edited by Adam Nemmers and Jeanne Jégousso
by Cléante D. Valcin
translated by Jeanne Jégousso
foreword by Myriam J. A. Chancy
Rutgers University Press, 2024
Cloth: 978-1-9788-3759-1 | Paper: 978-1-9788-3758-4 | eISBN: 978-1-9788-3761-4
Library of Congress Classification PQ3949.V36C78 2024
Dewey Decimal Classification 843.912

Cléante Desgraves Valcin (1891-1956) was a poet, writer, and feminist—most prominently Haiti’s first published female novelist, who employed her sentimental fiction to explore matters of race, gender, nationalism, and sovereignty. A contemporary of Harlem Renaissance writers such as Nella Larsen and Zora Neale Hurston, Valcin emerged as an influential writer and political figure among the Black Atlantic diaspora.  Now, for the first time, her two acclaimed novels are available in English translation. 
Cruel Destiny (1929) tells the tragic love story of Armand and Adeline, drawn together by a magnetic attraction, yet kept apart by a dark family secret. Depicting the heavy expectations placed upon women in Haiti’s elite society, it also explores the troubled and twisted relationships between the Haitians and their former colonial masters, the French. 
In The White Negress (1934), a Frenchwoman moves to Haiti and is torn between two very different men, a Black Haitian lawyer, and a white American carpetbagger. Putting a fresh spin on the tired tragic mulatta trope, Valcin reveals the racial prejudices, class tensions, and anti-colonial resentments of an island under American occupation. 
Together, these two novels expand our understanding of Caribbean literature, as well as the political struggles and artistic triumphs of Black women in the Americas.