MIT professor Junot Diaz wins Pulitzer for ‘Oscar Wao’




Junot Diaz‘ critically acclaimed first novel “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” has just been awarded the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Diaz, a tenured professor at MIT, worked on his novel for eleven years before its publication in September, 2007. Since then it has received glowing reviews from some of the most highly-regarded publications. Michiko Kakutani, writing for the The New York Times Book Review, called the novel “An extraordinarily vibrant book that’s fueled by adrenaline-powered prose.”

More about Mr. Diaz (from the Pulitzer board):

Junot Diaz has had his fiction published in The New Yorker and The Paris Review, and four times in The Best American Short Stories. His critically praised, bestselling debut book, Drown, led to his inclusion among Newsweek’s “New Faces of 1996.” The New Yorker placed him on a list of the twenty top writers of the twenty-first century. Diaz has won the Eugene McDermott Award, the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award, the PEN/Malamud Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study Fellowship, a U.S.-Japan Creative Artists Fellowship from the NEA, and most recently the Rome Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Born in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic, and raised there and in New Jersey, he graduated from Rutgers and received an MFA from Cornell. He lives in New York City and Boston.

More about ‘The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” (from the book jacket):

Things have never been easy for Oscar, a sweet but disastrously overweight, lovesick Dominican ghetto nerd. From his home in New Jersey, where he lives with his old-world mother and rebellious sister, Oscar dreams of becoming the Dominican J. R. R. Tolkien and, most of all, of finding love. But he may never get what he wants, thanks to the Fukú-the curse that has haunted Oscar’s family for generations, dooming them to prison, torture, tragic accidents, and, above all, ill-starred love. Oscar, still waiting for his first kiss, is just its most recent victim.

Diaz immerses us in the tumultuous life of Oscar and the history of the family at large, rendering with genuine warmth and dazzling energy, humor, and insight the Dominican-American experience, and, ultimately, the endless human capacity to persevere in the face of heartbreak and loss. A true literary triumph, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao confirms Junot Diaz as one of the best and most exciting voices of our time.

And from the MIT news office: