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Visiting Writers' Series LibGuide: Jaquira Diaz


“And years later, this would be exactly how I understood love: thrilling and terrifying, tears and laughter and then tears again. Love, I learned, could destroy you.” – Jaquira Diaz, Ordinary Girls


Ordinary Girls

One of the Must-Read Books of 2019 According to O: The Oprah Magazine * Time * Bustle * Electric Literature * Publishers Weekly * The Millions * The Week * Good Housekeeping "There is more life packed on each page of Ordinary Girls than some lives hold in a lifetime." --Julia Alvarez  In this searing memoir, Jaquira Díaz writes fiercely and eloquently of her challenging girlhood and triumphant coming of age. While growing up in housing projects in Puerto Rico and Miami Beach, Díaz found herself caught between extremes. As her family split apart and her mother battled schizophrenia, she was supported by the love of her friends. As she longed for a family and home, her life was upended by violence. As she celebrated her Puerto Rican culture, she couldn't find support for her burgeoning sexual identity. From her own struggles with depression and sexual assault to Puerto Rico's history of colonialism, every page of Ordinary Girls vibrates with music and lyricism. Díaz writes with raw and refreshing honesty, triumphantly mapping a way out of despair toward love and hope to become her version of the girl she always wanted to be. Reminiscent of Tara Westover's Educated, Kiese Laymon's Heavy, Mary Karr's The Liars' Club, and Terese Marie Mailhot's Heart Berries, Jaquira Díaz's memoir provides a vivid portrait of a life lived in (and beyond) the borders of Puerto Rico and its complicated history--and reads as electrically as a novel.

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Author Photo by Maria Esquinca

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Born in Puerto Rico, Jaquira Díaz was raised between Humacao, Fajardo, and Miami Beach. She is the author of Ordinary Girls: A Memoir, winner of a Whiting Award, a Florida Book Awards Gold Medal, a Lambda Literary Awards finalist, an American Booksellers Association Indies Introduce Selection, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection, an Indie Next Pick, a Library Reads pick, and finalist for the B&N Discover Prize. Ordinary Girls was optioned for television and is currently in development at FX with Díaz as Co-Executive Producer.

The recipient of the Jeanne Córdova Prize for Lesbian/Queer Nonfiction, the Alonzo Davis Fellowship from VCCA, two Pushcart Prizes, an Elizabeth George Foundation grant, and fellowships from MacDowell, the Kenyon Review, Bread Loaf, Sewanee, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, and the Black Mountain Institute at UNLV, Díaz has written for The AtlanticThe GuardianTime MagazineT: The New York Times Style MagazineCondé Nast Traveler, and The Fader, and her stories, poems, and essays have been anthologized in The Best American Essays, The Breakbeat Poets Vol. 4: LatiNext, Best American Experimental Writing, and The Pushcart Prize anthology. In 2022, she held the Mina Hohenberg Darden Chair in Creative Writing at Old Dominion University’s MFA program and a Pabst Endowed Chair for Master Writers at the Atlantic Center for the Arts. Her second book, I Am Deliberate, is forthcoming from Algonquin Books. She lives in New York with her spouse, the writer Lars Horn, and she’s an Assistant Professor of Writing at Columbia University.


Let Puerto Rico Be Free - The Atlantic (2022)

Snowbirds - The Atlantic (2021)

Addressing Mental Illness During the Pandemic - TIME Magazine (2021)

We Have Always Been in Crisis - TIME Magazine (2020)

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Keep up with her on:

- Her Website

- On Instagram


Email Butler University Libraries
Irwin Library: 317-940-9227
Science Library: 317-940-9937

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