Junot Díaz at the 20th Singapore Writers Festival: “Freedom through Fiction”


Junot Díaz is in Singapore for the 20th Singapore Writers Festival, which runs from November 3 to 12, 2017. Olivia Ho (Straits Times) writes, “Dominican-American fiction author Junot Diaz, who writes about the Dominican diaspora and the immigrant experience, creates art that gives a voice to his community.” See the original article in Straits Times to book a reservation to attend “Hope and Resistance in the Age of Dystopia,” a lecture by Junot Díaz on November 11 at 3:30pm, at Victoria Theatre (9 Empress Place).

Another related event is “Take a Break in an Age of Uncertainty,” a panel discussion with Junot Diaz, American comic-strip creator Ben Katchor, University of London academic Sarah Churchwell, and American poet Miriam Bird Greenberg. This discussion will take place on November 12, 2:00pm, at Chamber, The Arts House (1 Old Parliament Lane).

Here are excerpts from Ho’s article, “Freedom through Fiction”:

[. . .] Diaz, 48, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Oscar Wao, which in 2015 was named by a group of American critics polled by BBC Culture as the best novel of the 21st century to date. He will be in town for the 20th edition of the Singapore Writers Festival, which starts on Friday.

[. . .] Diaz says: “Language tends to contain all the structures of power of a society, but also the traditions of resistance to that power.”

[. . .] His most recent work is Islandborn, a picture book published this year about a young immigrant girl who was born in the Dominican Republic, but has no memory of it. A school assignment inspires her to start collecting stories from her family members in an attempt to picture her birthplace. “I wrote Islandborn because my goddaughters wanted to see a book where girls like them were the protagonist,” he says. [. . .]

“Even though I believe in literature with all my heart, I’m not sure literary culture is going to single-handedly change the hostility towards immigrants worldwide,” he says. “Only a movement can do that – majorities realising that we’re in this madness together and that immigrants are not the enemy – predatory economic elites are.” [. . .]

For original article, see http://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/arts/freedom-through-fiction

[Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.]

For more about the Singapore Writers Festival:



Junot Díaz’s SWF page:


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