Chancy, Myriam J.A. – What Storm, What Thunder

What Storm, What Thunder by Myriam J.A. Chancy (Tin House 2021), tells the story of a neighborhood in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Characters express their thoughts and struggles, remembering before and after the devastating earthquake that took place on January 12, 2010. It was a magnitude 7.0 earthquake that killed over 200,000 and displaced millions. Ma Lou dreams of her long-gone husband while selling eggs in the marketplace and is surprised to survive. Sara is haunted by the ghosts of her children and her husband leaves because he can’t live with the pain, while the ghost of their son haunts them both. Sonia and her business partner vow to protect each other while they’re both selling themselves to wealthy tourists. The earthquake happened just after they leave the hotel, but Leopold gets stuck in an elevator and is almost buried alive. The earthquake took place at the end of a boiling day, and everyone is somehow affected. Professor Chancy shares the interwoven stories of a broken community.

Myriam J. A. Chancy is a Guggenheim Fellow and HBA Chair of the Humanities at Scripps College. She earned her B.A. in English and Philosophy at the University of Manitoba, an MA in English Literature at Dalhousie University, and a Ph.D. in English at the University of Iowa. She is author of The Loneliness of Angels (Peepal Tree Press 2010) which won the Guyana Prize in Literature Caribbean Award for Best Fiction and was shortlisted in the fiction category for the 2011 OCM Bocas Prize in Caribbean Literature. Her second novel, The Scorpion’s Claw (Peepal Tree Press 2005), also received critical praise. And Spirit of Haiti (Mango Publications, London 2003), her first novel, was shortlisted as a Best First Book for the 2004 Commonwealth Prize in the Canada/Caribbean region. She has authored several academic books, including, Framing Silence: Revolutionary Novels by Haitian Women (Rutgers UP 1997) & From Sugar to Revolution: Women’s Visions of Haiti, Cuba and the Dominican Republic (Wilfred Laurier Press 2013).

 Dr. Chancy’s three novels are taught in universities and schools in the US, Canada and the Caribbean. The Loneliness of Angels was translated into Spanish (LaSiren Press, Colombia 2020) and into Danish (Rebel with A Cause Press, Denmark 2019). A frequently invited guest speaker nationally and internationally, delivering talks and creative readings about Caribbean, Haitian and social justice issues, Dr. Chancy has served as an expert panelist and reviewer for the NEH, the Prince Claus Fund, and continues to serve as an expert reviewer for professional journals, university presses and tenure/promotion reviews nationally.  When she is not writing and researching, she loves watching films and spending time in the kitchen: she enjoys reading cookbooks as much as novels.