Juno Díaz was born in 1968 in Santo Domingo and grew up in New Jersey, where he studied at both Kean and Rutgers University. At the present time, Díaz is a professor of creative writing at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is also literature editor for the newspaper »Boston Review«.
His first collection of short stories »Drown« (1996) already gained a great deal of attention. Based on the author’s own experiences, the altogether ten, sometimes interwoven stories take place between the Dominican Republic and the metropolitan regions of the US East Coast. Through adolescent eyes, he describes the everyday fight for survival and in doing so transcends the simplified image of immigrants. Diaz’ narrative voice reflects all shades of the Latino slang spoken in the barrios and lends the rough coming-of-age stories poetic moments. Yunior, who already played a role in his short stories, returns in the novel »The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao« (2007) as the main narrative force and Diaz’ slightly changed alter ego. Despite the exuberant footnotes, the text charges ahead at a frenetic pace that holds together this family chronicle about three generations whose lives are marked by violence and tragic losses. At the centre you have the obese Oscar who, after emigrating to the USA, flees into an imaginary world of science-fiction films, role plays and not least fantasy literature, while he yearns for affection from the opposite sex. Oscar ultimately becomes an author himself in his escapist isolation striving to achieve the rank of a »Dominican Tolkien«. In a constantly highly charged, rhythmically interwoven manner, Díaz’ text is laced with fulminant references to popular culture, meta-fictional linguistic pieces and Caribbean history. With »This is How You Lose Her« (2012) Díaz once again returns to the figures and scenes of his debut, first and foremost Yunior and his amorous entanglements. Carried along by easy-going slang and augmented by political side blows, the linked episodes take apart the virile demeanour of the protagonist.
Díaz’ prose and essays have been translated into a dozen languages and reprinted in »Story«, »The Paris Review« and »The New Yorker«. His works have also earned him several awards, among these the PEN/Malamud Award (2002), the National Book Critics Circle Award (2007), the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (2008), a MacArthur Fellowship (2012) an honorary doctor title from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island (2013). He most recently received the Norman Mailer Prize for Distinguished Writing (2013). Díaz lives in Boston and New York.