LINGCLIM: Language, climate and lifestyle

On Haiti, politics and literature in French: stories from the life of Emil Perron

Doctoral scholar Emil Perron's text about his time in the Caribbean country of Haiti is now available online for free. Haiti is a country full of artistic wealth and will to live, with a great literary heritage, but it is also a country that these days is going through great trials.

Port-au-Prince at sunset.
Emil Perron.

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Haiti is a wonderful and rich country that is close to the heart of PhD student Emil Perron. "It is a country where I have friends and it is a country that has meant a lot to me in my own development and life story; In 2010/2011 I did my French civil service in Haiti after the catastrophic earthquake on January 12, 2010", says Emil Perron.

It is nevertheless a country with a turbulent history that is sometimes difficult to fathom and understand.

Since Perron left Haiti in 2011, the country has experienced short, irregular periods of improvement. But in the main the situation has really worsened. Now the situation is worse than most thought would be possible: the country is going through a political crisis where over half of the population lives in food insecurity according to the World Food Programme, criminal and violent gangs control the capital and since 25 April 2024 the country is politically governed by a temporary presidential council until a new presidential election decides Haiti's next president.

For the publication of Tidsskriftet Røyst #19-20 Latin America in 2022, Emil Perron wrote a personal and difficult but important text about his experience in Haiti, the challenges of politics and the nourishing hope of literature.

In the autumn, Emil Perron will teach Haitian literature on the subject "FRAN123 French Literary Analysis" at the Department of Foreign Languages, UiB, focusing on the author Jacques Roumain, who wrote what would turn out to be my favorite novel with a story that takes place there Perron himself lived in a period of his life: Gouverneurs de la rosée ("Rulers of the Dew").

For Røyst #19-20, Perron also translated a poem by Jacques Roumain from French into Norwegian for the first time. He also contributed several photographs from his time in Haiti. Both the translation of the poem and the photographs can be found in the publication which you can obtain from Teksallmenningen in Markeveien 4B or online here.

Emil Perron's text from Røyst #19-20 is now freely available online. "I think it will be of interest to those of you who want to get a little insight into Haiti, both the challenges and the riches", says Perron. Good reading!

You are also most welcome to a lecture in the autumn.

Emil Perron's text is available for free in Norwegian here.