paulette Poujol-Oriol.
- how she loved the first novel she read in English so much that she hid it behind her desk and read it in school
- which novelists she would most like to teach her students about
- why a book about the role of women in the Black Panthers is on her to-be-read list
We have a free, signed copy of Fabienne's Dancing in the Baron's Shadow to give away to the first listener who sends us a tweet or writes on our Facebook page to tell us the classic Toni Morrison novel Fabienne couldn't get through the first time she tried but later went on to love it.
If you have won a ReadMore giveaway in the last 90 days, you're ineligible for this contest. Also, if we're related, or, if we're friends, I can only give you my love and admiration. No free books!
Click here to listen to the podcast.
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Dancing in the Baron's Shadow