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- The dictionary doesn’t have individual contributions. It’s like building a cathedral. The workers are unknown. But one of the things I tend to do is suggest that it might be interesting to have examples of things that aren’t from France. If it’s a wind, which we worked on recently, does it always have to be the mistral? What about the winds of elsewhere? How about zephyrs or siroccos? In French, there exists an enormous variety of classifications, proverbs, and witticisms about winds. There are winds that push ships as well as winds that come from the gut—the noisy, bodily winds of Rabelais. All shadings have to be in the dictionary.
- On working on a French-language dictionary as part his duties at the Académie française in “Dany Laferrière, The Art of Fiction No. 237” in The Paris Review (Fall 2017)
- How I began to write is different than how I became a writer. They are two different things. Many people write but they do not become writers. To become a writer is a job. It involves planning and it affects all parts of your life. Even what you eat—being a writer means not eating food with too much rich sauce to avoid taking a long afternoon nap! It’s like being a professional athlete. And a writer must choose between being a sprinter who writes a book, and being a writer who creates an oeuvre. If you want to create an oeuvre, you have to be careful not to put all your energy into the first book. You have to have a vision for the long term...
- On how he became a writer in “An Interview with Dany Laferrière” (WWB Daily, 2016)
- They were human beings who had a life, who had a lineage, who had parents, who had children, who had lives. They were not poor or rich. They were people and these people had humanity. So it was important that someone who knew them write about the event…
- On reporting about the 2010 earthquake in Haiti in “An Interview with Dany Laferrière” (WWB Daily, 2016)
- It's not often you see your city falling down in front of your eyes. People are screaming in pain all around you. Children are running in the streets. Some people start talking about the end of the world. But writing, for me, was as important as taking care of the injured.
- On writing immediately after the 2010 earthquake in “Dany Laferrière: a life in books” in The Guardian (2013 Feb 1)