Starting September 15 and lasting for 30 days, is Hispanic Heritage Month. Last week we looked at where and how Hispanic Heritage Month had come about. Over the next thirty days we’ll be looking at different heroes, both male and female, of Hispanic and Latin American descent.
This week, the ICC will be profiling the Pulitzer Prize winning author Junot Díaz. Díaz has written three books: Drown, The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and most recently This Is How You Lose Her. Drown and This is How You Lose her are both a novel in stories – the narrator for the short stories are the same person and the stories are somewhat tied together.
Junot Díaz was original born in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. He was the third born child in his family; with both two older and two younger siblings. He lived with his mother in the Dominican Republic for almost the first full decade of his life. His father immigrated to the United States ahead of his mother and siblings, in order to pave the way for the entire family. This of course caused a strain on the family, and it was very difficult for them even after they were re-united.
He writes about these difficulties, and some of the other stresses of coming to a new country as a child, in his semi-autobiographical Drown. Díaz’s books are fiction, though he has stated that many details and circumstances came from his own life experience.
Díaz says: “I didn’t become a writer the first time I put pen to paper or when I finished my first book (easy) or my second one (hard). You see, in my view a writer is a writer not because she writes well and easily, because she has amazing talent, because everything she does is golden. 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. Wasn’t until that night when I was faced with all those lousy pages that I realized, really realized, what it was exactly that I am.”
The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao took him approximately a decade to write.
You can learn more about Díaz by checking out these links:
- Junot Diaz
- How You Lose Her
- The Craft of Writing
- Junot-Diaz Talks About What Made Him Become a Writer