The Good, the Bad and the Evil: Supernatural and Spooky Works by Latinx Writers

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Latinx are hardly strangers to supernatural folklore and magical realism has long been an essential element in some of the most renowned literature hailing from Latin America. That said, it should come as no surprise that the Latinas featured on this list tap into the creepier, darker sides of our cultura to develop their own supernatural page-turners. Imbued with Latinx folklore, inspired by supernatural staples like vampires, or a creepy tale that’s truly one-of-a-kind, the following works are an ode to the macabre and the spooky so read with caution and maybe some sage.

Valeria Luiselli

Valeria Luiselli is one of Mexico’s most celebrated writers and her book “The Story of my Teeth” is a creepy and strange adventure that tells the life of a man through his dientes. Gustavo Sánchez Sánchez, known as “Highway” is the unreliable narrator auctioning his teeth claiming they belonged to the likes of Plato, Petrarch, and Virginia Woolf. Highway’s journey to sell his teeth becomes an opportunity to share his story, and that includes a magical encounter with malevolent clowns that only adds to the delusions of the narrator. Born in 1983, Luiselli lives in the Bronx and received the National Book Foundation ‘5 under 35’ award.

Learn more about her on our list of acclaimed Mexican writers.

Zoraida Córdova

Ecuadorian writer Zoraida Córdova is known for her “Brooklyn Brujas” series that features reluctant brujas, magic, and even Death herself. The first book in the series, “Labyrinth Lost,” won an International Latino Book Award and has been optioned by Paramount. She’s also published the “The Vicious Deep” trilogy about mermaids not of the Disney persuasion but rather razor-toothed, and has also included mermen, and a Kraken. Córdova is acclaimed for her unique voice in the paranormal genre in YA literature and is currently working on the third book in the Brujas series set for release next year.

Samanta Schweblin

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Cultura. Samanta Schweblin. Es una de las autoras argentinas más exitosas. Sus historias de fantasía y terror cautivan cada día a más lectores. Secretos de su estilo. Para la promoción de la última novela de Samanta Schweblin, “Kentukis”, la editorial que publica sus libros instaló grandes afiches en puntos estratégicos de la ciudad. Por estos días, cualquier transeúnte atento podrá descubrir el bello retrato de la escritora que ilustra la campaña, en estaciones de subte, colectivos y paredes vacías de Buenos Aires. Un despliegue inusual para el alicaído mercado editorial argentino que, más conservador que nunca, sólo apuesta sobre seguro. Y es que, aunque a primera vista la literatura de Schweblin está muy alejada de las fórmulas de los bestsellers habituales, algo en la química de sus textos -fantasía, terror y angustia psicológica combinados con un estilo impecable- funciona cada vez mejor en la Argentina y el mundo. Desde su primer libro de cuentos – “El núcleo del disturbio” (Booket)- hasta hoy, su narrativa ha ganado calidad, consolidándose como una voz muy personal dentro del panorama literario local. La lista de sus reconocimientos ya es muy larga. Por ejemplo, ganó el premio de Narrativa Breve Rivera del Duero en 2015 por su colección de cuentos “Siete casas vacías” (Páginas de espuma). También en 2017 fue seleccionada finalista del Man Booker International Prize por “Distancia de rescate” (Random House), su libro más celebrado, que además le permitió quedarse con el premio Tournament of Books y el Shirley Jackson, un galardón en homenaje a la gran autora de terror norteamericana. Justamente, ahora, Schweblin trabaja en una adaptación al cine de esta novela corta que le ha dado tantas satisfacciones, junto a la directora peruana Claudia Llosa. Nota en completa en Revista Noticias. Foto: Juan Ferrari @juanferrari1618 #revistanoticias #cultura #escritores #samantaschweblin #juanferrari

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Argentine author Samanta Schweblin has received acclaim for her terrifying psychological thriller “Fever Dream”. The ghost story serves as a grotesque page-turner where a dying woman in a clinic in Argentina is interrogated by a child named David about the events that led to her illness. It’s a vivid and surrealist cautionary tale about the dangers of toxins. Schweblin lives in Berlin and has had her work translated into more than 20 languages, the English translation of “Fever Dream” was released in 2017.

Learn more about her on our list of acclaimed Argentine writers.

Guadalupe Garcia McCall

Award-winning poet and writer Guadalupe Garcia McCall was inspired by her Mexican roots when she developed the young adult novel “The Summer of Mariposas”. The book tells the story of Odilla and her four sisters who find a dead body and set out on a journey to return him to his family in Mexico. Their return to Texas is filled with supernatural elements including La Llorona herself, a bruja, a coven of half-human barn owls and even chupacabras. The novel is a celebration of sisterhood and has been described as the Mexican-American interpretation of the “The Odyssey”. McCall was born in Piedras Negras, Coahuila and resides in San Antonio where she works as a high school English teacher.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Silvia Moreno-Garcia
CREDIT: Martin Dee, 2017

Mexican-Canadian novelist Silvia Moreno-Garcia is known for science fictions works for which she has won numerous accolades including the World Fantasy Award. From sorcery in Mexico City (“Signal to Noise”) to narco-vampires in Mexico City in “Certain Dark Things”, Moreno-Garcia books showcase a dark and other-worldly side of Mexico filled with magical elements and imaginative prose. She is the publisher of Innsmouth Free Press and also co-edits The Jewish Mexican Literary Review and the horror magazine The Dark.

Kathleen Alcalá

Kathleen Alcalá’s debut book “Mrs. Vargas and the Dead Naturalist” was critically acclaimed and awarded the King County Publication Award in 1992. The Mexican-American writer published the collection of 14 stories set in the Southwest and Mexico and infused with magical realism. Her debut novel “Spirits of the Ordinary” weaves together folklore and fantasy through the story a Jewish family in Mexico made up of an alchemist, a clairvoyant and a gold-obsessed and rebellious son. Magical realism once again plays a part in her writing, reminiscent of Isabel Allende’s iconic book “The House of Spirits.” Alcalá lives in Washington and teaches creative writing.

Yvonne Navarro

True horror fiction fans will delight in Yvonne Navarro’s 1993 debut novel “Afterage”, a finalist for the Bram Stoker award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel. The story takes place in downtown Chicago after a vampire uprising that destroyed the human race and what remains of them is now reserved as food for the undead. A team of mortal guerrillas unites to set the captives free using what knowledge they have to defeat the vampires. Navarro is lzo known for contributing to the “Buffyverse” having written seven novels inspired by “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”.

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