Renowned author Junot Diaz will deliver the 2017 Institute for Social Research MLK Lecture at noon Jan. 18 in the Rackham Auditorium.

The free lecture is open to the campus community and the public, and will conclude with a 30-minute Q-and-A session.

Junot Diaz

Diaz is the award-winning author of “Drown,” “This is How You Lose Her” and  “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize. He also is the fiction editor at Boston Review and the Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor of Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Diaz has received several honors and recognitions, including a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

At his U-M lecture, which is part of the 2017 Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium, Diaz said, he will be “meditating on the struggle for racial justice” as it relates to the upcoming Donald Trump presidency.

“It is impossible to think of struggles for racial justice without passing through and being deeply informed/inspired by the university-shaking singularity that is Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement,” Diaz said in an email.

Diaz’s writing is “very poignant” about the immigration experience and about people who feel like outsiders in a community, said Ken Kollman, Frederick G.L. Huetwell Professor, professor of political science, LSA; research professor, Center for Political Studies; and director of the Center for Political Studies, Institute for Social Research.

“There’s lots of conversation now about immigration, about the role of not only immigrants but specifically Latino immigrants, in the United States,” Kollman said. “And his novels and stories are useful devices for people to think deeply about some of these questions.”

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