Speaker was part of past seminar. (Click for upcoming Speakers)

Junot Díaz

Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Díaz was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He is the author of the novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and the short-story collections Drown and This is How You Lose Her. The New York Times has described his work as being “defined by radical inclusiveness—the language of drug dealers and Tolkien dorks; the problems of destitute Dominican women and their more privileged American sons.”

Through use of raw, unsentimental prose, Díaz’s deeply nuanced short stories grapple with the realities of intergenerational trauma and cultural inheritance. His work features characters who have been altered by the violent regime of Dominican dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo. “To be a true witness to who we are as a people and to what has happened to us,” Díaz told fellow Caribbean author Edwidge Danticat in a 2007 interview in Bomb Magazine. “That is the essential challenge for the Caribbean nations—who … have been annihilated by history and yet who’ve managed to put themselves together in an amazing way.”

Díaz was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. This Is How You Lose Her was a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist. He is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, PEN/Malamud Award, Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Guggenheim Fellowship, and PEN/O. Henry Award. A graduate of Rutgers College, Díaz is currently the fiction editor at Boston Review and the Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor of Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the cofounder of Voices of Our Nation Workshop, a multi-genre program dedicated to writers of color.

Bibliography

This is How You Lose Her (2012)
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007)
Drown (1996)

Online Resources

Junot Díaz website
Díaz interviewed by Terry Gross for NPR
Díaz’s MFA vs. POC in the New Yorker
Voices of Our Nation Workshop