Join us for a online conversation with haïtian authors James Noël and Henry Roy and moderated by Dr. Eliana Văgălău (Loyola University Chicago) on the topic of poetic language as an investigative tool, a means of resistance, and a space for utopian thought.
Their work, anchored in the immediacy of current issues and debates, pushes us to consider them from a transhistorical and transnational perspective, thus broadening and elevating the discourse beyond the platitudes offered by mainstream or social media. The conversation will include questions about the contemporary French cultural environment, its reception of Black artists, Noël and Roy’s respective relationships with Haiti and belonging, as well as about their use of different genres and media. It will also interrogate the value of collective action based on Noël’s experience as editor of IntranQu’îllités, a literary and art review gathering over 180 international writers and visual artists per issue, and to which Roy has been a regular contributor.
The conversation will take place on Zoom, in French, and with English interpretation/closed captioning. This event is organized by the Modern Languages and Literatures Department of Loyola University Chicago co-sponsored by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in Chicago and in partnership with the Alliance française de Chicago.
Born in Haiti in 1978, James Noël is a poet, novelist, and the editor-in-chief of the literary and art magazine IntranQu’îllités. He is a former resident of the Villa Medicis and was named Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French government. James Noël writes in order to empty his body of all words, to move forward and become lighter than paper. He has written a dozen books, including Le sang visible du vitrier [Seeing the Glass Cutter’s Blood] (Vents d’Ailleurs), Des Poings chauffés à blanc [White Hot Fists] (Bruno Doucey), and Kana Sutra (Vents d’Ailleurs), a collection of positions on a diversity of topics.
Noël’s texts have been set to music by the likes of Wooly Saint-Jean, James Germain, Robenson Auguste, and Tamara Suffren. They have been performed by Pierre Brisson and the famous singer-entertainer Arthur H., in a show called L’Or Noir [Black Gold].
His first novel, Belle merveille, Ed. Zulma, was awarded the Grand Prize of the Internationaler Literaturpreis, Berlin 2020. His latest volume of poetry, Brexit, was published by Au Diable Vauvert and is to appear in 2021 in its English translation. Roaming from meridian to meridian, James Noël spends his time traveling the Earth, grounding himself in his passion for literature.
Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Henry Roy is a photographer and writer. He emigrated to France with his family when he was three years old for political reasons. He studied photography in Paris, after which he worked as a photojournalist and published, in 1996, a book of black-and-white studio portraits of Black personalities from different backgrounds, titled Regards Noirs (Dagorno & L’Harmattan).
Henry Roy uses intuition to trace his quest for identity in our world. His vision is the result of a blend of reminiscence, fantasy, and sensations captured throughout his daily life, in an animistic relationship with his environment. Henry Roy has continued this dreamy poetic journal for several decades as a sensorial and mental biography. His work was displayed in exhibitions in Paris, London, New-York, Maastricht, Arnhem, Tokyo, Taipei, Hong Kong, Zürich, and he published numerous portraits, lifestyle series, and personal texts in international magazines such as Vogue Paris, Purple Journal, Purple Fashion, Air France Magazine, AD, W Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar UK, Artreview, M Le Monde, L’Officiel Voyage, Apartamento, Hobo, and IntranQu’îllités, to name a few. His work has inspired other artists, such as American film director Barry Jenkins, director of Moonlight, while Superstition was among the New York Times‘ best photography books of 2017.
He published 5 individual photography books, edited many other publications, and curated art events and exhibitions. He also taught photography in Paris and Haiti. He lives and works mostly in Paris.