Junot Díaz was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Drown; The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and This Is How You Lose Her, a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist. He is the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, PEN/Malamud Award, Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Guggenheim Fellowship, and PEN/O. Henry Award. A graduate of Rutgers College, Díaz is currently the fiction editor at Boston Review and the Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor of Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Why I write
Because I can’t seem to escape it. It’s a way for me to address and counter my questions about what it means to be human, or, in my case a Dominican human who grew up in New Jersey.
Do you write every day? If so, how many hours?
I try to. Only a few. You know, two, three.
Worst source of distraction?
Hanging out. I’m one of those motherfuckers who can just hang out all day.
Best source of inspiration?
How often do you get writer’s block/doubt your own ability?
That’s my standard condition.
Oh man, I’ve got a ton of them. I guess my favorite novel right now is Samuel R. Delaney’s Dalgren. I think it’s one of the greatest science fiction novels of all time.
I would say Octavia Butler.
The book you should have read but haven’t?
Probably Turn of the Screw.
You look back at the first thing you had published and think…
I wish I could write like that more often.