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.

Book and Author Headlines

BEA preview: 22,000 'bookies' set to place bets on authors in NYC, June 5-7: A preview of the 2012 BookExpo America publishing trade convention.

Meghan McCain rocks the party boat, but passes the 'purity test': The daughter of Senator John McCain, the 2008 Republican Party candidate for U.S. President, and MSNBC cable TV political paid contributor Meghan McCain stumps for her book at the Miami Book Fair International.

Dorothy Allison takes the world on her shoulders and moves it: Award-winning novelist, poet, speaker, and activist Dorothy Allison takes a stand for justice, truth, and balance in the universe at the 2011 Miami Book Fair International to promote the 20th Anniversary Edition of her classic, 'Bastard Out Of Carolina.'

Sylvia Nasar wins LA Times Prize for 'Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius': Appearing at the 2011 National Book Festival, Sylvia Nasar shows why she won the LA Times Science & Technology book prize for 'Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius'

Maya Jasanoff takes home the NBCC Award for 'Liberty's Exiles': Appearing at the 2011 National Book Festival, Maya Jasanoff presents her award-winning book, 'Liberty's Exiles.'

Nell Irvin Painter and Randall Kennedy survey racial landscapes of black and white America: Two of America's leading African American scholars take stock of 'whiteness' and black politics in the Obama era of America.

Anne Enright strikes a chord for her father in 'The Forgotten Waltz': Booker Prize winning author Anne Enright presents 'The Forgotten Waltz' at BEA 2011.

James Gleick unlocks the history of how we know what we know in 'The Information': Bestselling science and biography author James Gleick, twice short-listed for the Pulitzer Prize, reveals the history, theories, and resulting flood of information that informs our daily lives in his new book, 'The Information.'

Sarah Vowell laments the 'Unfamiliar Fishes' on Hawaiian plate lunches: Author, journalist, and former contributing editor to Public Radio International's 'This American Life,' Sarah Vowell takes a look at Hawaiian history and modern life where the lunch plates have 'Unfamiliar Fishes' and even banyan trees are invading imperialists.

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