Electric Literature is pleased to reveal the cover for the essay collection We’re Alone by Edwidge Danticat, which will be published by Graywolf Press on Sep. 3, 2024. Preorder the book here.
Tracing a loose arc from Edwidge Danticat’s childhood to the COVID-19 pandemic and recent events in Haiti, the essays gathered in We’re Alone include personal narrative, reportage, and tributes to mentors and heroes such as Toni Morrison, Paule Marshall, Gabriel García Márquez, and James Baldwin that explore several abiding themes: environmental catastrophe, the traumas of colonialism, motherhood, and the complexities of resilience. From hurricanes to political violence, from her days as a new student at a Brooklyn elementary school knowing little English to her account of a shooting hoax at a Miami mall, Danticat has an extraordinary ability to move from the personal to the global and back again. Throughout, literature and art prove to be her reliable companions and guides in both tragedies and triumphs. Danticat is an irresistible presence on the page: full of heart, outrage, humor, clear thinking, and moral questioning, while reminding us of the possibilities of community. And so “we’re alone” is both a fearsome admission and an intimate invitation—we’re alone now, we can talk. We’re Alone is a book that asks us to think through some of the world’s intractable problems while deepening our understanding of one of the most significant novelists at work today.
Here is the cover, designed by Jeenee Lee, photograph by Widline Cadet.
Author Edwidge Danticat: “In 2021, I wrote a short essay about a series of photographs by the Haitian photographer Widline Cadet. Usually, when I write about photographs, I paste them to the wall across from my desk so that I’m always looking at them, even as I am working on other things. After the essay was published, Widline’s pictures remained on my office wall for a long time, especially the cover photograph ‘Seremoni Disparisyon #1 (Ritual [Dis]Appearance #1)’ (2019).
As I was working on this book, reworking some older essays and writing some new ones, I kept looking at this picture, hoping it might be the book’s cover one day. There is a lot of water in the book, from the Middle Passage to Miami hurricane flooding to a sea barge that carried toxic waste from Philadelphia all over the world and then dumped part of its dangerous cargo on a beach in Gonaïves, Haiti, in 1988. I couldn’t think of a better image for the cover of this book. The title of the collection is captured so well by this cover. The plurality of we, of course, negates aloneness. We might be alone, but at least we’re alone together. The photographs within the photograph are also a great reminder that even in our aloneness, there might be a few items, including some treasured amulets and, if we’re incredibly fortunate, other memory-evoking items, such as books and photographs, to keep us company.”
Designer Jeenee Lee: “The author chose an image by Widline Cadet that perfectly aligned with her book: a woman standing in still water, looking at pictures of youth, on a gray day. There is mystery, contemplation, and stories to be told. Alone, yet not alone. The visual artist Cadet is originally from Haiti, currently living in Los Angeles. My goal was to make the cover design reflective and minimal. The title is large and fills the sky, instead of being small and isolated. Even when you are by yourself, you carry your ancestors and your history with you, always.”
Read the original article here