Today, Junot Díaz, Pulitzer–prize winning writer, professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Radcliffe Institute fellow in 2003–2004, was named a 2012 MacArthur Fellow. Díaz — selected for his creativity, originality, and potential to make important contributions in the future — is one of 23 recipients of this year’s “genius grant,” which awards fellows $500,000 over five years.
After becoming a literary sensation in the mid-1990s for his powerful short stories — often set in the barrios of the Dominican Republic and published in Drown — Diaz won a fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute. He worked at the institute during the 2003–2004 academic year on his second book, the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel titled The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, published in 2007. Diaz’s third book, another collection of short stories, This is How You Lose Her, came out in September to great acclaim.