Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Diaz spoke to students in the Bart Luedeke Center (BLC) Theater on Wednesday, Nov. 19, as this year’s featured writer in the annual EOP Writer’s Series.
“You ask an athlete to run everyday and then go lift for another hour and [he] will have no problem with that,” Diaz told the audience. “It’s the same with an author — we write everyday. It is an every day process. It is a grind.”
Diaz won the Pulitzer Prize for his 2008 novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which revolves around a child whose mother is diagnosed with breast cancer. At 12 years old, Diaz also had an experience with cancer when a family member was diagnosed with the disease, but he says that the characters in his book are fictional, despite the similarities.
“The narrator in a way mirrors my life,” Diaz said. “Art is a bizarre, cracked mirror that many of us see ourselves in.”
Diaz described his writing process for the audience, where he would wake up at 6 a.m., run, write for four hours, go to work as a professor and then read at night, because, he said, “you are only as good as your material.”
The author also talked about how he sees the future of the art industry that he is helping to shape.
“What I am doing today will mold the art of the future,” Diaz said. “The possibilities for the future of the arts are endless, and I am happy to help take part in that.”