From Oprah to The Otto M. Budig Theater, this year’s Freshman Book Connection author is making the rounds. Jean-Robert Cadet, author of “Restavec,” returned to a snowy Cincinnati last week from Chicago where he taped an interview with host Oprah Winfrey for her daytime talk show.
Cadet, who is also an adjunct professor at NKU teaching literature and African-American studies, is busy working with professionals to upgrade his Web site for the expected traffic surge after the interview airs. The air date has not yet been released.
Later this month, Cadet will share photos and stories from his December 2006 trip to Haiti. Originally scheduled for Feb. 7, “Haiti Revisited: A Photo Story with Jean-Robert Cadet,” was canceled due to last week’s heavy snowfall. The Office of First-Year Programs has rescheduled the event for Monday, Feb. 26, at noon in the Otto M. Budig Theater. Three presentations by the author given last October drew 1,500 participants.
Cadet’s memoir, “Restavec,” chronicles Cadet’s life in Haiti as a child slave and his climb to middle-class American life. The book’s title is a French term literally meaning “stay with” and refers to the ongoing practice of selling or sending the children of the Haitian poor into unpaid service of the wealthy. Restavecs are often abused or mistreated.
“Restavec,” touched a chord with NKU students this past fall through the Freshman Book Connection program, according to Peg Adams, interim director of the Office of First-Year Programs.
According to Adams, after setting up collection barrels, donations to Cadet’s Restavec Foundation began to pour in. “The students started bringing in summer clothes for children, toys, things that Jean-Robert said he needed for these kids.”
Cadet’s Restavec Foundation was formed in 2000 to provide clothing and other necessities to help the Haitian poor. Cadet visits Haiti four times a year to distribute the items.
Adams notes that the Freshman Service Leadership Committee is currently sponsoring another collection. In addition, NKU’s French Club held a bake sale last week and raised $115 for the foundation.