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Just a few words ...

Patti M. Marxsen is an essayist, biographer, independent scholar, and translator (FR>EN) whose writings have appeared in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. She is the author of two biographies, two essay collections, a collection of short fiction, and numerous articles and reviews related to visual art and Haitian literature.


As publications manager for the Boston Research Center for the 21st Century (Cambridge, MA)—now The Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning, and Dialogue—she developed multi-author books on global ethics and education aimed at the college market. Marxsen began to write full-time after moving to Switzerland in 2007, initially covering art exhibitions in Swiss museums for English-speaking expats before turning to essays and deeply-researched book projects. Her biography of Albert Schweitzer’s little-known wife Helene Schweitzer: A Life of Her Own (Syracuse University Press, 2015) was written in Switzerland and researched in Europe, the USA, and Gabon. Her stint as Guest Editor-in-Chief of the 2017 edition of Offshoots 14—Writing from Geneva capped a decade-long involvement with the Geneva Writers Group. In 2021, she returned to the coast of Maine where her professional writing life began in 1989 with a consultancy known as “The Write Woman.”


Marxsen’s books reflect her long-standing interest in the Francophone world, which has encompassed teaching French, extensive travel, and a decade-long association with Haiti’s Hôpital Albert Schweitzer (1997–2007). She has served on the board of the U.S.-based Haitian Studies Association (HSA) and presented papers at conferences of the Caribbean Studies Association and the HSA on key figures of modern Haitian literature: Edwidge Danticat, Yanick Lahens, Louis-Philippe Dalembert, and Jacques Roumain, among others. Roumain’s brief, dramatic life resulted in her second biography Jacques Roumain: A Life of Resistance, a book honored with the 2019 Haitian Studies Association Book Prize (Caribbean Studies Press, 2019). She has also translated Roumain’s writings, primarily in the Journal of Haitian Studies

Like her books on Helene Schweitzer and Jacques Roumain, Marxsen’s current work-in-progress is framed by a mid-twentieth century European vision of Africa through the filter of a complex subject: Karen Blixen. As a near-exact contemporary of Helene Schweitzer, Blixen faced similar challenges and recollected her experience of otherness in her famous memoir Out of Africa. If all goes well, Karen Blixen's Out of Africa: Memoir and the Art of Reinvention will find a publisher in 2024.  

Patti Marxsen's first calling card as The Write Woman, 1992.

Just a girl with a pen, c. 1992

Patti Marxsen reading from her biography of Helene Schweitzer in 2015.

Preaching to the choir in Boston, 2015

Patti Marxsen with English Bookshop Owner Matt Wake of BooksBooksBooks in Lausanne.

With Matt Wake in Lausanne

at BooksBooksBooks

Patti Marxsen and Claudine Michel at the 2017 Haitian Studies Asso Conference.

With my favorite editor-in-chief, Claudine Michel of the Journal of Haitian Studies


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