I dedicate this blog to the only Pulitzer Prize winner I have ever met, Juno Diaz. I have written a blog about him before and what still amazes me about him is that he has left a mark on me as a writer. I was not fortunate enough to take his class when he did teach at Syracuse University and I feel that if perhaps that had happened, I would have made a literary connection then sooner.
He has written two novels, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and Drown. Both books are absolutely fabulous in imagery and how he was able to take life of Latinos and put it on paper. His words are flawless and I read them as if he and I were having a conversation. What I like is that he started off as a short story writer and then moved on to novels.
Juno Diaz won the Pulitzer Prize for his second novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. It is because of this book that we brought him to Syracuse University in 2008. It was a really big thing because here we are trying to bringing up someone big for Latino Heritage Month and because he taught here, he was willing to come and speak with very few problems.
He spoke in front of a packed house in the new Newhouse 3 building. In fact, he was insistent that he did not speak, he wanted to have a discussion on the book. Juno read 2 passages from the book and he had me floored. The fact that one of his passages was describing a sexual act within the book in front of an audience filled with students and faculty, and he read it it like it was Shakespeare, showed me that I should no longer care what people think about me and what I write. It was indeed a magical moment for me.
Juno Diaz has set the bar for me; he is where I want to be. He will be my inspiration to take my talent to the next level while keeping it real. Having dinner with that man proved to me that success can continue to keep a person humble. Juno talks like he writes which makes his literary work so masterful.