Author Junot Díaz will be on campus next week as part of a series of events marking Latin@ Heritage Month at Dartmouth. His visit also anchors a week-long focus on community sponsored by the Office of Pluralism and Leadership (OPAL).
The writer, activist, and winner of a 2012 MacArthur “genius grant” will speak at 5 p.m. Friday, October 18, in Moore Hall’s Filene Auditorium.
Alysson Satterlund, director of OPAL and senior assistant dean of student academic support services, says, “Simply put: We are ecstatic to have Díaz visit Dartmouth. When I share with students that he is visiting, their faces light up—to have a dynamic advocate for equity on our campus is absolutely inspirational.”
Born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey, Díaz is the Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor of Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is known as an advocate for just immigration policies, and for speaking out about racism and privilege—and their consequences—at every level.
Díaz’s collection of short stories This Is How You Lose Her (2012) was a finalist for the National Book Award. His novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
A Conversation With Junot Díaz
In advance of his visit, Junot Díaz spoke with Dartmouth Now via email:
Video interviews frequently show you writing in notebooks, using a pen on paper. Is that the way you work?
That’s how I work. A little absurd, but true. I love paper and I love good pens probably even more than I love writing. But nowhere near as much as I like reading.
Given how much resonance there is between your own story and some of your characters’ backgrounds, does that cause any backlash with your family and friends?
My friends never see themselves in my work. And I don’t think my family reads me, so generally I’m all clear.
What’s the most encouraging thing you’ve seen on your current book tour so far? The least encouraging?
Most encouraging? Readers. Least encouraging? How often literary journalism tries to make the writer the subject of discussion instead of the work itself.
Anything you’ve read or seen recently that’s making you want to stop people and say “You have to look at this right now!”?
Of course: Orphan Black on BBC America.
The schedule for “A Week in Community” begins with a talk by Janice McCabe, assistant professor of sociology and of women’s and gender studies, at 2 p.m. on Monday, October 14, in Haldeman 041. Events continue daily, wrapping up with Diaz’s October 18 presentation. Sponsors and partners for the week include OPAL, the Student Assembly, the Inter-Community Council, Collis Center for Student Involvement, the Gender Research Institute at Dartmouth, the Tucker Foundation, and Residential Education.
“A Week in Community” schedule of events:
- Monday, October 14: Janice McCabe, assistant professor of sociology and of women’s and gender studies: “Community in Students’ Friendships: Tight-knitters, Compartmentalizers, and Samplers.” 2 p.m. in Haldeman 041
- Tuesday, October 15: Tucker Foundation lunch conversation with artist-in-residence Daniel Heyman ’85: “What Does Community Mean to Me?” 12 p.m. at the Tucker Foundation
- Tuesday, October 15: OPAL panel discussion: “What Community Means to Me” and “How I Found Community at Dartmouth.” 4 to 5:30 p.m. in Collis Common Ground
- Wednesday, October 16: “Playing with Bias”: Dartmouth-developed anti-bias games and discussion. 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in Rockefeller 003
- Thursday, October 17: OPAL mixer: 7:30-8:30 p.m. in the Student Academic Support Center, 224 Baker Library
- Friday, October 18: Junot Díaz: 5 p.m. in Filene Auditorium, Moore Hall