The Plaza Audio Short Story Prize


Pulitzer Prizewinner, Junot Díaz, will judge The Plaza Audio Story Prize in 2025

Díaz was born on December 31, 1968, in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. At the age of six, Díaz immigrated with his family to Parlin, New Jersey, to join his father, who had moved to the United States earlier. Growing up in a working-class neighborhood, Díaz faced the challenges of adapting to a new culture and language, experiences that would later profoundly influence his writing. He attended Rutgers University, where he earned a BA in English, and later completed his MFA in Creative Writing at Cornell University.

Díaz first gained national attention with his debut short story collection, Drown (1996). The book’s vivid portrayal of the Dominican-American experience, capturing themes of identity, migration, and cultural conflict, resonated with readers and critics alike. His distinct narrative voice and ability to weave complex emotional landscapes established him as a significant new voice in American literature.

In 2007, Díaz published his first novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which received widespread acclaim for its inventive narrative style and its exploration of the Dominican diaspora. The novel won numerous prestigious awards, including the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award. The story’s blend of historical fiction, magical realism, and pop culture references marked Díaz as a master storyteller capable of bridging diverse genres.

Díaz continued to build on his literary success with the publication of This Is How You Lose Her (2012), a collection of linked stories focusing on themes of love, infidelity, and heartache. The book was a finalist for the National Book Award and further solidified his reputation for creating deeply flawed, yet profoundly human characters.

Beyond his work as a writer, Díaz has made significant contributions as an educator and advocate. He is a professor of creative writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a founding editor of the Boston Review. Through these roles, he has mentored countless aspiring writers and contributed to the literary community’s growth and diversity.

Díaz’s work is celebrated for its candid exploration of the immigrant experience and its unflinching portrayal of the complexities of identity and belonging. His personal experiences of migration, cultural displacement, and the struggle to find one’s voice are intricately woven into his narratives, providing a powerful lens through which readers can understand broader social and political issues.

More details of when and how to enter The Plaza Audio Short Story Prize will be released soon.

ENTER NOW. The Plaza Literary: First Chapters Prize. Judge: US National Book Award Winner, Jason Mott. 1st Prize: £1500 ($1750) (US$1250). Deadline: 31st July 2024.