Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work

An eloquent and moving personal account of art and exile from award-winning writer Edwidge Danticat


Sep 19, 2010
5.5 x 8.5 in.
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“Create dangerously, for people who read dangerously. This is what I’ve always thought it meant to be a writer. Writing, knowing in part that no matter how trivial your words may seem, someday, somewhere, someone may risk his or her life to read them.”—Create Dangerously

In this deeply personal book, the celebrated Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat reflects on art and exile, examining what it means to be an immigrant artist from a country in crisis. Inspired by Albert Camus’ lecture, “Create Dangerously,” and combining memoir and essay, Danticat tells the stories of artists, including herself, who create despite, or because of, the horrors that drove them from their homelands and that continue to haunt them. Danticat eulogizes an aunt who guarded her family’s homestead in the Haitian countryside, a cousin who died of AIDS while living in Miami as an undocumented alien, and a renowned Haitian radio journalist whose political assassination shocked the world. Danticat writes about the Haitian novelists she first read as a girl at the Brooklyn Public Library, a woman mutilated in a machete attack who became a public witness against torture, and the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat and other artists of Haitian descent. Danticat also suggests that the aftermaths of natural disasters in Haiti and the United States reveal that the countries are not as different as many Americans might like to believe.

Create Dangerously is an eloquent and moving expression of Danticat’s belief that immigrant artists are obliged to bear witness when their countries of origin are suffering from violence, oppression, poverty, and tragedy.

Awards and Recognition

  • Edwidge Danticat, Honored with the 2011 Langston Hughes Medal, City College of New York
  • Winner of the 2013 Association of Caribbean Writers Grand Prize for Literature
  • Winner of the 2011 Bocas Lit Fest OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature in Nonfiction
  • Finalist for the 2010 Book of the Year Award in Biography and Autobiography, ForeWord Reviews
  • A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice for 2010
  • One of Mosaic Magazine's Best Books for 2010
  • One of The Miami Herald, Between the Covers blog's Best Books for 2010