The Dominican-born writer Junot Diaz, who won the Pulitzer Prize with “The Wonderful Short Life of Oscar Wao”, is this year engaged in writing a long science fiction novel about the last Martian who “survives” in the Dominican Republic, a book with which he wants to screw up a lot.
“It will be a jodón text,” Diaz has advanced in a conversation with Efe in which he has stressed that his idea is to mix in the same novel the Dominican community with science fiction “to see if these two wings can fly.”
This writer born in Santo Domingo in 1968, who has participated for the first time, “and enjoyed”, of the plethora of authors who these days have passed through the Celsius 232 Festival in Avilés (Asturias), Spain, dedicated to science fiction and fantasy literature, has recognized that his inspiration comes from his obsession with the dictatorship of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo.
A member of a military family and with a “half-fascist” father who supported Trujillo’s dictatorship in the Dominican Republic, Díaz said that this family structure represented the opposite of what he was, a free person who suffered from his father “frisking” his clothes and shoes every time he left the house.
“In all my life, I never looked my dad in the face, that was impossible,” said the author, who acknowledged that the first language he learned at home was that of silence.
In a military family “there is always a huge silence, because it is a race of super cruel violence,” and all this influenced him as an artist and as a human being because, according to Diaz, it was in those silences that he was most inspired as a writer.
In that environment he had no choice but to hide “in plain sight,” so that no member of his family knew what he was reading, and while they thought he was doing his homework as a student, he was actually imbibing stories of the fantasy genre.
With a degree from Rutgers University and a master’s degree from Cornell, in 1996 he published his first book, a collection of short stories entitled “Drown”, published in Spain as “Los boys”, the beginning of a successful writing career that was misunderstood by a family that did not understand that after having studied so much he would dedicate himself to writing.
Despite his publishing successes, Junot Díaz supports himself financially thanks to teaching – he teaches Creative Writing classes in the U.S. – and at 52 years of age he continues to drink from his obsession with dictatorships and without understanding how there can be people who continue to deny that Cuba is a dictatorship.
In fact, he has acknowledged that he was highly criticized for signing a letter as a writer criticizing the Cuban government, being ideologically left-wing.