Episode 60 - Myriam J.A. Chancy
I thoroughly enjoyed talking to Myriam Chancy about her critically acclaimed novel, What Storm, What Thunder, which is about the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck near Port-au-Prince on January 12, 2010. The earthquake took the lives of 250,000-300,000 people in and around Haiti's capital. Myriam was born in Port-au-Prince but was living in the United States during the tragedy.
What Storm, What Thunder is a beautiful book, but it's not one you sit down and rush through. Some parts of it are very hard to read, and my brain needed a break. So I found myself putting it down at times when I was feeling overwhelmed, but I was always happy to pick it up again.
I was working as a reporter in Miami when the earthquake struck, and I remember having a hard time wrapping my head around the devastation it caused. Myriam's novel makes what was lost when the earth opened up so clear. She tells the story through several different characters who are forced to endure one of the country's worst natural disasters.
Myriam split her childhood between Haiti and Canada and now lives in the Los Angeles area. She has a PhD from Iowa. This is her third novel, but her first in North America. She's also published four academic works. She's the HBA chair of the humanities at Scripps College in California and a fellow of the John S. Guggenheim Foundation.
In addition to talking about her novel, Myriam and I also discussed the history of Haiti, how best to help those living there, and writers from island nation that we should know.
- How a visual artist opened something up inside her that led to this novel
- How one of her characters reflects the anger that she feels about the way Haiti is treated
- Why it took her years and years and years to write this book
The first listener to reach out to us on Twitter or Facebook with the name of the painter who influenced Myriam to write What Storm, What Thunder will win a free copy of the novel.
If you have won a ReadMore giveaway in the last 90 days, you're ineligible. ReadMore doesn't have a friends and family plan. If you and I ever hung out at Macado's or attended a retreat together in the hills of West Virginia, you're probably ineligible, but we'll always have our memories of country roads.