The New Haitian Generation: Meet MJ Fievre, Krystel Kanzki, and Yamile Stitt
Welcome to the New Haitian Generation! The show shines a spotlight on successful Haitian Americans in our community. The series explores the people, history and culture of the Haitian community and invites viewers to learn about the contributions of Haitian Americans.
For today's episode, we sat down with some of the Haitian authors who attended the Miami Book Fair last fall.
Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, M.J. Fievre moved to the United States in 2002. She currently writes from Miami.
M.J.’s publishing career began as a teenager in Haiti. At nineteen years-old, she signed her first book contract with Hachette-Deschamps, in Haiti, for the publication of a Young Adult book titled La Statuette Maléfique. Since then, M.J. has authored nine books in French that are widely read in Europe and the French Antilles. In 2013, One Moore Book released M.J.’s first children’s book, I Am Riding, written in three languages: English, French, and Haitian Creole. In 2015, Beating Windward Press published M.J.’s memoir, A Sky the Color of Chaos, about her childhood in Haiti during the brutal regime of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
M.J. Fievre is the author of Happy, Okay? Poems about Anxiety, Depression, Hope, and Survival (Books & Books Press, 2019) and Badass Black Girl: Questions, Quotes, and Affirmations for Teens (Mango Publishing, 2020). She helps others write their way through trauma, build community and create social change. She works with veterans, disenfranchised youth, cancer patients and survivors, victims of domestic and sexual violence, minorities, the elderly, those with chronic illness or going through transition and any underserved population in need of writing as a form of therapy—even if they don’t realize that they need writing or therapy.
A long-time educator and frequent keynote speaker (Tufts University, Massachusetts; Howard University, Washington, D.C.; the University of Miami, Florida; and Michael College, Vermont; and a panelist at the Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference, AWP), M.J. is available for book club meetings, podcast presentations, interviews and other author events.
Krystel A. Kanzki was born and raised in Haiti. She became a CPA after graduating from Georgetown University with an accounting and marketing degree. She started her career as a financial auditor at KPMG and is now an entrepreneur, the CFO of her family’s insurance business, and teaches continuing education courses for entrepreneurs and professionals. La Petit Petra: Haiti Discovery Series (Krystel A. Kanzki) is capturing the hearts of children all over the world! This new children’s book collection is here to empower and inspire bilingual children who are learning how to read. In addition to the innovative approach to support inexperienced French readers, La Petite Pétra helps Haitian descendants connect to their roots. La Petite Pétra was inspired by the author’s desire to support her children, who were learning how to read in French, by creating a level 1 book. Through these stories, the author shares keys to a successful mindset, including the importance of perseverance and positive reinforcement, among other lessons. The La Petite Pétra books are short, which allows kids to stay engaged and get to the end of each book in one sitting.
Born in Port-au-Prince, Yamile Stitt studied abroad, in Europe and the United States. She returned to the islands for a while—Haiti and the Dominican Republic—but Florida has been “home” to her and her family for decades. Today, with her children grown and raising families of their own, she balances life as an interpreter and a writer. Writing has been her childhood dream and lifelong passion: “I was always an avid reader. My fondest childhood memories in Haiti take me back to blissful times of solitude with my favorite books. The summer of my eleventh birthday, with my special Parker fountain pen, I wrote my first ‘novel’ on a student notebook, full of ink stains and erasures.” A closet writer for years, with stacks of poems and short stories in her personal files, Yamile Stitt is the author of Memories in Technicolor, a coming-of-age novel set against the colorful backdrop of tumultuous and profound times on the world stage.