October 12, 2017
Novelist and short story writer Edwidge Danticat, the 2017 winner of the Sister Mariella Gable Award for her book “The Art of Death: Writing the Final Story,” will conduct a reading at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26, at room 204, Gorecki Center, College of Saint Benedict.
The book reading is free and open to the public. Danticat will also talk about her book while in residence Oct. 26-27 at CSB and Saint John’s University.
In “The Art of Death: Writing the Final Story,” Danticat writes about death and what she describes as “ultimately unknowable.” The book grew from her experience mourning her mother’s passing, and is a blend of critical and personal writing.
She assesses how writers as different as Toni Morrison, Taye Selasi and C.S. Lewis have approached death, grief and loss, and culminates with her channeling the voice of her mother.
Danticat was born in Haiti and moved to the United States when she was 12. She earned a degree in French literature at Barnard College, where she won the 1995 Woman of Achievement Award. She also earned a Master’s in creative writing from Brown University.
She is the author of many other books and short stories, including “Breath, Eyes, Memory,” her first novel which deals with questions of racial, linguistic and gender identity and was an Oprah Book Club selection; “Krik? Krak!,” a collection of short stories which was a National Book Award for Fiction finalist in 1995; “The Farming of Bones,” which received the American Book Award in 1999; and “Brother, I’m Dying,” which won a National Book Critics Circle Award and was a National Book Award finalist in nonfiction.
Sister Mariella Gable was an English professor at CSB from 1928-73. She was also a Dante scholar, poet, editor and writer. Sister Mariella tirelessly promoted the cause of two then little-known authors, Flannery O’Connor and J.F. Powers, and introduced audiences in the United States to such Irish writers as Frank O'Connor, Seán Ó Faoláin, Mary Lavin and Bryan MacMahon through her many essays and anthologies.
The Sister Mariella Gable Award is given each year by CSB for an important work of literature published by Graywolf Press. Graywolf Press, described by Ploughshares magazine as “arguably the best small press in the country,” and the Literary Arts Institute at CSB have formed an innovative collaboration to explore new ways of promoting the literary arts on campus, to audiences in the surrounding area and in the Twin Cities.
Past winners of the Sister Mariella Gable Award include Susan Stewart (2016), Eula Bliss (2015), Claudia Rankine (2014), Ru Freeman (2013), Deborah Baker (2012), Binyavanga Wainaina (2011), Tiphanie Yanique (2010), Ellen Bryan Voigt (2009), Linda Gregg (2008), Tracy K. Smith (2007), Nurruddin Farah (2006), Jane Kenyon (2005), Clint McCown (2004), Joe Coomer (2003), Judith Kitchen (2002) and Victoria Redel (2001).