Award-winning writer and MacArthur Fellowship winner Edwidge Danticat will be the featured speaker and honorary degree recipient for this year’s Commencement ceremony. Danticat will read from her work and receive an honorary Doctor of Letters degree at the May 2 event, which will continue the new tradition of conducting a single ceremony for undergraduates and graduate students. Born in Haiti in 1969, Danticat is a distinguished novelist, short fiction writer, essayist, editor, and collaborator on film projects. Her work has focused on the history of Haiti, the Haitian-American immigrant experience, and issues of gender, sexuality, and family dynamics.
A short list of her awards includes the Pushcart Prize for her short fiction, which has appeared in the New Yorker and New York Times; an Oprah Book Club pick for her debut novel, Breath, Eyes, Memory; a National Book Award nomination for her story collection Krik? Krak!; National Book Critics Circle and PEN/Faulkner nominations for her story collection The Dew Breaker; and the National Book Critics Circle Award, Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and another National Book Award nomination for her memoir Brother, I’m Dying. In 2009, Danticat was named to the prestigious MacArthur Fellows program, with its $500,000 “genius” grant.