To the collective acclaim of those in attendance, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, editor, and university professor, Junot Díaz conducted a literary reading and book signing at Montclair State University on September 30. Held in the University Conference Center, the event drew a standing-room-only audience of well more than 350 students, faculty, and staff.
Personable, candid, and direct, Díaz opened the evening with a visceral reading of his short story, Alma. He followed this with a lively and enlightening question and answer session, then stayed on to sign copies of his books for the large number of admirers of his work who had obviously been waiting for that opportunity.
Born in the Dominican Republic, Díaz spent his early childhood there before immigrating to the United States and settling in New Jersey. Clearly proud of his roots and upbringing, he spoke candidly—and often humorously—about his childhood and what led him to become a writer, and ultimately, the professor, editor, and multiple award-winning author that he is today.
Díaz is widely considered one of the best and most exciting writers of American fiction today. He is the author of Drown and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, as well as many other awards including the National Book Critics Circle Award. He is currently a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the fiction editor for The Boston Review.
The event was sponsored by the Latin American and Latino Studies department and the Latin American Student Organization, with co-sponsorship support from many departments and organizations on campus. Judging from the huge crowd in attendance and from the buzz that it generated, the event was not just a complete success, but for many, a highlight of the year.
View photos from the event.