Orlando Dispatch

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Former Orlando resident and UCF grad receives major national literary award

On Wednesday night, former Orlando resident and UCF grad Jaquira Díaz won a prestigious $50,000 Whiting Award, the U.S.’s largest literary award for emerging writers.

Ten writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and drama are chosen each year. Díaz won for her nonfiction work, Ordinary Girls, which the Whiting Foundation called a “devastating memoir … packed with indelible images of violence and tenderness that evoke landscapes and neighborhoods, families and strangers, drink and drugs and junk food and beach sand and the bodies of lovers and friends.”

Her story of biracial identity includes her maternal grandmother mocking her for her Blackness, even shaving off her “bad” hair, while her paternal grandmother, who is “unapologetically Boricua, unapologetically Black” instilled in Díaz her pride in being Black.

The “ordinary girls” are her friends, “the loudmouths, the troublemakers, the practical jokers.…

Read more at Orlando Weekly

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