Elsie Augustave was born in Haiti and is a graduate of Middlebury College and Howard University with degrees in foreign language and literature. Her dedication to excellence in her field has been acknowledged through numerous international grants for continued studies allowing her to pursue her passion for culture in Senegal and France as a Fulbright Scholar. Among her many accomplishments, Augustave choreographed Elima Ngando, a major production for the prestigious National Dance Theater of Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo. Augustave currently teaches French and Spanish at the renowned Stuyvesant High School in New York City, and is also a consultant for the College Board.
The Roving Tree is Augustave’s debut novel. On how the novel was born she says, “While I was living in Paris many years ago, I finally found enough courage to attempt to write a novel- a dream that had been mine for a very long time. I gathered journals, notes and poems I had written over the years in an effort to synthesize my thoughts but could not help focusing on the two months I spent in Haiti with a graduate summer research grant from Howard University that took me all over the country to study folk culture and the vaudou religion for my thesis. Looking at a sea of rooftops from the window of my small 5th arrondissement studio apartment on a cold, grey and misty day, I made up my mind to further investigate Haitian traditional beliefs in a novel form. I also recalled hearing that the daughter of a woman who worked for my grandmother had been adopted by a French missionary couple and could not help wondering what her life might have become in a foreign land, away from everything that she had known. With those thoughts in mind The Roving Tree came to life in my head and, as I began to write, characters appeared to tell their stories.”