Junot Diaz Archive

The Family You Choose

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The Family You Choose In college my housemates and I once drew a social map of our class. This is similar. A web, not a tree. I’ve always been prone to intense friendships. Not best friendships, necessarily, or not in the one-and-only sense. I’m of the Mindy Kaling school

The Millennial-Gen X Rift Part II: the MFA System And A Digital Latina/o Literary Renaissance

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Hector Tobar wouldn’t be the first to speculate about a contemporary Latina/o literary renaissance. That hype has been around for a long, long while. It surrounded the work of Gen X Latina/o writers beginning to publish in the mid to late 90’s and early 2000’s of which Junot Diaz

The Millenial-Gen X Rift And The Trouble With Latina/o Letters

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 “Hector Tobar is our new hero,” a close friend of mine, a well known Chicano writer, proclaimed to me last week. I was back home in Austin. We were at the Whitehorse. He said it as if it were up for discussion in the first place. “I’m totally with

The Ploughshares Round Down: Short Stories as a Path to Literary Success

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I’m going to let you in on a little secret about the submissions in my slush pile. When one comes in, the first thing I do–before I have even read the first sentence of the letter–is skim it for the name of a publication I recognize. If I don’t

WWTMD? (What Would Toni Morrison Do?)

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Lately, during the sad, unproductive stretches of writing my first novel, I stare at an empty page and whisper, “What Would Toni Morrison Do?” This is the closest I come to prayer. Please show me the way, I say to my favorite writers. Please give me the vision to

POC vs PLOT: The MFA, Chipotle Cups, and Narratives We Crave

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By now it seems everyone’s read Junot Diaz’s MFA vs POC blog on the New Yorker website. Even my freshmen at Cornell these days say to me, “Dan, was it really like that?” Usually I just shrug in response. I was a notorious recluse in my MFA. I had a girlfriend—now fiancé—in New

Burnt Memories: Reading Gabriel García Márquez in Texas

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It took every fiber of me not to rattle off a quick ditty about Gabo the night after he passed.  I tried, of course, but then where do you stop? Fifteen thousand words? Twenty? In this digital age you’re late even if only by a day, which seemed appropriate

Las Damas: The New Generation of Latina Writers

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A student of mine asked the other day if Latinos still wrote. He was dead serious. And by the reddening at the tops of his ears I could tell it was a completely sincere question, a bold one with all of the shame that fills the liminal space between