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Haitian Writer Louis-Philippe Dalembert Is Visiting Professor at Freie Universität Berlin

Samuel Fischer Visiting Professor at Peter Szondi Institute of Comparative Literature during 2018/2019 Winter Semester

№ 281/2018 from Oct 19, 2018

The Haitian poet and writer Louis-Philippe Dalembert is the 40th Samuel Fischer Visiting Professor of Literature at the Peter Szondi Institute of Comparative Literature at Freie Universität Berlin during the 2018/2019 winter semester. Dalembert is the author of eight collections of poetry, three books of short stories, two collections of essays, and nine novels, one of which was published in Haitian Creole. In addition to his writing, he sporadically teaches at several universities. In his inaugural lecture on October 24 at 6 p.m. in the Seminar Center on Otto-von-Simson-Straße 26, Dalembert will tell about “Writing since Childhood.” The lecture will be in English. It is public, and admission is free.

As the 40th Samuel Fischer Visiting Professor, Louis-Philippe Dalembert will teach a seminar entitled Littérature et Histoire at the Peter Szondi Institute of Comparative Literature during the 2018/2019 winter semester. The seminar deals with the dialogue between history and literature with the aim of identifying differences and overlaps between literary and historical studies. The participants will examine different periods of world history ranging from the history of North and South America to the history of Europe and the history of Africa. One of the guiding questions will be considering to what extent literature is able to rewrite history. The course takes place on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 12 o’clock. It is in French.

Louis-Philippe Dalembert was born in 1962 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where he began studying journalism. In 1986 he moved to France, where he continued studying literature and journalism at Université Nancy II and École Supérieure de Journalisme de Paris. In 1996 he earned his doctorate from Université de Paris III – Sorbonne Nouvelle with a thesis on the Cuban author Alejo Carpentier. Dalembert currently lives in Paris, Rome, and Port-au-Prince and works full-time as a writer. The French-speaking poet and novelist refers to himself as a globetrotter.

Since leaving his homeland in 1986, Dalembert has often included traveling and “vagabonding” in his writing. His literature also examines Haitian cultural and colonial history, drawing connections to global history. His lyrical work and his novels contain political and social criticism.

Dalembert has won numerous awards for his artistic work. His most recent novel Avant que les ombre s’effacent (Wespieser éditeur 2017), which deals with the migration of Jews to Haiti in 1939, received the Prix Orange du livre and the Prix France Bleu/Page des libraires the year it was published. In 2018 it received the Prix lycéens, des apprentis et des stagiaires de la formation professionnelle de l’Essonne.

In 1987 Dalembert received the Grand Prix de poésie de la Ville d’Agners for his collection of poetry Et le soleil se souvient. In 1999 he won the Prix RFO du livre for his second novel L’Autre Face de la mer (Stock, 2003). In this novel he describes the history of Haiti from different perspectives. Migration is repeatedly shown as a defining moment in different life situations of the characters. In 2008 Dalembert was recognized with the prestigious Casa de las Américas Prize for his novel Les dieux voyagent la nuit (Rocher 2006), which is about a boy who grows up Haiti whose family is influenced by voodoo. In 2011 he won the Ville de Limoges for his novel Roman Noires Blessures (Mercure de France 2011) and the Prix Algue d’Or. In 2014 he received the Prix Thyde Monnier SGDL for his novel Ballade d’un amour inachevé (Mercure de France 2013“).


Prof. Dr. Claudia Olk, Peter Szondi Institute of Comparative Literature, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 30 838-56418, Email: claudia.olk@fu-berlin.de

Time and Location of the Inaugural Lecture

  • Wednesday, October 24, 2018, 6 p.m.
  • Freie Universität Berlin, Peter Szondi Institute, Room L 115, Seminar Center, Otto-von-Simson-Straße 26, 14195 Berlin-Dahlem; subway station: Dahlem-Dorf (U3)