Junot Díaz

Auditorium Speaker Series
Date: Sunday, February 11, 2018 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
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Junot Díaz

Junot Díaz is the author of the critically acclaimed Drown; The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and This Is How You Lose Her, a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist. By self-admission, Díaz is an agonizingly slow writer and a chronic procrastinator. He once spent five years working on a 15-page story. But he has said, "In my view, a writer is a writer because even when there is no hope, even when nothing you do shows any sign of promise, you keep writing anyway."

Islandborn is Díaz’ first work of fiction for young readers, a picture book illustrated by Leo Espinosa, scheduled for release in February 2018. Little Lola is asked to draw a picture of her home country for school. To help with her assignment, she asks her family, friends, and neighbors for their recollections of the Island. What emerges is a stunning portrait of a place that Lola once called home, and the magic that comes when culture, tradition, and stories are passed down and shared. The book offers a diverse portrait of characters who have migrated to New York from all around the world, and shows the importance of community as they support each other, and their respective cultures.

Junot Díaz was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey. He serves on the board of advisers for Freedom University, a volunteer organization in Georgia that provides post-secondary instruction to undocumented immigrants. An immigrant himself, this is a topic he is very passionate about, and one he considers very timely.

A graduate of Rutgers University, Díaz is currently the fiction editor at Boston Review, and the Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor of Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Penguin Young Readers