Junot Diaz, the author of one of my favorite books of the last decade, the Pulitzer prize-winning The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, is having a pretty fabulous October! On Wednesday October 10th, his latest book, This Is How You Lose Her, was nominated for the National Book Award in the Best Novel category. Diaz is currently a professor in the humanities school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, MA.
The week before the National Book Award nomination was announced, Diaz, 43, was awarded a $500,000 McArthur Fellowship, an award which is commonly known as the "genius grant." Here's an excerpt from the MacArthur website describing The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao:
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007), Diaz’s first novel, follows three generations of a family living in both the Dominican Republic and the United States. Through the striking voice of the narrator—a mix of Spanish, English, and street slang with myriad literary and popular culture references—Díaz approaches the complicated and troubled history of the Dominican Republic with humor and irony while also tracing the legacy of the violent Trujillo regime, both for those who lived through it and those who left. In these book-length works and numerous other short stories and essays, Díaz composes vivid narratives that capture the texture of day-to-day survival and draw readers into the various and distinct worlds that immigrants must straddle.
Congratulations, Professor Diaz!