Honoring Latino Heritage

Junot Diaz
September 16, 2010

An evening with Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Diaz launches GW’s month-long celebration.

Acclaimed author Junot Diaz takes center stage at Betts Theatre Thursday night.

Mr. Diaz won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for his book The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and has been named one of the top 20 writers for the 21st century by The New Yorker.

“Junot Diaz’s novels are among the best, most innovative fiction being produced by any author of his generation,” says Derek Malone-France, executive director of the University Writing Program, which is co-sponsoring the address along with GW’s Multicultural Student Services Center (MSSC).

Dr. Malone-France says many GW professors employ Junot Diaz’s work in their classes and have studied it in their own research.

“We are very, very excited about having him speak at GW,” he says.

Mr. Diaz was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey. He is the author of Drown, a collection of short stories, as well as the novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and numerous works of short fiction. In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, his accolades include the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Eugene McDermott Award, a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation and the PEN/Malamud Award.

Mr. Diaz is currently the fiction editor at the Boston Review and the Rudge as well as the Nancy Allen Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The address, which will begin at 7 p.m., is free and open to the public. Mr. Diaz’s books will be on sale outside the theater, and he will sign copies after his address.

Mr. Diaz’s appearance launches the university’s annual Latino Heritage Celebration organized by MSSC.

The celebration, which will run until mid-October, comprises a dozen events sponsored by seven student organizations. Highlights include the Parade of Flags, an outdoor festival in Kogan Plaza, and GW’s 15th annual La Fiestasa, featuring live music, dancing and food.

Student Life