SPEAKING THROUGH an interpreter, but occasionally switching into broken English, Haitian writer Dany Laferriere, whose novel "How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired" is now a movie, is an animated, witty and amiable man. But he's incensed at the American newspapers across the country, who have censored "Negro's" English-language title from paid advertisements ("Le titre est ironique!"), but have retained the French.
Laferriere, 37, is also not happy with the "bourgeois" literary establishment in Haiti, which has not received his sexually satirical novel with open arms.
The novel, his first, is about "sex in a political perspective -- why, for instance, a black man cannot talk to a white woman but can make love to her . . . . In 'Bonfire of the Vanities,' Tom Wolfe says prison is where people of different classes meet. For me, it's sex."
Once a journalist under the Jean-Claude Duvalier regime, he fled, ultimately to Canada, in 1976 after a close friend and partner was killed. He has lived in Quebec ever since, working his way up the social scale from factory worker to TV journalist.
When Laferriere was a TV weatherman (the first black newsroom personality in French-speaking Canada, he claims), "I never give the weather until at the end and then I say, 'Ah yes, tomorrow nice day.' "
Once, he swears, he did the weather in the nude, and yes, there were letters.
He's just completed a script called "Ziggy's Going to Get It," a story about a Jamaican grandmother and her three granddaughters who come to live in America, and may direct it. Laferriere's ability to provoke, however, seems to be a regular thing: His recently completed second novel "Heroshima" is about a union between a black and a Japanese.
"I love colors," he says in English. "But now the title is a problem in Tokyo. They have protested."