About This Episode

Junot Diaz is a Dominican-born creative writer, author, editor, and activist best known for his Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, as well as Drown, a collection of his short stories. He is a creative writing professor at M.I.T. and the fiction editor for the Boston Review. Diaz’s work, which revolves around the immigrant experience, has been received with high critical praise, earning him accolades such as the MacArthur Genius Grant, a PEN/Malamud Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and more. Diaz’s Dominican heritage and early experiences shape both his writing and activism.

A champion for undocumented immigrants and co-founder of the Voices of Our Nation workshop (VONA), a writing workshop for writers of color, Diaz has used his success as an author to advocate for those whose voices often go unheard. In 2010, he was elected to the Pulitzer Prize board of jurors, the first Latino to earn such a distinction.