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Location: Baltimore-DC Area

Author who writes for a living and lives for writing. // WOMB: a novel in utero (Merge Publishing 2017) // TRACKS: A Novel in Stories (Atticus Books 2011) // FLIGHTLESS GOOSE, a storybook for children (Writers Lair Books 2008) // www.EricDGoodman.com

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Novel Fosters Community

Last year, Pulizter-Prize winning author Junot Diaz filled the room (two, in fact, with the event televised in a second room due to the enormous crowd) at the 2009 CityLit Festival. Diaz is a native of Dominican Republic and currently a professor of literature at MIT.

After a reading from The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Woa to the CityLit crowd in Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt library, Diaz opened the floor to questions. During the session, he was asked whether he was intentionally trying to confuse people who “didn’t get” science fiction references or know Spanish.

His answer was interesting.

Diaz explained that the intent of a novel is to foster community. He said that he imagined a situation in which a fan boy on a bus would reach out to an old Dominican grandmother and ask what something meant, or vice versa.

Although the creation of a novel is a solitary thing, it is designed to encourage community – the gathering together of people to discuss the novel and what is in it.

Just an interesting thought to come out of the brief, wondrous session of Junot Diaz at last year’s CityLit Festival. (The image of the fan boy and Dominican woman having a conversation they normally would have is a scene worthy of a Diaz novel itself.)

You can visit Junot Diaz at his website: www.junotdiaz.com.

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