Professor Thomas Spear Honored with the ‘Gardien du Livre’ Prize

Franck Helmcke presenting Professor Thomas Spear (l.) with the Gardien du Livre prizefor his work promoting Haitian literature. Professor Spear was one of three to receive the award.

Professor. Thomas Spear of the French Program at CUNY Graduate Center was honored in June 2016 at the annual Livres en Folie book festival, held in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, with the Gardien du Livre—or “Keeper of the Books”—prize for his work promoting Haitian literature. He was one of three recipients of the award.

“This is the first time that the prize was given to someone who is non-Haitian, so it was a complete surprise and quite an honor for me,” says Spear, a scholar of Haitian and Francophone literature and the founder and curator of the award-winning website,
île en île .

Spear was initially invited to the Festival to speak at the Bibliothèque Nationale of Haiti’s special daylong program, devoted to the works of Marie Vieux-Chauvet. The Festival and the program were dedicated to the works of the great Haitian author in honor of the centennial of her birth. Chauvet is best known for her trilogy, Love, Anger, Madness, a masterpiece of world literature that presents the horror of the Duvalier dictatorship through fiction.

In January, Spear penned an article on Marie Chauvet in a special issue of Yale French Studies, where he traces the complicated publishing history of the author’s works and the silence that surrounds it. In addition, he published a text in a new book, titled En amour de Marie, which includes testimony from Haitian authors and scholars. The book was released just in time for the Livres en Folie festival and the Chauvet centennial.

For more about Professor Spear's award and publications:

Submitted on: FEB 10, 2017

Category: French