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Hernan Diaz to speak at Visiting Writer Series event

On Wednesday, Apr. 10, at 5:30 p.m. in the Great Hall, Monmouth will host its Visiting Writer Series with special guest and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Hernan Diaz.

The Visiting Writer Series was introduced to the University back in 2005 as a way to connect students with contemporary authors whose works have impacted the world of literature in a significant way.
Alex Gilvarry, M.F.A, Associate Professor in the Department of English and Graduate Program Director for the M.F.A. in Creative Writing, said, “At the Visiting Writer Series, we want to invite the best writers in the country to come and speak to the Monmouth community, as well as someone who can bring diversity either through their work, ideas, and/or presence.”

Diaz is the author of two novels that have been translated into 34 different languages and a recipient of the John Updike Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Diaz’s first novel, “In the Distance,” was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award in addition to being the winner of the Saroyan International Prize, the Cabell Award, the Prix Page America, and the New American Voices Award.

His second novel, “Trust,” was one of former President Barack Obama’s favorite books of 2022, received the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, and was a “New York Times” bestseller. The novel also won the Kirkus Prize and was longlisted for the Booker Prize. It was listed as a best book of the year by over thirty publications and named one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by “The New York Times,” The Washington Post,” NPR, and “Time” magazine. It was also one of “The New Yorker’s” 12 Essential Reads of the Year.

“I knew Hernan from when we did a reading together back in 2017. I had read his first novel, ‘In the Distance,’ which floored me. It’s a great Western. I’ve wanted to bring him here ever since. When he won the Pulitzer Prize for ‘Trust,’ I was reminded that I never asked him.

“When I asked him last year, he immediately said yes. I’m grateful to the Intercultural Center and the Center for the Arts for their support so we could make this happen,” explained Gilvarry.

Michele McBride, Secretary of the English M.F.A. program, explained that the writing series follows a standard format: Gilvarry will give a brief introduction and then introduce the speaker, the speaker will then read from their work, there will be a conversation between the speaker and Gilvarry, and lastly, the conversation will open up to the audience to ask questions and discuss. She also emphasized that there will be many people in attendance.

“I think it will be a huge turnout. We have always had many people attend, but this particular speaker has gained a lot of RSVPs. Our events have always sparked very creative discussions, and I expect no different from this. Our attendees are excited to hear Mr. Diaz and inquire about his writings and beyond,” explained Mcbride.

Gilvarry added, “The turnout will be more than usual because Hernan Diaz won the Pulitzer for fiction, but there’s still room for all in the Great Hall auditorium. Please join!”

McBride additionally said that people should attend to hear a Pulitzer Prize-winning author read from his work and answer any questions for those interested in Diaz’s work and writing process. According to her, this event is a great opportunity for the Monmouth community to experience a successful writer in person.

Gilvarry concluded, “Our discussion won’t just be about literature. We’ll be discussing the history of finance, stock market crashes, and themes of morality and ethics within business… all of which appear in Diaz’s latest, ‘Trust.’ Come and meet the author and get a book signed. It will be turned into an HBO series soon, so you can meet the man who started it all.”