A few weeks ago, on February 13, in conversation with our very own Director of Programs, Aimee Laberge, Dany Laferrière told us stories about his life.
When asked where he lives these days he responded whimsically that he lives in the vast space of writing. He also spends a fair amount of time in hotels due to the large amount of travelling he does. Some of the places he described travelling to included Italy (where two of his books are set) as well as Haiti, Madagascar, Algeria, Canada, China and France. He also confirmed that his books have been translated into a wide variety of languages.
He described some of his recent speaking engagements at various colleges and language schools. He also spoke about his experiences with author festivals and book fairs. He described the importance of the diversity that is brought out at such events where people with different origins can learn about many cultures and learn about each other’s favorite books.
He described his style when it comes to using the logic of language, comparing language to mathematics. He feels that simplicity is important in language because it allows clear communication. You don’t want your thoughts to be at odds with your writing.
He also talked about the way language is used in the modern world in a way that is less nuanced than it used to be. He talked about how people are inclined to use less complex verb tenses because, in general, everyone is in a bit more of a rush. He went on to describe language as a living thing as well as the importance of understanding the life of languages that might be less well known than the ones with the most speakers. Emphasis was put on the importance of not judging a language speaker on amount words or grammar complexity used but by the emotions behind the words.