“Honour and respect, ladies and gentlemen! The Haitian storyteller, actor and writer, Mimi Barthélémy has left us, to tell her stories on the other side. Barthélémy passed away in Paris on April 27 at the age of 73.” – April 30 edition of Le Monde
Born in Haiti (Port-au-Prince, May 3, 1939), Mimi Barthélémy pursued her higher education in France and has lived in Latin America, Sri Lanka, and North Africa. Her trajectory towards storytelling began while living abroad, while exploring her identity as a Haitian woman living overseas. This led her to get to know the Haitian community in France, and also to undertake extensive vocal work, which she uses to express her memories. In the late 1980s, Barthélémy wrote and told stories, alone or with musicians, in cultural centers, libraries, apartments, prisons, and hospitals. With a desire to create a space for storytelling, she hosted “Le Petit Contoire” (Cité Veron) in 1987, where she delighted Parisian audiences with prestigious storytellers. In 1989 the 3rd Festival d’Acteurs d’Evry awarded her the Becker d’Or for “La reine des poissons,” which was discovered at the Avignon festival in 1987, and in 1992 she receivedthe Arletty de l’Universalité de la Langue Française for “La dernière lettre de l’amiral.”
She has also created and presented shows in theaters that reflect the two main aspects of her research: The links between theatrical writing and orality, and the connections between personal stories, history, and fiction. These themes were explored in works such as “La cocarde d’ébène” (1989), “Soldats-Marrons” (1989), “La dernière lettre de l’amiral” (1992), “Caribana” (1999), “Une très belle mort” (2000), and “Jeux de cailloux” (2003). Her interest in the Haitian tradition of storytelling through song led her to create a new type of musical storytelling with “L’oranger magique” (1985), “La reine des poissons” (1987), “Tendez chanter l’amour” (1995), and “Voyage en papillon.” She performs at a range of festivals and book fairs in France, Haiti, and worldwide. She has also served on several juries for short story awards. In 2000, she received the rank of Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite, and in 2001, the rank of Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
Biography’s excerpt from www.mimibarthelemy.com