Author News and Book Reports
Junot Diaz takes 'possibly the stupidest' road to success in life--living his own dream
Winner of the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award, and the 2008 Pulitzer Prize, just to name two among many other literary awards, and currently the Nancy Allen Professor of Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Junot Diaz made a rare public appearance at the 2009 National Book Festival, ostensibly to promote his widely acclaimed, award-winning, first and to date only published novel, The Brief, Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao two years after it's original hardcover publication in 2007. We have held the video of the event since that time in our vault in anticipation of the oft-rumored new book on the way. Now, five years after the publication of his first novel and fifteen years after his first book of short stories, Drown, with rumors swirling every year that another was soon forthcoming, it has finally been officially announced that Junot Diaz is indeed publishing a second collection of stories this fall called This Is How You Lose Her (Riverhead/Penguin; September, 2012) and will appear at an author's breakfast at the BookExpo America publishing trade show June 5th to give booksellers a taste of what's to come, prompting us at last to produce the videos from the 2009 National Book Festival. The Dominican-born author wasted little time talking specifically about his books in any event, focusing instead on his perspective on art and the challenges of becoming not just a writer but an artist, beginning and ending his formal presentation with recollections of the challenges he faced, being from a family of modest means, with the decision to live his own dream and become a writer against his parents wishes and in spite of the hardships he endured, even wondering if it was 'possibly the stupidest' choice he could have made for fifteen years before he finally found success. Taking questions from the audience, reflected on the artistic value of his extensive use of metaphors and contextual references versus the stripped-down, Hemingway style of writing often taught in creative writing programs; given its cultural and political references, the difficulties of translating The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao into, say, Korean; the Caribbean rhythmic structures in his work; the relationship between artists and their audiences, which he described as 'the ultimate faith-based initiative'; the sometimes romantic, oftentimes adversarial relationship of the English and Spanish languages in America; male and female sexuality in The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao; and his next novel, use of history and footnotes in The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao. Stay tuned this fall for more on Junot Diaz's long-awaited second collection of short stories, This Is How You Lose Her.