With his 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction award still just a few months old, Dominican-American author Junot Díaz is enjoying a literary honeymoon. After pouring 11 years into writing his debut novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao(which also picked up a National Book Critics Circle Award), Díaz deserves a break. Having grown up in severe poverty in New Jersey before earning degrees at both Rutgers and Cornell, he went on to write short fiction for The New Yorkermagazine (which listed him as one of the top 20 writers for the 21st century) and The Paris Review, among others. In 1996, Díaz released Drown, a collection of semi-autobiographical short stories told from the point of view of a Dominican teen struggling to adapt to life in America. In 2007, he completed Wondrous Life, the story of a nerdy teenage Dominican immigrant who turns to sci-fi novels and action figures for comfort as he navigates a confusing life balancing two cultures and a less-than-happy home. The 80s were the perfect time for nerds, Díaz has said. With personal computing, role-playing games, comic books, video games, it was like this perfect storm of nerdery. Díaz is now a professor at MIT, teaching classes in between speaking engagements and award ceremonies. 7:30 p.m. Hobby Center, Zilkha Hall, 800 Bagby. For information, call 713-521-2026 or visit www.inprinthouston.org. $5.
Mon., Sept. 15, 7:30 p.m., 2008