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Children's Author Junot Díaz Discusses Importance of Representative Literature

Photo by the American Booksellers Association

Junot Díaz is a Dominican author most known for his critically acclaimed works, including DrownThe 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. The MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship recipient was the featured keynote speaker at Winter Institute 2018 in Memphis.

In his speech at the Memphis Cook Convention Center on Wednesday, January 24, Díaz discussed his first literary experiences as an immigrant in America, the importance of diversity in publishing, and how independent booksellers helped his career throughout the time he has spent writing novels.

“If it hadn’t been for the kind of curatorial devotion of independent booksellers, my art would have perished,” he said, “and so the debt is serious."

"In my experience, to immigrate as a child is to be thrown into a hurricane. To be a young immigrant is to survive an apocalypse, an apocalypse that devours your world and hurls you naked and voiceless into another,” he continued. “Nothing else can do justice to that impossible dislocation. Immigration really is as close as many of us will come to living through an end of a world.”

For more information on Díaz and his speech as Winter Institue 2018, please visit the American Booksellers Association's recap. For a list of diverse graphic novels relating to immigration and multicultural characters, visit Diamond Book's Diversity Catalog on Edelweiss+.

Diamond Book's Diversity Catalog