Jaquira Díaz

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Jaquira Diaz
Díaz at AWP Conference 2014
Díaz at AWP Conference 2014
BornHumacao, Puerto Rico
OccupationWriter
ResidenceMiami Beach, Florida
Notable awardsPushcart Prize

Jaquira Díaz is a Puerto Rican fiction writer, essayist, journalist, cultural critic, and contributor to many notable periodicals. Her work has appeared in The Best American Essays, The Kenyon Review, Tin House, The Sun, The Fader, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, Longreads, The Southern Review[1] and other places. She is an editor at the Kenyon Review and a visiting professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.[2] As of 2016 she lived and worked in Miami Beach, Florida.[3][4]

Early life[edit]

Jaquira Díaz was born in Puerto Rico. Growing up, her family lived in the Puerto Rican housing projects, colloquially referred to as el caserío. The neighborhood was made up of government housing, and had something of a dangerous reputation. Díaz, in an interview she gave Origins, tells stories of being menaced by a machete-armed man, and of raids by the local Police force, referred to as los camarones.[5] When she was older, her family moved to Miami. Growing up in Miami Beach during what she describes as the city's "urban blight,"[6][7] her life was difficult, and was marked by drug use, attempts at suicide, and encounters with the law.[8][9] Díaz contributes some of her identity issues to being what she describes as "a closeted queer girl" in a neighborhood where gay people were harassed and attacked. Another issue was the family's financial situation. Her father, who had studied at the University of Puerto Rico and whom she describes as a lover of poetry and literature, became a drug dealer in order to support the family.[10] As she grew older, writing continued to be an important outlet, and her writing developed a semi-autobiographical character, often dealing with suicide, drug use, and identity.[11]

Career[edit]

Díaz's fiction and essays, which are predominantly set in Puerto Rico and Miami, have been described as "lyrical" and "urgent" and are often focused on the intensely personal tragedies and triumphs of young women maturing in a dangerous world.[12] In addition to her literary writing, Díaz writes about crime, politics, sexuality, race, music, and culture, and has been described as an elegant prose stylist.[13] In 2017, Los Angeles Times critic Walton Muyumba listed Díaz as "part of a necessary cipher of extremely gifted freestylers" that includes writers Ta-Nehisi Coates, Isabel Wilkerson, Carol Anderson, Claudia Rankine, Terrance Hayes, Kiese Laymon, Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, Junot Díaz, and Jelani Cobb,[14] and she was listed among Remezcla's "15 Latinx Music Journalists You Should be Reading"[15] and was included in NPR's Alt.Latino's Favorites: The Songs of 2017, as one of "the cream of the crop of Latinx music writers."[16] In 2018, Electric Literature's Ivelisse Rodriguez named her among the writers who "are changing the topography of Puerto Rican literature," describing Díaz's essays as being "about the awakening of sexual desire and the sexual threat all women experience."[17]

Díaz holds a B.A. from the University of Central Florida and an M.F.A. from the University of South Florida, and has been the recipient of fellowships from The Kenyon Review, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, the Ragdale Foundation, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, The MacDowell Colony, the Tin House Summer Writers' Workshop, the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and the Sewanee Writers' Conference, as well as an NEA Distinguished Fellowship from the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences.[18]

In May 2018, Díaz announced that she had signed a two-book deal with Algonquin Books;[19] the first book, Ordinary Girls, a memoir, will be published by Algonquin on October 29, 2019, and will explore themes of girlhood in a dangerous world, and coming of age in the projects of Puerto Rico and the streets of Miami. The second book, I am Deliberate, will be a novel.[20][21]

Selected works[edit]

Memoirs
  • Ordinary Girls (October 2019) ISBN 978-1616209131
Essays
Short stories
Other work

Awards and honors[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ruiz, Matthew Ismael (16 October 2017). "15 Latinx Music Journalists You Should Be Reading". Remezcla. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  2. ^ "Kenyon Review Newsletter, September 2018". Kenyon Review. 1 September 2018. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  3. ^ MacCauley, Jennifer Maritza (5 March 2016). "Life, Story, Action: Jaquira Díaz". Origins. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  4. ^ "Ask a Local: Jaquira Díaz, Miami Beach, FL". The Common. 30 July 2015. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  5. ^ MacCauley, Jennifer Maritza (5 March 2016). "Life, Story, Action: Jaquira Díaz". Origins. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  6. ^ "Ask a Local: Jaquira Díaz, Miami Beach, FL". The Common. 30 July 2015. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  7. ^ Martinez, Nicole (17 September 2015). "15 Views of Miami, as told by Jaquira Díaz". The New Tropic. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  8. ^ Martinez, Nicole (17 September 2015). "15 Views of Miami, as told by Jaquira Díaz". The New Tropic. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  9. ^ "The Kenyon Review Conversations: Jaquira Díaz". The Kenyon Review. 1 November 2015. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  10. ^ Philyaw, Deesha. "VISIBLE: Women Writers of Color: Jaquira Díaz". Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  11. ^ MacCauley, Jennifer Maritza (5 March 2016). "Life, Story, Action: Jaquira Díaz". Origins. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  12. ^ Philyaw, Deesha (17 August 2016). "VISIBLE: Women Writers of Color: Jaquira Díaz". The Rumpus. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  13. ^ Peña, Daniel. "Las Damas: The New Generation of Latina Writers". Ploughshares. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  14. ^ Muyumba, Walton (29 September 2017). "Ta-Nehisi Coates blazes a singular intellectual path in 'We Were Eight Years in Power'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  15. ^ Ruiz, Matthew Ismael (16 October 2017). "15 Latinx Music Journalists You Should Be Reading". Remezcla. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  16. ^ Contreras, Felix (21 December 2017). "Alt.Latino's Favorites: The Songs of 2017". NPR.org (Alt.Latino). Retrieved 23 December 2017.
  17. ^ Rodriguez, Ivelisse (August 15, 2018). "16 Puerto Rican Women and No-binary Writers Telling New Stories". Electric Literature.
  18. ^ "The Kenyon Review Fellowships History". Kenyon Review. Retrieved 2017-12-16.
  19. ^ Díaz, Jaquira (22 May 2018). "For the last ten years, I've been writing a book about girls. A few months ago, my fierce and wonderful agent, @michellebrower said, "Tell me your dreams, and I will work to make them come true." And then she did. I can't wait to share this book with you". Twitter. Retrieved 2018-11-07.
  20. ^ Musgrave-Johnson, Devon (September 15, 2016). "Meet the New KR Fellows, Margaree Little and Jaquira Diaz". Kenyon Collegian.
  21. ^ Rodriguez, Ivelisse (August 15, 2018). "16 Puerto Rican and No-binary Writers Telling New Stories". Electric Literature.
  22. ^ "2017 International Literary Award Winners". The Center for Women Writers. 1 August 2017. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  23. ^ "The Essay Prize 2016 Nominees". The Essay Prize. 1 October 2016. Retrieved 1 December 2017.

External links[edit]