Author and Pulitzer Prize Winner Junot Díaz to Speak at Swarthmore College

Anita Pace

Author and Pulitzer Prize Winner Junot Díaz to Speak at Swarthmore College

by Anita Pace
11/4/2008

The William J. Cooper Foundation and the Intercultural Center and Department of English Literature at Swarthmore College to present a conversation with Junot Díaz entitled Negotiating Our "Other" Selves on Fri., Nov. 14, at 12:30 p.m. in the Lang Performing Arts Center Cinema. The event is free and open to the public.

Junot Díaz's fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and The Best American Short Stories. His first novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007), received glowing reviews, including from the book critic Michiko Kakutani of The New York Times, who called it "a book that decisively establishes him as one of contemporary fiction's most distinctive and irresistible new voices." Time magazine called it, "astoundingly great!" Oscar Wao was subsequently awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Critics Circle's Best Novel in 2007.

Although a work of fiction, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao draws heavily from Díaz' rough childhood in New Jersey and the Dominican Republic's experience under dictator Rafael Trujillo. The novel chronicles not just the "brief wondrous life of Oscar Wao," an overweight Dominican boy growing up in New Jersey and obsessed with science fiction, fantasy, and women, but also the curse of the "fukú" that has plagued Oscar's family for generations and the Caribbean since colonization and slavery.

His debut story collection Drown (1996) was also met with unprecedented acclaim. Born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey, Díaz lives in New York City and is a professor in the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Additional co-sponsors: Enlace, Class Awareness Month, and the Office for Multicultural Affairs.