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Author gets intimate: Acclaimed Haitian-American writer talks hot-button topics at P’Heights library • Brooklyn Paper

Author gets intimate: Acclaimed Haitian-American writer talks hot-button topics at P’Heights library

Strong message: Author Edwidge Danticat is giving Brooklyn Public Library’s semiannual lecture “Message from the Library” at Central Library on June 17.
Photo by Tequila Minsky

A little Haiti is coming to this book lender!

A celebrated Haitian-American author will discuss how such polarizing issues as immigration and terrorism influence her craft during a free lecture at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Central branch on Sunday.

Reading-room leaders invited Edwidge Danticat to deliver the second installment of the book lender’s “Message from the Library” — a lecture series it began last December that asks writers of all backgrounds to share their world views with patrons — because of the award-winning author’s ability to approach hot-button topics with compassion, and a little comedy, according to a bigwig.

“She can talk about important issues in a way that she exposes herself, but also protects herself with irony and humour,” said Jakab Orsos, who oversees arts-and-culture initiatives for the library system. “And she has an incredible sense of humanity. We knew that she would be an interesting choice because of her state of mind.”

Danticat, a two-time National Book Award nominee who took home the American Book Award for her novel “The Farming of the Bones” in 1999, will focus part of her talk, titled “How Not to Die,” on how she keeps sane amidst the often-emotional current events unfolding around her, helping listeners learn to face the world — and the range of feelings that doing so can inspire, Orsos said.

“This is a moment to listen to an intellectual who can help us navigate our concerns, fears, and joys,” he said. “She is going to discuss what she thinks are the most-sensitive issues of our lives.”

Following the lecture, attendees moved by Danticat’s words will have a chance to discuss them in smaller groups before the event concludes, according to Orsos, who said the library stages the ongoing series to introduce Brooklynites to new ways of thinking, as well as some of their favorite wordsmiths.

“This is a way to deeply engage with our patrons,” he said. “We do not shy away from uncomfortable issues, because it is important to be honest about everything — whether its immigration, life, or death.”

Edwidge Danticat’s “Message from the Library” at Central Library [10 Grand Army Plaza at Flatbush Avenue in Prospect Heights, (718) 230–2100, www.bklynlibrary.org] on June 17 at 7:00 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimon@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @AS1mon.

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