Author Junot Diaz on Writing & Artistic Process

Last night, I had the outstanding privilege of hearing a keynote address by Pulitzer Prize recipient Junot Diaz, author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. During his keynote, which kicked off Montgomery County Community College’s annual Writers Conference, Diaz discussed his artistic process and the role of the arts in our society. Here are some quotes and paraphrases from the keynote:

Young people choose majors out of fear. The arts are different. “All that is good in humanity is found in the arts.”

“Every time we touch the arts, the little bit of humanity we have grows brighter.”

You can’t serve two masters — art or capitalism. Are you doing something to make the world better?

Who you are always comes out in your art – including human limitations.

“People think that they have to write to be a writer. To be a writer, you have to read first.”

 “The medium for a writer is other people’s nervous systems.” Most writing fails because the writer exerts too much control.

“The difference between reality & dreams is that the real world resists us.” The world must resist your characters.

“When you are reading you are off line. Literature functions at the speed of the human soul.”

Junot Diaz engages in a Q & A session with students before the keynote.


About Alana J. Mauger

A writer by both profession and passion, Alana J. Mauger has 15+ years of experience in the areas of journalism, corporate communications, social media, voice narration, and radio. Her non-writing interests include abstract art, music (the harder, the better), politics, ice hockey (go Flyers!) and many types of activism. Alana holds degrees in humanities, professional writing (undergraduate) and education (graduate) and is a vegan. Follow her on Twitter @alanajanelle. View all posts by Alana J. Mauger

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