Junot Diaz on Success and Catastrophe

By Jamilah King Jul 14, 2014

Junot Diaz is a widely popular writer, probably one of the most influential of our generation. So he should feel pretty settled, right? Wrong, according to a recent interview with the Financial Times in which the author sheds some light on the financial realities of the publishing world.

So has success liberated him? "I have that deep-seated fear of catastrophe that a lot of immigrants have," he replies. In the 11 years between Drown and Oscar Wao, his after-tax income from book sales was just $50,000 in total. Things have improved but he continues to teach at MIT. He likes the students, who he says are better for not wanting to be novelists, unlike those in other creative writing classes. "If you think learning salsa is your future, you’re going to be pretty insufferable in salsa classes."

The author goes on to talk about his MacArthur Genius Grant, the Pulitzer and being a slow writer. Read more