Born poor in the Dominican Republic in 1968, Junot Díaz moved to the United States when he was 6 to join his father in an apartment that was less than a mile from one of the largest landfills in New Jersey. Later, to make ends meet, he worked a number of jobs: delivering pool tables, washing dishes, pumping gas, and working at a New Jersey steel company. But Toni Morrison and Sandra Cisneros helped change all that.
By the time Díaz attended Rutgers, he had become a writer. His autobiographically based short-story collection Drown appeared in 1996. His immigrant saga The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao appeared in 2007. And that’s when the recognition began big time: a National Book Critics Circle Award that year for that book; a Pulitzer the next year. Today, Díaz teaches at MIT.
Thanks to the support of Humanities Tennessee, Junot Díaz will be at the Germantown Performing Arts Centre on Thursday, April 8th, to read from The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and to answer your questions. The event is free. — Leonard Gill