Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Tim Gager, co-founder of the Somerville News Writers Festival, (http://somervillenewswritersfestival.com) recruited Junot Diaz for next year's Somerville News Writers Festival. It was announced today (4/7/2008) that he won the Pulitzer. He is our featured reader in next November's Festival. Doug Holder/ SomervilleNews Writers Festival.
For Article read below:
Junot Diaz's Novel, `Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,' Wins Pulitzer
By Laurie Muchnick
April 7 (Bloomberg) -- Junot Diaz's first novel, ``The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,'' won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction today, having already won the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Diaz first made a splash with a book of short stories, ``Drown,'' in 1996, and then spent 10 years writing ``Oscar Wao,'' the story of a geeky boy from a Dominican family living in New Jersey.
In an interview with Bloomberg's Robert Hilferty last September, Diaz said he considers himself fortunate to be able to make a living from his writing. ``I have an imaginative life,'' he said. ``Very few people can live off that in this world.''
There were two winners in the poetry category: ``Time and Materials'' by Robert Hass, a former U.S. poet laureate, and ``Failure'' by Philip Schultz.
Schultz, whose subject is reflected in the title of his book, was amazed by the prize. ``I'm somewhere beyond feeling; it's overwhelming,'' he said in a telephone interview.
He didn't write poetry for 16 years, from 1984 to 2000, when he began again at the urging of his wife, sculptor Monica Banks. ``I stopped writing because my poems were very unhappy, and I started again out of joy,'' he said.
Saul Friedlander won the prize for general nonfiction for ``The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939- 1945,'' the second volume in his history of the Holocaust. Friedlander, who teaches at the University of California, Los Angeles, grew up in France during the Nazi occupation.
The history prize was awarded to Daniel Walker Howe's ``What God Hath Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848,'' which covers the expansion of the United States to the Pacific Ocean.
John Matteson received the biography prize for ``Eden's Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father,'' which explores the lives of the ``Little Women'' author and her father, Bronson Alcott, a transcendentalist philosopher.
To contact the writer on this story: Laurie Muchnick in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org.