Junot Diaz: $500K "genius grant" will change my life

(CBS News) Pulitzer prize-winning novelist Junot Diaz, author of "The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao," "Drown" and his latest book, "This is How You Lose Her," received a $500,000 MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" Monday night. He was among the 23 people who were being recognized for showing exceptional creativity in their work.

Diaz said the award is going to change his life. "It's sort of like someone cutting the little leash around your ankle. It gives you an enormous amount of time and room. It really is like - I told a friend of mine, it's like finding an extra bedroom to your apartment."

Diaz, who writes about the immigrant experience, said he writes about a common theme found in life. He said on "CBS This Morning," "I think that there's something about shifting worlds, coming from one world to the next that, for a lot of people, it strikes a chord. Even if you didn't come from another country, the idea of how do you make a home somewhere new is common to anyone who's either going to college, shifting towns. It makes explicit something that I think many of us feel closely. (And) simultaneously being part of two cultures."

For more with Diaz, as well as fellow MacArthur award recipient Chris Thile, a mandolin virtuoso, click on the video in the player above.

  • Amanda Cochran

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