Junot Diaz 'waos' Miami with readings of 'Alma' and 'Wildwood'
With an introduction by Miami International Film Festival Director Jaie Laplante, Pulitzer Prize-winning, 2012 MacArthur Foundation Fellow, widely acclaimed Dominican-American author and Massachusetts Institute of Technology creative writing professor Junot Diaz took the stage at the 2012 Miami Book Fair International before an overflowing audience, many of whom had waited hours in line to get a seat in the large auditorium at Miami Dade College, and started with comments on the U.S. 2012 presidential election, congratulating Miami for finishing the voting count, followed by condemnation of the insufficient news coverage of the Hurricane Sandy disaster and a salute to immigrants present at the book event that night. Having connected personally, politically and culturally with his audience, Diaz gave a reading of Wildwood from his award-winning first (and to date, only) novel, The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao, a story originally published in the New Yorker literary magazine. Next, Diaz entertained an extensive, wide-ranging session of questions from the audience on the non-linear structure of his new collection of stories This Is How You Lose Her (Riverhead; September, 2012); the artistic necessity of what he calls 'unintelligibility' in great fiction; the significance of writing in the second person; the cultural relevance and pleasure he takes in the linguistic impurities of 'Spanglish'; the cultural conditioning of rape, violence and incest that prevents male writers from adequately portraying female voices in fiction; the American political system and the evils of hero worship; his reflections on the significance of Yunior, the main character threaded through all of his fiction, beginning with his first collection of stories, Drown; the author's art and purpose; and Dominican Republic literacy, culture and politics from Juan Bosch to Danilo Medina. Diaz wrapped his memorable Miami appearance with a reading of Alma from This is How You Lose Her.
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