Haiti in Translation: Memory at Bay by Évelyne Trouillot, An Interview with Paul Curtis Daw

Nathan Dize Discussion

Siobhan Marie Meï, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Welcome to another installment of Haiti in Translation! This summer I had the pleasure of interviewing Paul Curtis Daw on his elegant translation of Évelyne Trouillot’s 2010 Prix Carbet award-winning novel Memory at Bay (Mémoire aux abois). Trouillot is a prolific and celebrated writer whose works include novels, short stories, poetry, essays, and children’s literature. Trouillot’s works have been widely translated: her novels appear in English, Spanish, and Italian. After completing her studies in languages and education in the United States, Trouillot returned to Haiti in 1987, where she became a faculty member at the l’Université d’État d’Haiti and published her first work, a collection of short stories titled La chambre interdite, in 1996.  Trouillot writes and publishes in both French and Creole.

Memory at Bay is a haunting text that interweaves the perspectives of two women—one old, one young—as they reflect upon their experiences living in Haiti and the diaspora during and after the Duvalier regime. For me, the beauty of this novel exists in its boundless interiority: the two central characters’ memories of Quisqueya are in constant interaction, generating contradictions and tensions that form a complicated re-telling of a national history.

My discussion with Paul Curtis Daw touches on various issues related to paratexts, gender, positionality, and the role of collective memory in this novel. In addition to offering insights into the translation process, Daw also provides some wonderful tips for those seeking to engage in literary translation for the first time.  

Siobhan Marie Meï: I would like to begin our interview by discussing your translator’s acknowledgements. In our series we’ve been thinking a lot about the role paratextual elements play in amplifying the more intimate contours of the translation process itself, specifically revealing the various human relationships and collaborations that make literary translations possible. In your acknowledgements you thank author Évelyne Trouillot for her responsiveness during the translation process. Could you elaborate on your experience working with Trouillot on this translation, and perhaps comment on how you came to her work?

Paul Curtis Daw: Working with Évelyne Trouillot has been central to my development as a translator, and the way I came to her work was serendipitous. After wrapping up a legal career in 2006, I rashly decided to try my hand at literary translation. Bereft of credentials or experience, and having read that translating short stories was a plausible means of entering the field, I rummaged around in a university library for a story to translate. It chanced that La Nouvelle Revue française had just published a stimulating special issue on Haitian literature. The story that resonated most strongly with me was Évelyne’s “À l'ombre de l'amandier.” Narrated by a downtrodden beggarwoman, it impressed me with its humanity, empathy, and originality. (Although I didn’t know it at the time, the story is a microcosm of many of the recurring themes in Évelyne’s oeuvre.) I translated it and sent her the English text. She replied encouragingly, and in 2007 the translation appeared in Words Without Borders.

As our collaboration continued on other story translations, I came to appreciate more and more Évelyne’s importance as an author, her groundedness as a person, her zeal for social justice, and her passionate regard for Haiti and its people. From that seedbed arose the project of translating La mémoire aux abois.

Your question about paratextual elements impels me to observe that the process of translating a novel involves extensive “pre-textual” and “post-textual” phases. Unless the publisher enlists the translator, there is typically need for a translation sample, a proposal document for prospective publishers, responses to external readers’ evaluations, grant applications, and more. After submission of the manuscript, there are of course exchanges with the copyeditor, review of page proofs, and a role for the translator in the development and execution of the publisher’s promotional strategy.

In the case of Memory at Bay, Évelyne was deeply involved at almost every stage. For example, in submitting the proposal to the CARAF Series at the University of Virginia Press, we realized that a scholarly afterword would have to be part of the mix. Although I could perhaps have muddled through, I am not an academic. Consequently, after deliberation, Évelyne approached Professor Jason Herbeck of Boise State University. He enthusiastically signed on, and as I wrote in the acknowledgments, his contributions went well beyond his exemplary afterword. As Évelyne says of our three-way synergy, “Nous faisons une bonne équipe.”   

One more example must suffice. The original French edition included a glossary. For the translation, I supplemented the number of entries to include terms that I myself, had I been coming to the book as a reader, might have found opaque. Left to my own designs, I would surely have gone overboard with that rationale. Évelyne’s wise insistence on giving due credit to the reader’s intelligence and sensitivity to context enabled me to keep the glossary within reasonable bounds.    

SMM: The dialogic impulse that characterizes this novel strikes me as particularly relevant to the process of translation itself: an ongoing conversation often fraught with its own set of power relations, constraints, and joys. Could you comment on the connections between the structure of this novel and the theme of memory? Did your own understanding of the relationship between main characters Odile and Marie-Ange shape your translation process?

PCD: It’s no surprise that the novel is replete with description of power relations, because they are of course ubiquitous in Haiti’s history. During the colonial era, plantation owners and slaves (the latter with their own internal gradations). Immediately afterwards, the mulatto elite and the darker-skinned multitude, a dismal divide that has persisted to the present. Large landholders and peasants. Prosperity and penury. The United States as an occupying power. Those who derive a smug pride from speaking French and those who know only Creole. And what could better epitomize a power relation than a repressive dictatorship exploiting and brutalizing its citizenry? François Duvalier swept to power on a program of empowering the rural masses and toppling the dominance of the mulatto elite. In the event, his regime made the lives of all Haitians (with the arguable exception of his closest confederates) harsher and more precarious.

The novel dwells, or at least touches, on most of the power relations I mentioned. Homing in on the principal characters: Odile Savien was born of a tawdry affair and raised in an orphanage. Her prospects were dim until she wed the rising politician, Fabien Doréval. During her many years as First Lady of Quisqueya, she held the power of life and death over the populace, a power she wielded with quiet gusto. Much later, in Odile’s diminished state as a nursing home patient, the power of life and death—this time, over Odile herself—passes to a young aide, Marie-Ange, whose father and uncle were killed by the regime and who actively contemplates murdering the old woman. Still, Odile remains capable of mentally replaying her glory years, and she revels in her lingering power to provoke fear in Marie-Ange by her mere presence. Gradually, Odile projects a force of personality that draws Marie-Ange into its gravitational field.

Conversely, Marie-Ange slowly begins to exert a fascination upon Odile. Detecting the aide’s Quisqueyan origins, the old woman sees Marie-Ange as in some ways a reincarnation of Odile’s own youthful self. Both rather stylish; one trained as a nurse, the other as a care aide; both adept at concealing their thoughts and feelings. The reader sees other parallels beyond those perceived by Odile, such as the two women’s common devotion to family (albeit manifested in starkly different ways).

Much of Odile’s inner narrative is a determined exercise of self-justification, and over the course of the book a powerful sense emerges that Odile is silently addressing her story to Marie-Ange and tacitly seeking the latter’s forgiveness as a representative of the Quisqueyan people. Although the reader never feels that Marie-Ange, if she were made aware of Odile’s rationalizations, would accept them as “truthful” or exculpatory, the fact remains that the two women move closer together in barely perceptible increments, subtly interwoven by the author. In the end, when confronted with a medical crisis, Marie-Ange chooses life over death in a dramatic reversal of her previous resolve to do away with Odile.         

The novel’s alternating narratives are almost pure expressions of memory. Odile’s are selective, slanted, and self-serving, or at the least self-delusive. Ironically, though Marie-Ange’s are filtered through her late mother’s retelling and are only rarely firsthand, they are far more reliable than Odile’s. Évelyne Trouillot demonstrates this brilliantly by juxtaposing contrasting accounts of the same events, such as the chilling aftermath of the attempted kidnapping of the Doréval children or the opening ceremony for the squalid housing project named in Odile’s honor. Occasionally, the narrators recount an episode in relatively consistent terms, such as the obscenely lavish wedding of Jean-Paul Doréval and Isabelle Baudet. When that happens, it is clear that some particular animus is at work in Odile’s mind—in the example given, Odile’s detestation and resentment of her grasping daughter-in-law, whom Odile largely blamed for the collapse of her son’s regime. Evelyne did such an ingenious job of setting up devices of this nature that there was little more for me to do than follow along in her wake, try not to miss any of the markers, and maintain the tone and emotional charge of the original.  

Before translating the novel, I read it at least twice and formed some notion of the relationship between Odile and Marie-Ange. I also tried to attend to their voices, and it was evident that the respective voices were quite distinct.  I hesitate to say that my understanding of the dynamic between the characters shaped the translation process. Rather, as the translation progressed, I had a growing sense, rightly or wrongly, of having apprehended the voices, and I let them lead me onward. Naturally, my sense of the characters’ relationship deepened concurrently. Ultimately, I find it hard to disentangle the direction of causality in what, for me, is a largely intuitive process. 

SMM: Your thoughts on the relationship between Odile and Marie-Ange—the ways in which their memories build a bridge of sorts between their two bodies, bringing them physically (and perhaps emotionally) closer as the novel progresses—make me wonder about the role of collective memory in the novel. You give a striking overview of the complicated power relations that shape the variety of ways in which Haitian history is accessed, revisited, and represented—the differing viewpoints and life experiences of Marie-Ange and Odile are examples of this. However, while reading the text the only visual indication of a shift from Marie-Ange’s perspective to Odile’s is a change from standard font to italics. There were moments in which I had to re-read a previous passage to remind myself whose perspective I was accessing, due in part to the fact that this visual shift does not erase the shared sense of pain and violence that characterizes the process of remembering for both Odile and Marie-Ange. Perhaps you could comment on the role you see collective memory playing in this novel, that is, in my mind, as much about the Duvalier dictatorship as the experience of diaspora and displacement? What, in your opinion, do Marie-Ange and Odile as Quisqueyan people, share?

PCD: Those are large questions, and I can only chip away at them. I’ll begin by saying that the developing body of Évelyne’s work constitutes a chronicle of Haiti’s social and cultural history, presented through vividly drawn characters who engage with each other and with all of Haiti’s complexity and hardship. The timespan covered by her writings extends from the French colonial era almost to the present. Obviously, the Duvalier years from 1964 to 1986 lie at the heart of Memory at Bay. Similarly, Absences sans frontières (2013) focuses on the fateful period from 1986 through 2010 and references many events etched in the national consciousness, such as the fall of “Baby Doc” Duvalier and the ensuing spasms of disorder and revenge, the spreading diaspora, the dizzying political instability that saw Jean-Claude Aristide elected President, overthrown and reinstated under the pressure of international embargos, and the series of natural disasters culminating in the calamitous earthquake. I would argue that Évelyne’s entire oeuvre is an expression of collective memory and also in some measure an attempt to shed light on parts of the story that have previously been slighted.

Let me stress, though, that “collective memory” need not be seen as a monolithic or indivisible phenomenon. There can be competing memories, depending on the perceptions and beliefs of those who hold them. In the afterword, Jason Herbeck describes the mixed reception to Jean-Claude Duvalier’s abrupt return to Haiti in 2011. Some Haitians had been in his camp all along, and others were still too intimidated to condemn him. Tellingly, there were many who looked back on his reign with nostalgia, recalling a time when things had seemed more stable and orderly (but at what price?). Jason also points out that a substantial majority of Haitians are under twenty-five, with no firsthand basis for judging whether the Duvaliers were benevolent or murderous dictators.

I daresay, however, that at least among those Haitians who lived through all or any part of the Duvalier era, the prevailing memories are agonizing, bitter and nightmarish. They coincide, in other words, with those of Marie-Carmelle, as vicariously recounted by Marie-Ange.

To avoid repetition, I’ll comment only briefly on what Odile and Marie-Ange share as Quisqueyans. Their widely differing life experiences and ages tend to limit their commonality. And yet, despite their divergent trajectories, they are both émigrés, and both end up in a particular nursing home on the outskirts of Paris. That’s a literary contrivance, of course, but by no means an implausible one, given the worldwide diaspora of Quisqueyans. Moreover, in common with others in diaspora, both women evidence a certain rootlessness and loneliness. Also evident, as you justly remark, is “a shared sense of pain and violence that characterizes the process of remembering.” I would probably emphasize the differing sources of that pain and violence. In the case of Odile, these include her regret at losing her privileged position, the lingering shock of her sudden downfall, a widow’s desolation, the wounds left by her husband’s infidelity, the hurt of her children’s inattentiveness, certainly her repressed guilt for the regime’s brutal crimes, and the sheer strain of organizing her memories in her enfeebled condition. In Marie-Ange’s case, the pain stems chiefly from the internalization of her mother’s unrelenting grief and despondency and simultaneously from her frustrating inability to exorcise those feelings. Marie-Ange also bears her own share of guilt for not doing more to improve Marie-Carmelle’s emotional state and for being estranged from her for a time.

It’s interesting, too, that although Marie-Ange’s speech did not reveal her Quisqueyan identity, Odile detected her origins in her swaying gait, her languid but deliberate manner, and her proud expression (p.104). 

SMM: Your comments on your process of translation as one of listening to or “being led” by the central voices of this text strike me as a position that is productively humble and potentially feminist. Two questions (that are maybe interrelated): one, do you consider Trouillot’s novel to be a feminist text and two, how did questions of gender and your own positionality surface, if at all, in this translation process?

PCD: Without a doubt, Memory at Bay is a feminist text. Marie-Ange’s side of the story is almost a parable of women’s struggle for self-realization (though a redemptive turn is admittedly late in coming). The narrative encompasses not only the young aide but also three generations of women who preceded her. We are given only glimpses of the great-grandmother, Man Nini. A woman of humble peasant origins, she spent her old age in a rustic cottage, where she poured out affection on her visiting grandchildren and at a later time on her great-granddaughter. On one occasion Man Nini cut out a string of paper dolls and gave them to Marie-Ange, who delightedly twirled them and danced around with them (pp. 118-19, 123). Although Marie-Ange’s memory of that day lay buried for some twenty years, the episode became a delayed epiphany for her when it spontaneously sprang to mind and sparked her determination to free herself from paralyzingly negative memories and preoccupations.

The unnamed grandmother, lauded by Marie-Ange for her strength and courage, became a schoolteacher in the capital city. Deeply idealistic, she was an early follower of Fabien Doréval, taken in by his promises of social and economic betterment for individuals marginalized by their color, class, or rural origins. As soon as Fabien consolidated his control, she knew he had betrayed all her ideals. The regime’s brutality provoked an intense fear for her young son and daughter, and tragically, her life lost its meaning and impetus when the son was killed by the dictator’s agents. 

What about Marie-Ange’s mother, Marie-Carmelle? By nature bright, attractive and vivacious, she showed considerable promise as a youngster, yet from an early age her potential was stunted, first by the oppressive climate of the Doréval regime and her mother’s reflexive protectiveness, and more profoundly by the ensuing deaths of her brother and husband at the hands of the dictatorship. Those horrific experiences dragged her down permanently. Soon after her husband’s death, Marie-Carmelle fled Quisqueya for Martinique with four-year-old Marie-Ange. There, embittered and obsessed with her dreadful memories, Marie-Carmelle recounted them endlessly to her daughter, inflicting them on her captive listener as a way of staying sane. 

Marie-Ange gloomily absorbed her mother’s memories and suffered along with her. She refers to her mother’s torment as her sole inheritance (p. 19) and relatedly to the “dour gravity” she inherited (p. 104). Marie-Ange even resolved to remain childless, for fear of spoiling a child’s life by turning it into a creature like herself, stalked by dread (p. 111). Ultimately, Marie-Ange managed to move decisively beyond her dejection and inertia. How did she do it? I’ve mentioned her epiphanic recollection of the paper dolls and the liberating effect of her instinctive intervention to revive the old woman. But an even earlier catalyst was her long-distance involvement with Quisqueyan relatives and friends whom her mother had tried to help. When Marie-Carmelle died suddenly, Marie-Ange reluctantly took on that supportive role (a positive inheritance!). Almost unwittingly, she opened herself to these young people’s lives. Inspired by their brave and optimistic embrace of life in the face of daunting obstacles, she felt a surge of hope nudging her along and shaking up her memory, as if she were “emerging slowly from a long, hazy tunnel” (p.101). By the novel’s penultimate paragraph, Marie-Ange knows that from then on she will succeed in keeping the past and its ghosts at bay (p. 123).

Of course, feminism can take various forms, which are not always compatible, and a variant strain is reflected in the words and actions of Odile. Her own rise to prominence is surely a feminist narrative of sorts, and one of the novel’s surprises is that she frequently espouses feminist values. For example, she was infuriated when Fabien categorically refused--for transparently sexist reasons—to contemplate naming his eldest daughter as his successor. Likewise, Odile bitterly resented and sometimes hit back at the condescending treatment she received from his circle of male advisors. She also piled scorn on abusive husbands and on philandering men, her own father included, who refused to take responsibility for their offspring.

In addition, Évelyne brings in a number of exemplary women as peripheral characters. I think particularly of the quick-thinking nurse who managed to neutralize the Dorévaliste stooge who ran a health clinic attached to a school and whose erratic actions twice threatened to cause grievous harm to students and patients (pp. 14-15). 

While still on the subject of feminism, I’ll simply note that there are articles to be written about the various perspectives and reflections on motherhood in Memory at Bay.

Finally, it’s important to add that Évelyne’s feminism is an aspect of her all-embracing advocacy of social and economic justice, human dignity, and human development. For instance, in a 2005 interview conducted by Edwidge Danticat for BOMB Magazine, Évelyne points out that the histories of the Haitian Revolution dwell on the male heroes of the era. She says that the many enslaved women who fought against slavery deserve comparable recognition, including a public monument. But she also remarks that the great mass of enslaved people, both men and women, remain largely invisible, and that their stories deserve much more attention.   

As for positionality--which I understand to encompass considerations of race and power as well as gender--I was fully attuned to the reality of my being a wrinkly white male from a rich country translating a novel written by a black woman from an economically deprived country. Was I also duly aware that the two central figures in the novel are black women and that virtually all of the subsidiary characters are likewise people of color? Yes, of course. Did I feel that I should step aside and confide the translator’s role to someone whose personal attributes were a closer fit? No, or only in passing moments. In forging ahead with the project, I was emboldened by the fact that Évelyne herself has translated texts by a black male author from Jamaica, a male Palestinian poet, and a white American female social scientist. She has also created, in my opinion, a compellingly realized male character in the person of Gérard, who stands out in her later novel, Absences sans frontières. While I knew from the start that I had to be especially sensitive to translation choices touching on matters of race or gender, in practical terms that largely came back to a responsibility I’ve previously mentioned, that of listening to and reproducing the characters’ voices and trying to render faithfully the novel’s themes and plot elements.

SMM: Could you speak in a bit more detail about your transition from a legal career to the world of translation? What prompted you to become a translator?

PCD: Heaven only knows. Secondary school gave me a strong grounding in French. Though I have no French heritage, I studied at a boarding school attended mostly by French Canadian kids from the six New England states and beyond. (I was a day student, and that plus my non-French ancestry made me a “double minority.”) For the last two years, our language prof was an old French priest who spoke no English. At college, I took a yearlong survey course in French literature and a year of introductory German. That was it for formal training in modern foreign languages. 

For decades, I barely used French and my proficiency atrophied. Then, beginning in 2000, I cut back substantially on my legal practice to pursue several personal goals. One was travel, and another was self-directed language study. I dabbled in a clutch of languages, mostly Romance, with the aim of minimizing reliance on English speakers in the countries I visited. But when it became evident that French was by far my strongest foreign language, I decided to concentrate on it and began devouring French novels.  

In 2003, I spent three months as a volunteer researcher at the newly opened Paris branch of a U.S.-based NGO. An ulterior motive was to improve my French conversational skills, but that didn’t work out terribly well, because it turned out that English was the only common language in our office. Nevertheless, the posting gave me my first taste of (non-literary) translation, in that I translated various items—including a French legal document and articles from the French press—for consumption by the NGO’s U.S. personnel.

Back home in Colorado, I continued to read French texts. According to my wife, we were reading in the backyard one day in 2005 or 2006, when I interrupted her to say, “You know, I think I could translate this stuff.” In any case, the wheels started turning, and I read several books about literary translation and joined the American Literary Translators Association, attending my first ALTA conference in 2006 and plunging in from there. Bear in mind that I still can’t claim to be a well-established translator, but I have found great pleasure in the translation process and in interacting with authors, translators and editors. 

Incidentally, it took me a while to realize the extent to which my legal training and experience carried over to translation. In preparing briefs, and even more so in drafting contracts, precision of expression is indispensable. Although the content and purposes differ, both legal writing and literary translation depend heavily on wordsmithing and on a painstaking quest for le mot juste. Both crafts give me something of the satisfaction of piecing together a jigsaw puzzle.

SMM: Finally, what advice would you give to someone who is thinking about trying their hand at literary translation for the first time?

PCD: I’d encourage the person (whom I’ll call “you”) to go for it, especially if you can take rejection letters and similar setbacks in stride and recognize that the field is not noted for producing millionaires. (Because the rewards of literary translation are often more intangible than monetary, a separate “day job” is typically necessary, e.g., academia, authorship of original prose or poetry, editing, or commercial translation.) You can’t really know whether you have the aptitude and disposition for literary translation until you’ve given it a try, labored at it to some extent, and gotten a modicum of feedback.

With accomplishments like undergraduate and graduate degrees in foreign languages or comparative literature, masters’ degrees in translation studies, extended foreign residence, bilingual backgrounds, advanced computer skills, and social media savvy, today’s newcomers have immeasurably stronger qualifications than I did. Even so, you still need to navigate your way into the profession.

My suggestions follow. The overarching advice is to take advantage of every available resource and opportunity.

The late Gregory Rabassa, esteemed translator of Latin American literature, was once asked if he knew Spanish well enough to translate One Hundred Years of Solitude. Rabassa, a Cuban-American born in New York, replied, “The real question is, do I know English well enough?” His point was not that knowledge of the source language is secondary (it’s obviously not), but that mastery of English is equally essential. And that goes well beyond grammar and vocabulary. You have to be capable of replicating the rhythm and flow of the source language text, of discerning and rendering a diversity of voices, styles, tonalities, and registers. Much of that knack is innate, but you can raise your proficiency by reading widely and attentively and by writing copiously.

Likewise, the more you know or can learn about the culture of your author’s country, either through direct experience or at the very least from reading, the better off you’ll be.

A manual I found helpful is Literary Translation: A Practical Guide, by Cliff Landers. Because it was published in 2001, it’s not fully current on the interplay between translation and the internet. But it’s quite instructive on just about everything else.

Addressed specifically to French-to-English translators is Translation, Linguistics, Culture: A French-English Handbook, by Nigel Armstrong. The book taught me a lot, and I still consult it occasionally.

Translation can feel like a solitary calling, and it does indeed entail cloistered work, but it need not and should not be experienced solely in those terms.

I highly encourage you to join ALTA (The American Literary Translators Association) and to attend its annual conferences. (Full disclosure: I’m an officer and director of ALTA). The panels and workshops cover both theory and practicum. Veteran translators go out of their way to help newcomers and share their knowledge generously. First-time attendees bond with their peers. Social interaction abounds.

Each year ALTA designates up to six early-career translators as “ALTA Fellows,” gives them honoraria to underwrite attending the conference, and honors them in a special session. You should apply as soon as you feel ready, and if you don’t prevail in your first endeavor, try again.

ALTA also establishes several translation mentorships each year. The number of mentees and the languages represented are variable, depending on sponsorship. Mentorships provide an invaluable opportunity to pursue a translation project with hands-on guidance from a distinguished translator. Take the initiative and apply.

The Emerging Literary Translators Network in America (ELTNA) connects and supports beginning and early-career translators. Patterned after a longer-running European counterpart called the Emerging Translators Network, ELTNA has links with ALTA and is easy to join.    

There are other relevant organizations, including the Literary Division of the American Translators Association, along with regional, state and local translator groups, which tend to be rather informally organized. Oftentimes, they convene in a workshop format, wherein translators swap draft translations with each other, provide feedback and advice, and discuss challenging textual issues.

You should investigate translation residency programs, including the one held each summer in Banff, Alberta. Many others take place in Europe. Be aware, though, that eligibility generally hinges on your being more than a neophyte translator. 

If you want your draft translation to progress from passable to superlative, you must revise and hone it relentlessly. Read and reread your draft and eliminate wordy, clumsy, clichéd, and tone-deaf passages. Prune excessively literal translations that sound unidiomatic in English. Adopt appropriate stylistic conventions and adhere to them.  Ask your partner or a friend to review the draft for fluidity, lucidity, and anything that would cause readers to stumble. When you think the translation is well-polished, put it aside for a couple of days, reread it slowly, and make your final revisions.

Best of luck!

Works Cited:

Armstrong, Nigel. Translation, Linguistics, Culture: A French-English Handbook.                                                                               Multilingual Matters: 2005.

Danticat, Edwidge. “Evelyne Trouillot.” BOMB Magazine. BOMB 90, Winter: 2005.


Landers, Clifford E. Literary Translation: A Practical Guide. Multilingual Matters: 2001.

Trouillot, Évelyne. Memory at Bay. Trans. Paul Curtis Daw. University of Virginia Press: 2015. Afterword by Jason Herbeck. (French edition: La Memoire aux abois. Hoëbeke:    2010.)

Trouillot, Évelyne. Absences sans frontières. Montpellier: Chèvre Feuille Étoilée, 2013.

Trouillot, Évelyne. La chambre interdite. Paris: L’Harmattan, 1996.

Additional Selected English Translations of Works by Évelyne Trouillot:

The Infamous Rosalie (Rosalie l’infâme). Trans. Marjorie Attignol Salvodon. Foreword by Edwidge Danticat. University of Nebraska Press: 2013.

“The Chareron Inheritance” (“L’héritage des Chareron”). Trans. Ariel Goldberger. Intr. by Edwidge Danticat. Words Without Borders: The World Through the Eyes of Writers. Anchor, 2007: 311-322.

“Which One?” Trans. David Ball. Haiti Noir. Ed. Edwidge Danticat. New York: Akashic, 2011: 71-87.

“My Name is Fridhomme” (“Je m’appelle Fridhomme”).Trans. Jason Herbeck. The Caribbean Writer 25 (2011): 206-212.

"In the Shade of the Almond Tree" ("A l'ombre de l'amandier"). Trans. Paul Curtis Daw. Words Without Borders (March 2007).


"Brine, Blood and Mother's Milk" ("La mer entre lait et sang"). Trans. Paul Curtis Daw. Words Without Borders (November 2011). 


"Primal Needs" ("Besoins primaires"). Trans. Paul Curtis Daw. Words Without Borders (January 2013). 


The Detour ("Le detour"). Trans. Paul Curtis Daw.Words Without Borders (Tenth Anniversary Issue, November 2013).


Additional Selected Works by Évelyne Trouillot:

Parlez-moi d’amour… Haiti: Imprimerie Caraïbe, 2002.

Sans parapluie de retour. Port-au-Prince: s.m., 2001.

Plidetwal (in Creole). Port-au-Prince: Presses Nationales d’Haïti, 2005.

L’Œil-Totem. Port-au-Prince: Presses Nationales d’Haïti, 2006.

Rosalie l’infâme. Paris: Dapper, 2003; Port-au-Prince: Presses Nationales d’Haïti, 2007.

Le Mirador aux étoiles. Port-au-Prince: L’Imprimeur II, 2007.

Le Rond Point. Port-au-Prince: L’Imprimeur, 2015.


Paul Curtis Daw is a lapsed lawyer. In 2015, the University of Virginia Press published his translation of Evelyne Trouillot's novel, Memory at Bay. His translations of stories and other texts from France, Haiti, Belgium, Quebec and Reunion appear in Words Without BordersSubtropics, Asymptote Blog, Indiana Review, Cimarron Review, carte blanche, and K1N, among other periodicals, and in the 2016, 2017 and 2018 editions of Best European Fiction.