Thursday, March 26, 2015

Junot Díaz at Blue Met

Winner of our 3rd Premio Metropolis Azul, Junot Díaz will be at the Festival this year to talk about his popular works, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao as well as his other book This is How You Lose Her.

Díaz is one of contemporary fiction's best-known practitioners and a recent BBC critics poll ranked Oscar Wao as the best book of the 21st century.

Díaz's books reflect a changing demographic in US and North American society: his works detail the immigrant experience, the difficulties of assimilation and, in particular, of language-learning. His works are full of memorable and unique protagonists who struggle to fit in but stand out with humour and incredibly colorful language.

A prolific Facebook user, Díaz is also preoccupied with racism and injustice in America today and his Facebook posts reflect his social conscience (and, indeed, much of what interests him as a fiction writer).

"We live in a society where default whiteness goes unremarked - no one ever asks it for its passport - but God forbid a person of color should raise her voice against this smug occult system of oppression, points out whiteness, its operations and consequences - well, in two seconds flat that person is the one accused of being obsessed with race."

It's very interesting to me how our writers reflect our societies and we can learn so much about what is happening in any given society by considering that society's writers (and artists in general) and what interest them. Yet this is also a very delicate line to walk because writers who are overtly political often fall out of fashion very quickly. So there has to be some kind of broad appeal that both reflects the culture but also which stands independent of it.

Díaz will do two events at Blue Met 2015: his main event at the Rialto Theater, in association with, Librairie Drawn & Quarterly, will see Díaz on stage with Montreal writer Heather O'Neill (The Girl Who Was Saturday Night). This is on Thursday, April 23 in the evening. Tickets are $10 or $8.50 if you buy them before April 8.  Tickets available online here (service fees may apply) or you can also buy them at the shop: Librairie Drawn & Quarterly, 211 Bernard Ouest, in Mile End.

His other event will be on Friday, April 24 at Librairie Las Américas (2075 St-Laurent). This event is in Spanish and will be an onstage discussion between Díaz and journalist Hector Tobar (author of Deep Down Dark: the Untold Story of 33 Men Buried in the Chilean Mine). Tickets here.

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