Hernan Diaz is the author of the novel In the Distance (Coffee House Press, 2017), a finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize and PEN/Faulkner Award. Publisher’s Weekly named it a Top Ten Book of the Year, and called it, “a brilliant debut.” It was also the winner of the Saroyan International Prize, the Cabell Award, the Prix Page America, and the New American Voices Award, among other distinctions. A recipient of a 2019 Whiting Award, Diaz has received fellowships from Bread Loaf and the MacDowell Colony. In 2012, he published a study of Borges’s influence on North American literature, Borges, between History and Eternity (Bloomsbury, 2012). His work has been published in Cabinet, The New York Times, The Kenyon Review, Playboy, Granta, The Paris Review, and elsewhere.
In the Distance takes place in the American West in the 19th Century. In an interview with the Paris Review, Diaz was asked whether he considers the novel a Western. “Is it a Western? To some extent, because, of course, it takes place in the West. However, the novel is set, for the most part, in antebellum America, and most Westerns are post–Civil War. That’s a big difference. And then the protagonist is not going west, he’s going east, against the big westward push, following a reverse Manifest Destiny of sorts. There are many fossilized moments of the Western genre that appear throughout the novel, but I tried to disappoint and go against them. I wanted to write a book that relies on the Western tradition but ultimately subverts it.”
Diaz serves as associate director of the Hispanic Institute at Columbia University, where he edits the journal Revista Hispánica Moderna, or RHM. Born in Argentina, he was raised in Sweden, studied in London and New York, and now lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter.
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