junot diaz

Junot Diaz

Junot Díaz Steps Down as Pulitzer Prize Chairmen Amid Misconduct Allegations

Last week, award-winning author and MIT professor, Junot Díaz was confronted by author Zinzi Clemmons, who stated he backed her into a corner and forcibly kissed her while she was a graduate student in his workshop in 2012. What quickly followed was a slew of accusations and allegations from various authors; accusing Díaz of sexual misconduct, assault, harassment, bullying, and violent misogyny. 





In a statement given by the Pulitzer Prize board on Thursday, the allegations against Díaz are being reviewed. In the meantime, he has relinquished his role as chairman on the board; a role he’d just been granted in April.


The Pulitzer Prize board has stated that “Mr. Díaz said he welcomed the review and would cooperate fully with it.” 


MIT has also stated they are taking the allegations against Díaz seriously, and will be leading an independent investigation. 


The Cambridge Public Library has announced cancellation of their annual Summer Reading Kick-Off, featuring Díaz.


Díaz was also forced to withdraw from The Sydney Writers’ Festival, with the festival stating:


 As for so many in positions of power, the moment to reckon with the consequences of past behavior has arrived. Sydney Writers’ Festival is a platform for the sharing of powerful stories: urgent, necessary and sometimes difficult. Such conversations have never become more timely.


The accusations and allegations are still flowing in; each containing nauseating accounts of aggression and discomfort. The writing world has been shaken up by the downfall of such a prolific author. But, the accusations needed to be made in order for victims to get justice.  


The curtain that had long hidden the dark truths of these stories, and protected the men who’ve abused their power, began to fall last October, following the Weinstein accusations and the beginning of the #MeToo movement, and is still only beginning to fall. These stories are sickening and difficult to read, but it’s important we see them and understand that a vital change has begun.


Díaz has yet to release a statement.



Featured Image Via Bustle

Quill Books and Beverages

This Maine Bookshop Just Pulled All Junot Diaz Work Off the Shelves

It was only recently that the literary community took a hit with the allegations and stories surfacing about Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Diaz. Various victims have come forward with their stories and everyone is shaken up. Now, action is being taken by women in the book community.



 Image Via Keep Me Current


Quill Books and Beverage in Westbrook, Maine has made the decision to pull all works by Junot Diaz from the shelf. Co-owner Allison Krzanowski made an announcement via social media to stop selling the author’s famed works that helped him gain so much success.“There are plenty of authors who aren’t sexually assaulting and sexually harassing people, so we make more space for them by removing the ones who are,” says Krzanowski to Press Herald.


Junot Diaz

Image Via Feminist Current


Are people supporting the shop? Of course! Are some people against it? Of course!


“Some people thanked us in person and commented that it can be really triggering for survivors of sexual assault to see those names out there… There have been some people who think we are banning books, and to that, I say it is our choice not to carry products. It’s not the same as a book being banned. We have a ‘safe space’ commitment, and that extends to our shelves.”


On Saturday the café/bar and bookshop’s Facebook page posted a list of Latina author suggestions in the wake of the Diaz allegations. It’s certainly not the first time that Quill Books and Beverage has done this. It was a few weeks ago that Jay Asher, author of the popular young adult series Thirteen Reasons Why, had allegations released against him and Krzanowski made sure they were off the shelf to create a safe space for her readers.


Quill Books and Beverages

 Image Via Different Path Events

“We have limited space… We want to use the space to promote writers that we want to support.” It’s not that the book is banned forever, you simply can’t buy it in that shop. Could they be onto something? What would a bookworm think?


Featured Image Via Eventbrite.

junot diaz

Junot Díaz Withdraws From Sydney Literary Festival Following Harassment Allegations

The Brief and Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao author, Junot Diaz, has pulled out of Sydney’s Writers’ Festival after sexual harassment claims were made against him. 


The claims, made by author of What We Lose, Zinzi Clemmons, were brought up on Friday when she stood up during a panel and asked Diaz about an incident six years ago when Diaz allegedly harassed her. 



via The Guardian


Following the allegations, Clemmons took to Twitter, saying, “I refuse to be silent anymore,” sparking more and more women to come forward about abuse inflicted on them by Diaz. 





Sydney Writers’ Festival savagely took to Facebook, writing “In his recent New Yorker essay, Mr. Diaz wrote, “Eventually the past finds you.” And for so many positions of power, the moment to reckon with the consequences of past behavior has arrived.” 



Swiftly following the allegations and tweets, Diaz withdrew from the festival. In a statement made through his literary agent, Diaz said, “I take responsibility for my past,” without addressing anything specifically. 


After his apology was released, Clemmons took to Twitter to call the release a “soup of unintelligibility.” 



Díaz has not spoken any further regarding the allegations against him.


Featured image via Drew University


Junot Díaz Reveals Tour Dates for First-Ever Picture Book ‘Islandborn’

New York Times bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Díaz is releasing his first-ever children’s book in March which celebrates cultural diversity in the U.S. and poses questions about identity and belonging. The story is told through an imaginary journey back to a young girl’s birthplace, “The Island.” Here is everything you need to know about it:


island born

Image Via Amazon


Islandborn is set to be on shelves March 13th, and it’s already generating excitement as Díaz’s readers await the chance to meet him in person on his book tour, which begins in March and ends in April. The tour will take the author to schools, libraries, and bookstores around the country. All information on the tour is in the infographic below:


Junot Diaz

Image Via Twitter


The picture book is illustrated by Leo Espinosa, who Díaz says is able to “capture magnificently the intimacy, the ternura, between little Lola, the subject of the book, and her abuela.” Of the story itself, Díaz says in an interview:


When I wrote Islandborn I thought it was about a young woman’s ability to connect to her home and her family with her imagination, but when I’d completed it I realised it was really about the ways that communities create themselves and young people play a big role in that labor.


The story begins when Lola’s teacher asks her students to draw a picture of where their families immigrated from. All the kids are excited about the project except Lola, because she can’t remember the island she left when she was just a baby. She soon sees that with the help of her friends’ and family’s memories, her imagination is what will take her on an extraordinary journey back to her birthplace.


Díaz says of Islandborn that “it is a book promised all those years ago for my goddaughters and anyone who has ever wondered about their family’s ‘faraway place.'”



Image Via Remezcla


Junot Díaz is the author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and This is How You Lose Herfor which his website has the most beautiful words to say:


Díaz turns his remarkable talent to the haunting, impossible power of love – obsessive love, illicit love, fading love, maternal love. In prose that is endlessly energetic, inventive, tender, and funny, the stories in This Is How You Lose Her lay bare the infinite longing and inevitable weakness of the human heart. They remind us that passion always triumphs over experience, and that “the half-life of love is forever.


Feature Image Via Twitter

brief wondrous life of oscar wao----skippy dies book covers

Like This Book? Then Try This One!

It’s not hard to come by book recommendations, but it’s hard to find recommenders who make a compelling case for just why you should take a leap of faith with a new book. As a result, we have decided to directly compare these newer or underrated gems to better-known works you’ve probably read, so that they may find the wider/louder audience they deserve. It’s never a bad idea to read what you know!


  1. Like this?: ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ by John Green

          Try this!: ‘It’s Kind of a Funny Story’ by Ned Vizzini


fault in our stars----its kind of a funny story

Image courtesy of DaFont and Amazon


Like ‘TFIOS,’ ‘It’s Kind of a Funny Story’ explores what it’s like to be a teenager grappling with illness and newfound romance amid a vibrant and affecting supporting cast. Thankfully, the ending of this book is not nearly as sad.


  1. Like this?: ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ by Jodi Picoult

          Try this!: ‘The Dovekeepers’ by Alice Hoffman


my sisters keeper-------the dovekeepers

Image courtesy of Jodi Picoult and Amazon


Picoult has established herself as one of the best contemporary writers of women’s voices. Hoffman does her one better by venturing far back into the ancient past to breathe life into a handful of Jewish women who find themselves at the crossroads of history when their people take up arms against their Roman overseers. These novels have more than “keeper” in common. 


  1. Like this?: ’The Glass Castle’ by Jeannette Walls

         Try this!: ‘Priestdaddy’ by Patricia Lockwood


the glass castle------priestdaddy

Image courtesy of Amazon and Goodreads


Like Walls, Lockwood bears the blessings and curses of an unconventional upbringing, describing her eccentric parents—her father is a Roman Catholic priest who prefers boxer shorts to white collars—with a compelling mixture of love and shame.


  1. Like this?: ‘Slaughterhouse Five’ by Kurt Vonnegut

         Try this!: ‘Eddies in the Space-Time Continuum’ by J.M. Hushour


slaughterhouse five-------eddies in the spacetime continuum

Image courtesy of Goodreads


While Vonnegut’s Billy Pilgrim finds himself unstuck in time, Hushour’s Eddie can’t escape time at all—or he can, but not in a way that is good for his mental health. Which future is the real one? Not even the continuum has the answers.


  1. Like this?: ‘As I Lay Dying’ by William Faulkner

         Try this!: ‘Salvage the Bones’ by Jesmyn Ward


As I Lay Dying--------Salvage the Bones

Image courtesy of Goodreads


‘As I Lay Dying’ tells the tale of a desperately poor southern family preparing for a funeral. ‘Salvage the Bones’ also documents the lives of a desperately poor southern clan preparing for another sort of funeral—Hurricane Katrina, which will bring an entire region and way of life to the verge of extinction. Like Faulkner, Ward is a southerner with a gothic sensibility. Unlike Faulkner, she is a young black women giving a voice to those not often found in our national discourse until recently.


  1. Like this?: ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ by Douglas Adams

         Try this!: ‘City of Thieves’ by David Benioff


hitchhiker's guide--------city of thieves

Image courtesy of Amazon


Though there are no intergalactic shenanigans to be found in Benioff’s novel, this account of brotherly camaraderie and whirlwind adventure amid unimaginable destruction and cosmically surreal cruelty has shades of Douglas’s masterwork. You’ll never look at eggs the same way again.


  1. Like this?: ‘The Lovely Bones’ by Alice Sebold

         Try this!: ‘Everything I Never Told You’ by Celeste Ng


the lovely bones-------everything I never told you

Image courtesy of Wikipedia and Amazon


In an average town in 1970’s America, a young girl goes missing and is later found dead. This is the bare-bones plot (heh) of both ‘The Lovely Bones’ and ‘Everything I Never Told You.’ But where Sebold lingers on slain teen Susie and her family’s struggle to find peace, Ng hones in on issues of race, alienation, and thwarted dreams that are entirely her own.


  1. Like this?: ‘The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao’ by Junot Diaz

         Try this!: ‘Skippy Dies’ by Paul Murray


brief wondrous life of oscar wao------skippy dies

Image courtesy of Wikipedia


When a young life ends tragically, how can we come to terms with what happened and move on? Though Díaz and Murray use vastly different vernaculars and frames of reference to provide their own perceptions of a seemingly grim matter, they both provide a riveting and humorous take on the fraught and too-short lives of its title characters. Like Oscar, Skippy will stay in your head and your heart long after you put the book down.


  1. Like this?: ‘Gone Girl’ by Gillian Flynn

         Try this!: ‘Tell No One’ by Harlan Coben


gone girl---------tell no one

Image courtesy of Girl to Mom and Amazon


David Beck is living a contented life with a beautiful wife, Elizabeth—until Elizabeth is suddenly and cruelly taken from him. But is she really dead? ‘Gone Girl’ may be one of a kind, but Flynn definitely doesn’t have a monopoly on absent wives and twisted marriages.



  1. Like this?: ‘War Horse’ by Michael Morpurgo

         Try this!: ‘The Art of Racing in the Rain’ by Garth Stein


War Horse-------The Art of Racing in the Rain

Image courtesy of The Scholastic Teaching Store and Garth Stein


Yes, ‘War Horse’ is aimed at children while ‘Racing’ is geared towards adults. But if you like animal narrators and purging your tears, as ‘War Horse’ readers are wont to do, then you will probably get a thrill from this novel about one very wise dog. Nearing the end of his life, lab-terrier mix Enzo looks back on a happy existence with his owner Denny, a racecar driver confronted with one misfortune after another. He may only be a dog, but Enzo is determined to help his best friend. Can he do it?



  1. Like this?: ‘Between the World and Me’ by Ta-Nehisi Coates

         Try this!: ‘The Fire Next Time’ by James Baldwin


between the world and me-------the fire next time

Image courtesy of Penguin Random House and Mahogany Circle


Coates drew rave reviews for his painful and unyielding letter to his young son about the harsh realities of being a black man in the U.S. Baldwin—who Coates has cited as an influence—did something quite similar with ‘The Fire Next Time,’ structured in part as a blunt and sociologically-pointed missive to the nephew named for him. You will be spellbound and dismayed at just how little has changed from 1963 to 2015.


Featured image courtesy of Wikipedia.