25 March 2013
The US author won the £30,000 prize - the world's richest short story award - for Miss Lora ...
The US author won the £30,000 prize - the world's richest short story award - for Miss Lora
Junot Diaz, who has a Pulitzer Prize and a MacArthur Fellowship 'genius grant' to his name, beat UK writers Mark Haddon, Sarah Hall, Cynan Jones, Toby Litt and Ali Smith to the prize.
Miss Lora, the story of a young man's sexual awakening in the 1980s, is included in Junot Diaz's 2012 collection, This Is How You Lose Her.
Junot Diaz said: 'So many of the young men I grew up with had, during their adolescences, these difficult-to-categorize sexual relationships with older women. What's unnerving is that because we think of adolescent boys – especially teenagers of colour – as already hypersexualized, we tend not to consider these kinds of relationships as criminal and abusive as we do similar relationships that involve teenage girls. I wanted to jump right into the middle of the awful ambivalence. And I also wanted to do justice to that mid-1980s atmosphere of apocalyptic dread that I grew up in. So many of my students and younger nephews have no idea how fearsomely apocalyptic that period was, how the shadow of nuclear annihilation was over all of us. I guess this is one of those sex and the apocalypse stories, my very own, New Jersey, Mon Amour.'
Judge Andrew Holgate, literary editor of The Sunday Times, said: ‘If the test of an outstanding short story is that it deepens with every reading, then Junot Díaz 's Miss Lora passes that test with flying colours. It is a rich, precise and challenging story whose emotional pull becomes more and more apparent with each revisit. Díaz is one of the most exciting voices in the language, and a wonderful addition to an already distinguished list of international winners. The prize goes from strength to strength, the Sunday Times' commitment to it and passion for the short story in general remains very strong, and we are looking forward already to what the 2014 prize will bring.’
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