Junot Diaz: JOO-no DEE-as
A graduate of Rutgers College, Junot Diaz is the author of Drown and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao which won the John Sargent Sr. First Novel Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the 2008 Pulitzer Prize. His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, African Voices, Best American Short Stories (1996, 1997, 1999, 2000), in Pushcart Prize XXII and in The O'Henry Prize Stories 2009.
He has received a Eugene McDermott Award, a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, a Lila Acheson Wallace Readers Digest Award, the 2002 Pen/Malamud Award, the 2003 US-Japan Creative Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is the fiction editor at the Boston Review and the Rudge (1948) and Nancy Allen professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
He is the cofounder of Voices of Our Nation Workshop.
This biography was last updated on 09/22/2012.
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In the video below, Junot Díaz eloquently explains why he enjoys writing about his character Yunior in This Is How You Lose Her; and in the following written interview, he discusses his first book, Drown, and his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.
(see also BookBrowse's blog for more about Junot Diaz)
Junot Diaz discusses his first two books, Drown and the The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
How has your life changed since the publication of Drown a decade
ago? Was the sudden acclaim energizing or disorienting?
We're talking eleven years (to be exact), so of course one's life is bound to change plenty. But Drown acted like an accelerant, it put things into overdrive. To be honest, in real terms, the publication of my first book really didn't produce much acclaim. I was known among the story-writing nerds and the MFA types and the New Yorker crowd (whoever they are) and in certain sectors of the Dominican community, but that was about it. Still, even that little bit of "fame" was a lot for an anonymous immigrant kid from central Jersey who'd worked his way through school. As for its real effects: I sure wasn't ready for that kind of ...
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