Amy Wilentz reads from Farewell, Fred Voodoo: A Letter from Haiti
January 29, 2013 6:00 pm
The Rainy Season, Amy Wilentz’s award-winning 1989 portrait of Haiti after the fall of Jean-Claude Duvalier, was praised in the New York Times Book Review as “a remarkable account of a journalist’s transformation by her subject.” In her relationship with the country since then, Wilentz has witnessed more than one magical transformation. Now, with Farewell, Fred Voodoo, she gives us a vivid portrayal of the extraordinary people living in this stark place.
Wilentz traces the country’s history from its slave plantations through its turbulent revolutionary history, its kick-up-the-dirt guerrilla movements, its totalitarian dynasty that ruled for decades, and its long and always troubled relationship with the United States. Yet through a history of hardship shines Haiti’s creative culture—its African traditions, its French inheritance, and its uncanny resilience, a strength that is often confused with resignation.
Amy Wilentz is the author of The Rainy Season: Haiti Since Duvalier, of Martyrs’ Crossing, (a novel) and of I Feel Earthquakes More Often Than They Happen: Coming to California in the Age of Schwarzenegger. She has won the Whiting Writers Award, the PEN Martha Albrand Non-Fiction Award, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Rosenthal Award; in 1990, she was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She writes for The New Yorker and The Nation and teaches in the Literary Journalism program at U.C. Irvine.