Despite being a major figure of Haitian literature, Jean-Claude Charles (1949-2008) has received relatively little scholarly attention to date. The present volume seeks to serve as an introduction to the work and universe of this unique and capital writer to an English-language readership. The essays in the collection are organized along three major axes: contextual articles, placing Charles’ work within the larger Haitian literary landscape, punctual articles, addressing specific themes in a selection of Charles’ books, and author testimonials, attesting to Charles’ work’s importance both to his contemporaries and to a new generation of writers. With the ongoing republication of Charles’ work by Mémoire d’encrier in Montreal, and the increasing interest in the author, the proposed volume is timely and necessary, and is in large part a critical accompaniment to the republishing programme. Described by Dany Laferrière as “most brilliant Haitian author of his generation,” Charles has until recently remained largely unread and little understood. As the various chapters in the volume show, Charles is an author for now, and the collection will accompany readers seeking strikingly original insights on issues such as race, migration, and exile, and the role of the author and literature in times of crisis.
“This book is a welcome addition to the body of Haitian literary criticism. It occupies a unique place as it is the first and only volume entirely dedicated to the late Haitian writer Jean-Claude Charles.”