Howard County Poetry & Literature Society (HoCoPoLitSo), in partnership with the Columbia Festival of the Arts, presents the Katia D. Ulysse Book Preview with a reading and pre-release book sale and signing on Wednesday, June 25, 2014, at 7:30 p.m. at Monteabaro Hall in the Horowitz Arts Center at Howard Community College. The event is part of the annual Columbia Festival of the Arts; tickets to the event are $15, and available at the festival’s web site at www.columbiafestival.org/tickets.
Katia D. Ulysse is an intense new voice from Baltimore whose debut novel, Drifting, will be released in July. A recently discovered talent, Ulysse was invited by National Book Award-winning novelist Edwidge Danticat to be included in her Haiti Noir anthology. A lyrical novel, Drifting explores the lives of Haitian families aspiring to escape hardship and an earthquake’s devastation. The novel is set before, during, and after the catastrophic 2010 earthquake in Haiti and takes readers from Haiti to the United States and back.
“Drifting is a remarkable debut by a phenomenal writer,” writes Danticat, who is also the acclaimed author of the 2013 release Claire of the Sea Light. “[T]his sublime and powerful book allows us to experience the joys and tragedies of ordinary and extraordinary lives, in small neighborhoods and big cities, in the present and the past. Katia D. Ulysse’s talent soarshigher and higher to expand both our hearts and our universe.”
Ulysse’s characters are everyday people: a ruthless entrepreneur who ferries peasants out of the countryside, promising them a better life in Port-au-Prince; the office worker who learns that the amount of money and time off she receives depend on her boss’s definition of family; a mother of three who is desperate to leave Haiti to join the husband who left her behind; young girls who fall prey to a trusted schoolteacher who advises them to “work smart, not hard.” And readers meet the desperate elderly woman who seeks the help of a vodun priest to help “fix” her dying husband.
Madison Smartt Bell, finalist for the National Book Award for his novel about Haiti, All Soul’s Rising, writes, “Katia D. Ulysse…evok[es] the immigrant experience with delicacy, gravity, and pathos. Refreshing and arresting on the first read, this book will be remembered for a long time to come.”
Drifting is a universal tale. “Drifting is about people from nowhere and everywhere,” writes Ulysse. “The characters in these stories are fictional, but we know each one well.”
A native of Haiti, Ulysse writes in English and Haitian Creole. Her work has appeared in The Caribbean Writer, Meridian, Peregrine, Smartish Pace, and other publications. Her stories have been anthologized in MaComère, Butterfly’s Way, Haiti Noir, and other collections. In 2013, her first children’s book, Fabiola Can Count, was released.