Author Junot Diaz to speak at Northwestern

Madeline Fox, Campus Editor

Author Junot Diaz will speak at Northwestern later this month as part of the Contemporary Thought Speaker Series, the organization announced Tuesday.

Diaz, a writing professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his novel “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.”

CTSS co-chair Ben Zimmermann said Diaz was at the top of the organization’s list of writers they wanted to bring to campus.

“All his works are amazing, from his short stories to his novels,” the Weinberg sophomore said. “They represent important values, from class differences to the immigrant experience, that students are interested in.”

Diaz, who was awarded a MacArthur Genius Grant in 2012, is CTSS’ second speaker of the school year following Khan Academy founder Salman Khan, who spoke in October.

Zimmermann said he hopes bringing a well-known author like Diaz will draw students who don’t typically come to CTSS events and engage them in the issues Diaz addresses in his writing.

“Our goal is to bring thought-provoking individuals who are able to talk about today’s changing society,” Zimmermann said. “We definitely like to bring in people like Diaz who can make students critically think about these issues.” 

CTSS, which was founded in 2012, has previously hosted Ezra Klein, editor in chief of Vox.com, and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. The event will be held Jan. 28 in Ryan Auditorium.

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