Junot Díaz


Junot Díaz (born December 31, 1968) is a Dominican American writer, creative writing professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and fiction editor at Boston Review.

Junot Diaz in 2012
Junot Diaz in 2007


  • This life takes a lot more courage than I ever gave it credit for. When I was growing up around here I was always fantasizing heroic shit without realizing that what was shaping up was going to be the greatest heroic adventure of them all: trying to live and be a decent human being. That shit takes more courage than I ever had.
  • I grew up in a world, [a] very New Jersey, American, Dominican, immigrant, African-American, Latino world. And, you know, I went to school and it was basically the same. I went to college; it was basically the same, where largely I wasn't really encouraged to imagine women as fully human. I was in fact pretty much — by the larger culture, by the local culture, by people around me, by people on TV — encouraged to imagine women as something slightly inferior to men. And so I think that a lot of guys, part of our journey is wrestling with, coming to face, our limited imagina[tion] and growing in a way that allows us not only to imagine women as fully human, but to imagine the things that we do to women — that we often do blithely, without thinking, we just sort of shrug off — as actually deeply troubling and as hurting another human being. And this seems like the simplest thing. A lot of people are like, 'Really, that's like a huge leap of knowledge, of the imagination?' But for a lot of guys, that is.
  •  Our visions of an immigrant community and an immigrant experience are highly moralistic. I feel like our reality is William Gibson meets Toni Morrison, yet the way we’re interpreting the morality of immigrants is Chaucer.”
  •  We live in a patriarchal imaginary where men cannot conceptualise women as fully human. What’s really important is how this shit resides in us, how this just lives in us, man, even if we’re the good guy – it should give a motherfucker pause.


  • Motherfuckers will read a book that’s one third elvish, but put two sentences in Spanish and they [white people] think we’re taking over.

Quotes about

  • Writing fearlessly because, as my friend Junot Díaz has said, "a writer is a writer because even when there is no hope, even when nothing you do shows any sign of promise, you keep writing anyway."
  • I teach his work in my creative writing classes now, to give students a sense of voice and language and just fierce honesty in your writing.
    • 2013 interview included in Conversations with Nalo Hopkinson edited by Isiah Lavender III
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