Authors As Pundits

By a strange coincidence, Edwige Danticat’s The Dew Breaker came out at the same time as the revolt against Haiti’s Jean-Bertrand Artistide. Now she’s being asked to comment, as a pundit, on the events.

When Edwidge Danticat went on Radio Times on WHYY-FM (90.9) the other day to talk about her new novel, The Dew Breaker, callers didn’t want to discuss plot or character. They had bigger questions for the Haitian-born writer. Like: “Is there hope for Haiti?”

I’m not sure what this says about our news programs or about their audiences. At any rate, Danticat isn’t entirely comfortable with this situation, either.

“I find it difficult being a spokesperson,” said the shy, soft-spoken, 35-year-old novelist, who gave a reading at the main branch of the Free Library. “I don’t think in an op-ed way. I don’t always have an immediate response. My work is my soapbox. What I hope is that people will read that and then want to find out more about Haiti.”

And maybe, maybe, make their own opinions.