Before Junot Díaz, writers like Jhumpa Lahiri and Zadie Smith captured the immigrant experience with almost perfect prose; but Díaz gave that experience a voice. His short stories, often told in a Spanish-inflected but distinctly American dialect, are filled with poignant images: A woman is on the phone with her abusive boyfriend, but the writing focuses less on their dialogue and more on the curly telephone cord hitting the floor, up and down, up and down. In his Pulitzer-winning novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which BBC Culture has named the best novel of the 21st century so far, Díaz cuts to the issues of race and class with a humor that is devastatingly serious. He is as vibrant and thought-provoking in his talks as he is in his writing, so you can expect to laugh and learn and think when he takes the stage in Brooklyn at St. Francis College as the latest speaker in the Walt Whitman Writers Series. Isaac Fitzgerald, editor of BuzzFeed Books, joins him in conversation..
Thu., April 16, 7 p.m., 2015