Ducarmel Alcius : “Opening oneself is also to have the possibility of forming other cultures”

Ducarmel Alcius, young Haitian writer

Ducarmel Alcius is one of the twelve winners of the 34th Prix du Jeune Écrivain de Langue Française (French language Young Writer Prize), this famous literary contest dedicated to young people aged 15 to 27, whose results were announced last september. This 20-year-old haitian who grew in Petit-Goâve appealed to the panel of judges (that received for this edition 766 manuscripts from 47 countries) with his short story titled “Les Petits Êtres de l’Ombre” (The Little Beings of the Shadow) which deals with a delicate theme : child prostitution.

This young and talented writer confided to Kariculture.net his first impressions.


Kariculture.net : What was your reaction when you heard that you are one of the lucky winners of the Prix du Jeune Écrivain de Langue Française ?

Ducarmel Alcius : The Prix du Jeune Écrivain de Langue Francaise for a Haitian is a first step. I was surprised. To be honest, I did not expect it. This is a prestigious prize for a young writer who is just starting out. Opening oneself is also to have the possibility of forming other cultures, other points of view on the world that could complete one’s own. Before, I had locked myself in a cocoon, a womb, in the comfort of myself, without thinking of the other. But, the other is so full of life… I say the other, that means all the men, humanity. I ended up understanding that you have to go toward the other to write. And, this prize allowed me to do that.

Kariculture.net : What encouraged you to participate in the literary contest?

Ducarmel Alcius : I had two texts in my hand. A first that cost me a lot of energy. And, “Les Petits Êtres de l’Ombre” that came to me like death, like love, like a mystery. This mystery is perhaps something repressed in my insconcient, history. And then it crossed my mind that I had to send the text to the PJE. The text is chosen. Now, I am analyzing my own text, I must admit.

Kariculture.net : What is the subject of your short story ? And why did you choose this theme?

Ducarmel Alcius : Juvenile prostitution. Little shadow beings, young prostitutes who live in the shadows, who rent rooms in the area. Sometimes the mother of the child rented her hut to a group of prostitutes. She does not spend her nights with her daughter. The latter experiences the cold of the night with her cousin. There will be incest. Soualé will have a sexual relation with her cousin who is in the process of discovering herself. After this discovery of herself, she will discover, after an altercation between the child’s mother and her nephew who tried to rape her, the lies of the world. It’s like a double discovery.

Like the child, I am in a discovery. I discover, very late, why I wrote “Les Petits Êtres de l’Ombre”. It was repressed in my subconscious. Some political parameters require young people to make choices that, at the risk of their lives, can keep them for a short time. Behind the work, I see this intention.

Kariculture.net : How long have you been writing? Writing of short stories, is it a passion for you?

Ducarmel Alcius : I am young. Having said this, this frenzy for writing, to confess what upsets the bile, the acidic boiling which is on the stomach, did not start for a long time. I had started with poetry. In 2015, I started to write short stories during a writing residency in the House of Writers (PEN-HAITI). At the time, the Georges Anglade house (writers’ house) was under the presidency of writer Jean Euphele Milcé. I write short stories to get some fresh air. The short story is a window to breathe. I am working on a novel. It is possible that a collection of short stories is published before the novel. Because it is a documentary work that I am doing at the same time as I am writing the novel. But, I like the short story. It does not let you breathe. But, the novel is the most adapted ground to tell with many documentations.

Kariculture.net : Do you think about turning this hobby – writing – into your future profession?

Ducarmel Alcius : The writer does not earn his living only by books. He lives on bread. Can writing bring me enough to live on if I have a home to manage? In Haiti, it’s difficult. To make writing a profession implicitly tells me that there is a way to be a writer and the writer can be contacted to deal with this or that problem, to intervene in this or that situation. The house is on fire, you call a firefighter. There is an altercation, you call a judge and you will need a lawyer. There is a moment when one is a writer: during writing. After this time, it is a father who defends the bread of the home, who must support himself, who can commit an offence and go to jail, it is a young man who frequents brothels.

Kariculture.net : Now, what are you doing in everyday life ?

Ducarmel Alcius : I write. I have just joined a theatrical structure (K-part) with Jean Marc Édouard, actor and director, and Marie-Maxline Saintil, actress. We are waiting for the fruits of work. It’s hard to say you are an unemployed person. I did not ignore the possibilities of reading and writing to distinguish myself from this concept. I try to find a job in the newspapers, I hope it does not bother me in my writing projects.

Ducarmel Alcius