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Episode 43 - Edwidge Danticat

Photo Credit: Lynn Savarese

I'm so excited to be back today! Since our last show, a lot has happened in the world and with me personally.

On February 2, I lost my dear mother who was a big supporter of the show and a lover of reading. I grew up surrounded by books thanks to her, and I will forever be grateful for that lovely gift she shared with me. I'd like to dedicate this episode and the rest of this season to my mom, Anne Whitley.

Over the last few months, the world has turned upside for most of us due to Covid-19. At this writing, the virus has killed nearly 200,000 people worldwide and more than 51,000 in the United States. As we're being asked to stay at home to slow the spread, many of us are turning to books for comfort. I hope today's episode with Edwidge Danticat puts a smile on your face.

Edwdige is a special friend to the show. She was our first guest, and this marks her third appearance on ReadMore. She's the only author to sit down for three episodes with us, and we are so thankful for her thoughtful answers and graciousness.

Earlier this week, we chatted on the phone about her short story collection, Everything Inside, which was published last year. Normally, when I interview an author, we sit face-to-face, but thanks to Covid-19 that wasn't possible. So we improvised and had a lovely conversation by phone about her collection that garnered her the $20,000 Story Prize earlier this year. In February, she became the first author to win the award twice. She won the inaugural Story Prize in 2005 for The Dew Breaker.

I really enjoyed this collection, which primarily takes place in Miami. As usual, Edwidge's characters are well drawn and stay with you long after you're done reading. Most of her protagonists are women with ties to Haiti who are confronting issues like unfaithful partners, caregiving for elderly parents and backstabbing friends.

Edwidge and I discuss living and writing during quarantine, the role Haiti plays in her work and what Toni Morrison and Paule Marshall meant to her. Last year, she wrote a touching tribute to these legendary authors who passed away in 2019.

Interview Highlights:

Edwidge reveals...

- the conflict she feels about the proper way to give back to her home country

- what it was like to spend time with Toni Morrison and Paule Marshall

- what she sees as the great advantage of teaching

Click here to listen to the episode.

You can also catch Edwidge in conversation with Julia Alvarez through Zoom on Tuesday, April 28.

We’ll send a free, signed copy of Everything Inside to the first listener to contact us on Twitter or Facebook tell us which novel Edwidge calls a "masterclass in fiction" and says she's reread it more than any other book.

If you have won a ReadMore giveaway in the last 90s days, you’re ineligible for this contest. Also, if we were ever stuck together closing at Smtihfield's in the 90s, you’re probably ineligible. ReadMore doesn't have a friends and family plan. But we will always have those memories of the smell of Eastern North Carolina style bar-b-que.

You can also purchase the book here. Proceeds will benefit the show and the author.

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