Junot Diaz was the youngest child of five, born in Villa Juana, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He emigrated to Palin, NJ in 1974. He started college at Kean College in NJ, but got his degree at Rutgers College in 1992, and also earned his MFA from Cornell University, NY in 1995.
Currently, he teaches at MIT and is the fiction editor for the Boston Review. He is also a founding member of the Voices of Our Nations Arts Writing Workshop, a 2009 Writing Fellow at Wesleyan University, and participated in Wesleyan's Distinguished Writers Series.
He has been published in The New Yorker, Story, The Paris Review, The Best American Short Stories ('96, '97, '99, 2000), and African Voices; he has published the short story collection Drown (1996) and the novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007), both becoming hugely successful. He won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for Oscar Wao, and has also received a Eugene McDermott Award, a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, a Lila Acheson Wallace Readers Digest Award, the 2002 Pen/Malamud Award, the 2003 US-Japan Creative Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He was selected as one of the 39 most important Latin American writers under the age of 39 by the Bogotá Book Capital of World and the Hay Festival. In September 2007, Miramax acquired the rights for a film adaptation of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.
“The only way out is in. And that’s what I guess these stories are all about.” –Lola de León