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News

Westfield State Welcomes Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author Junot Díaz

Junot Diaz

WESTFIELD-Westfield State University’s Guest Lecture Series continues its fall season with the October 11 lecture “Race and Immigration in Election Year 2016,” with author and activist Junot Díaz. The lecture will be held on Tuesday, October 11 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in Scanlon Hall.

Díaz has published three books: “Drown,” which is a collection of short stories; “This Is How You Lose Her,” a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist; and “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award, along with numerous other awards. In January 2015, a poll of U.S. critics named Díaz’s book “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” as “the best novel of the 21st century to date.”

“Junot Díaz is politically forceful through his speech and his actions. Having someone like Mr. Díaz come to Westfield State is enormous, considering how well-known he is,” said Associate Professor and Coordinator of Secondary English Sofia Sarigianides, Ph.D., who organized the event with Assistant Professor of Education Andrew Hafner, Ed.D.

Díaz was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He immigrated to Parlin, New Jersey in 1974, when he was six years old. He graduated from Rutgers College in New Jersey in 1992 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. In 1995, he obtained a Master of Fine Arts from Cornell University. Díaz currently teaches at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a Nancy Allen Professor of Writing and is a fiction editor at Boston Review and the Rudge.

Díaz is active in the Dominican American community, and is cofounder of the Voices of Our Nations Arts Writing Workshop, which focuses on writers of color. Díaz is also active in Pro-Liberated, the Communist Dominican Workers’ Party, and the Unión de Jóvenes Dominicanos ("Dominican Youth Union") all community organizations in New York City.

Sponsored by the Education Department, English Department, World Language Studies Department, Residential Life, Student Affairs, Diversity & Inclusion and the Guest Lecture Series Fund, the lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Dr. Sarigianides at ssarigianides@westfield.ma.edu.

The lecture is part of Westfield State University’s Hispanic/LatinX Heritage Month, a month-long celebration of Hispanic and Latino history and culture, through October 22, 2016.