Editor's Note: Jeff VanderMeer delivered this interview with Junot Diaz just a day before the author made the short list for the National Book Award, so you may notice there's no mention of his most recent accolade. Read on to see what he has to say about a wide range of topics, including where he finds the joy in writing and what he thinks about winning a MacArthur Genius Grant.
(This interview contains some colorful language.)
Pulitzer Prize Winner Junot Díaz had already more than established himself with the success of his first novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which spent over 100 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and has become a modern classic. Now he’s back with This Is How You Lose Her, a collection of related stories centered around the young Yunior, always in love, forever reckless…or is he? The stories are about love and heartbreak, but also about hope and the ability to change. Among many great reviews, The New York Times Book Review wrote of This Is How You Lose Her that “ Junot Díaz writes in an idiom so electrifying and distinct it’s practically an act of aggression, at once enthralling, even erotic in its assertion of sudden intimacy.”
Then, in a wonderful coincidence of timing, Díaz found out he had won a MacArthur Genius grant while promoting This Is How You Lose Her. Amazon.com caught up with Díaz to ask him about winning the grant and about his new book.