Junot Diaz – SUNY Purchase - October 7, 2014
Diaz is the latest of the MacArthur “genius” grant recipients that I’ve captured. My experience of reading him is limited to shorter excerpts that he has published in The New Yorker magazine. Advanced notice of this gig was scant, so we got lucky with the scheduling. For the majority of his presentation he roamed the stage, and even for the shorter segment of him reading he didn’t hold too still of a pose for my sketching. Diaz uses his fabulous sense of humor to arrive at profound destinations regarding the immigrant and broader American experience. And he made clear that his character Yunior is not a proxy for his own self. He expertly managed the autograph line afterwards to keep things moving along, keeping it from turning into an endurance ordeal, which I appreciated.