MU Celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Junot Díaz
Activist, Author and Scholar

Monday, Jan. 22, 2018
7–8:30 p.m.

Jesse Auditorium

About the Featured Speaker

Junot Díaz was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey. He is the author of the critically acclaimed "Drown;" "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao," which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and "This Is How You Lose Her," a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist. Díaz is the recipient of a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship, PEN/Malamud Award, Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Guggenheim Fellowship, and PEN/O. Henry Award. He is the co-founder of the Voices of Our National Arts Foundation, which focuses on writers of color.

Díaz also serves on the board of advisers for Freedom University, a volunteer organization in Georgia that provides postsecondary instruction to undocumented immigrants. Central to his work is the immigrant experience. Díaz immigrated with his family to New Jersey when he was six-years old. During an interview conducted in 2010, Díaz reflected on his experience growing up in America and working his way through college:

"I can safely say I've seen the U.S. from the bottom up ... I may be a success story as an individual. But if you adjust the knob and just take it back one setting to the family unit, I would say my family tells a much more complicated story. It tells the story of two kids in prison. It tells the story of enormous poverty, of tremendous difficulty."

Díaz has been active in a number of community organizations in New York City, from Pro-Libertad, to the Communist Dominican Workers' Party (Partido de los Trabajadores Dominicanos), and the Unión de Jóvenes Dominicanos ("Dominican Youth Union"). A graduate of Rutgers University, Díaz is currently the fiction editor at the Boston Review and the Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor of Writing at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

* Interview source: Ying, Hao (April 14, 2010). "Writing wrongs". Global Times.

Free tickets for this event are available for pick up at the Missouri Theatre box office and the MSA /GPC box office in the MU Student Center. Both box offices are open Monday–Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets can be ordered online using the Ticketmaster website: Please be prepared to pay a $3.00 service fee when ordering tickets online.