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Latina Reads: 12 Haitian Women Authors To Make Room For On Your Bookshelves

Haiti is a Caribbean country rich in revolution and Black freedom. Enslaved Africans achieved independence from France in 1804, after centuries of colonial rule. Haiti, which means “mountainous country” in the language of the Taínos who first inhabited the land, is the source of inspiration for the works of the women on this list — for its beauty, its resistance and its turmoil.

Here, brilliant Haitian women authors, on the island and in the diaspora, you should know and read.

1. Gina Athena Ulysse

(Photo Credit: Wesleyan University)

Gina Athena Ulysse is a multi-hyphenated powerhouse born in Pétion-Ville, Haïti who is currently Professor of anthropology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. The feminist artist-anthropologist-activist has been published in several poetry collections and journals. She is best known for her 2015 book Why Haiti Needs New Narratives: A Post-Quake Chronicle.”

2. Marie Celie Agnant

Marie-Célie Agnant was born in born 1953 in Port-au-Prince and has lived in Quebec, Canada since 1970. Acclaimed for her multitude of works, including novels, poems and children’s books, Agnant is known for her great contributions to Haitian literature. “La Dot de Sara” was the 1995 finalist for the Desjardins literary prize, while “Le Silence comme le sang” was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award in 1997. Her books deal with themes like the social status of women, racism, exile and loneliness. She’s also known to make appearances on the stage with Vermont’s Bread & Puppet Theater.

3. Paulette Poujol Oriol

Paulette Poujol Oriol has been recognized as one of Haiti’s leading literary figures as well as one of the most prominent individuals in Haiti’s feminist movement. Her French-language novel “Le Creuset,” published in 1980, follows the lives of a Haitian family over more than a century and is considered by many to be the best of her works. The story presents issues of  race, prejudice, education and feminism within Haiti. She died of a heart attack in March of 2011 in Port-au-Prince.

4. Roxane Gay

Author Roxane Gay will be the 2018 Emily Balch Speaker! ???? Gay's many literary accomplishments include the bestselling essay collection "Bad Feminist." She'll visit campus on Nov. 6 for an onstage interview and Q&A in the Great Hall followed by a dessert reception in Rhoads. . Each year, the Emily Balch Speaker Series invites a critically acclaimed author to spend an evening with Bryn Mawr's first-year students. . The speaker series brings together the entire freshman class for a conversation with an author whose work they may just have encountered in class. The format — a formal lecture followed by an informal conversation and an even more informal dessert reception — provides the perfect combination of intellectual engagement, excitement, and fun. . In recent years, the Balch Speaker Series has featured award-winning novelist and essayist Zadie Smith; novelist and MacArthur "Genius" Fellow Karen Russell; and graphic novelist Alison Bechdel. . The 2017 speaker was author and historian Jill Lepore, who appeared on campus on Oct. 26 for an interview and question-and-answer session, followed by the dessert reception. More information on our homepage (link in bio). #BMCbanter #EmilyBalch #RoxaneGay

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Born in Omaha, Nebraska to a family of Haitian descent, Roxane Gay, 43, is a common fixture on the bestseller list and one of the most prominent feminist writers in the U.S. Her 2014 debut novel, “An Untamed State,” centers on Mireille Duval Jameson, a Haitian-American woman who is kidnapped for ransom and explores themes of race, privilege, sexual violence, family and the immigrant experience. Her 2014 essay collection “Bad Feminist” addresses feminist ideology and how it can sometimes be at odds with what modern women enjoy.: “In each of these essays, I’m very much trying to show how feminism influences my life for better or worse. It just shows what it’s like to move through the world as a woman. It’s not even about feminism per se, it’s about humanity and empathy,” she told TIME.  In May of 2018, she published “Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture,” featuring first-person essays on rape, assault and harassment.

5. Lenelle Moise

Lenelle Moise is an award-winning poet, actress and playwright born in Port-au-Prince and currently based in the United States. Her work centers on race, gender, class, immigration and sexuality and has been featured in several anthologies, including “Word Warriors: 35 Women Leaders in the Spoken Word Revolution” and “We Don’t Need Another Wave: Dispatches from the Next Generation of Feminists.” Her debut book “Haiti Glass” was released in 2014 and features verse and prose on growing up a Haitian immigrant in the suburbs of Boston.  She was the 2017 Lakes Writer-in-Residence at Smith College.

6. Évelyne Trouillot

In her work, Haitian Évelyne Trouillot (b. 1954) often retrieves the role of women in Haitian life and history from what she describes as an “invisible” situation. She has authored two children’s books, a collection of poetry, two books of stories, and two novels. Trouillot is renowned for her 2003 novel Rosalie l’infame, “inspired by a colonial memoirist report of an African midwife who kept a cord of some 60 knots, each knot commemorating a child she had spared from a life of slavery by killing it at birth.” #évelynetrouillot #haiti #caribbeanculture #caribbeanliterature #haitianliterature #caribbeanwriters #caribbeing #iamcaribbeing #jesuiscaribbeing #mwencaribbeing #bebold #becolorful #becaribbeing #watch #discover #engage Image Credit: www.kreyolicious.com

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Hailing from a famous literary family, Évelyne Trouillot’s contributions to the literary canon in Haiti are recognized as being some of the best works to come out of the country. Her most famous book is her debut novel “Rosalie l’infâme” (“The Infamous Rosalie”), which was  inspired by a colonial memoirist’s reports of an African midwife who had a cord with about 60 knots commemorating the children she spared from slavery by killing them at birth. The book was released in 2003 for which she received the Prix de la romancière francophone du Club Soroptimist de Grenoble, awarded to women who’ve written a French novel.

7. Kettly Mars

Kettly Mars was born in 1958 in Port-au-Prince, and her hometown has been an inspiration for many of her works. Mars’ first novel, “Kasalé,” is a portrait of a rural Haitian community set in Rivière-Froide, near Port-au-Prince, exploring rural family dynamics. Her most famous and powerful novel  “Saisons sauvages” recounts the kidnapping of a journalist named Daniel Leroy during the early years of François Duvalier’s dictatorship. Among other themes, “Savage Seasons” (translated in 2015)  is a reflection on dictatorship, gendered and sexual violence, and the uses of Vodou in Haiti during Duvalier’s reign .

8. Yanick Lahens

Yanick Lahens was born in Port-au-Prince in 1953 and educated in France, later returning to Haiti to teach literature at the university in her hometown. She went on to take a role in the Ministry for Culture, where she spearheaded the “Road to Slavery” project focused on addressing enslavement in Haiti.  Her latest, “Bain de lune,” chronicles the history of a family in rural Haiti over more than four generations. She received the French literary prize Prix Femina for the novel in 2014.

9. Myriam J.A. Chancy

Visiting Chihuly exhibit @ Catalina Island Museum

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Myriam J.A. Chancy is a Haitian-Canadian writer who was born in Port-au-Prince in 1970 and raised in Quebec City, Canada.  At 19, she signed her first book contract for a young adult novel, and in 2011 she was awarded the Guyana Prize in Literature Caribbean Award for Best Fiction for her third novel, “The Loneliness of Angels.” Her writing focuses on  Haitian culture, gender, class, sexuality and Caribbean women’s studies. She is currently a Professor of Africana Studies at the University of Cincinnati.

10. Michèle-Jessica Fièvre

My cubicle is all geeked up

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Michèle-Jessica Fièvre, also known as  M.J., is a 37-year-old Haitian-born writer and educator who has lived in Florida since 2002. She self-published her first mystery novel “Le Feu de la vengeance” at 16, and at 19 she published her first young adult book, “La Statuette Maléfique.” She’s published a total of nine books in French. In 2015, she released her memoir (in English) titled “A Sky the Color of Chaos,” which centers on her tumultuous childhood during Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s reign in Haiti. The book contrasts Haiti’s rich culture and natural beauty with the terror in Port-au-Prince’s streets and the turmoil inside M.J.’s own home. M.J. is a writing coach and currently works as program coordinator at ReadCaribbean for the Miami Book Fair.

11. Edwidge Danticat

Haitian-American novelist and short story writer Edwidge Danticat, 49, has authored several acclaimed books, including “Breath, Eyes, Memory,” an Oprah Book Club selection. She received the 1999 American Book Award for “The Farming of Bones” about the love affair of a young Haitian woman while living in the Dominican Republic in the midst of the Parsley Massacre that left roughly 12,000-35,000 Haitians living in their neighboring country dead. Her memoir, “Brother, I’m Dying,” was a 2007 finalist for the National Book Award and a 2008 winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography.

12. Ida Faubert

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Ida Faubert was the daughter of the former president of Haïti, Lysius Salomon. Born Gertrude Florentine Félicitée Ida in 1882 in Port-au-Prince, she went on to make a name for herself with her published works. She is renowned for “Coeur des Îles,” “Histoires d’Haïti et d’ailleurs”and Œuvres.” In 1959, Faubert published a collection of stories, “Sous le soleil caraïbe,which portrayed the daily life of Haiti. She lived in Paris until her death in 1969.

Read: Latina Reads: Nicaraguan Escritoras Whose Works You Won’t Be Able To Put Down

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Netflix Is Turning Gabriel García Márquez’s Classic ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ Into A Series

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Netflix Is Turning Gabriel García Márquez’s Classic ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ Into A Series

Fans of magical realism rejoice. On Wednesday, Netflix announced it acquired the rights to Gabriel García Márquez’s “One Hundred Years of Solitude” and will be turning the literary masterpiece into a Spanish-language series.

This is the first time the 1967 novel, considered “one of the most significant works of the 20th Century,” will be adapted for screen. For years, the author, who died in 2014, refused to sell the film rights, believing the story could not be done justice through a two-hour project, according to Deadline.

Rodrigo Garcia and Gonzalo García Barcha, García Márquez’s sons, who are serving as executive producers on the show, believe a series is an appropriate approach to the book.

“For decades, our father was reluctant to sell the film rights to Cien Años de Soledad. He believed that it could not be made under the time constraints of a feature film, or that producing it in a language other than Spanish would not do it justice,” Rodrigo Garcia told BuzzFeed News, adding that the “current golden age of series,” with “the level of talented writing and directing, the cinematic quality of content,” changed the family’s mind.

“The time could not be better to bring an adaptation to the extraordinary global viewership that Netflix provides,” he continued.

The series will be filmed in Colombia.

“One Hundred Years of Solitude” tells the story of the multi-generational Buendia family, whose patriarch Jose Arcadio Buendia founded Macondo, a fictional town in the South American country.

The book has sold more than 50 million copies and has been translated into 46 languages.

In a statement, Francisco Ramos, Netflix’s vice president of Spanish-language content, said, “We know our members around the world love watching Spanish-language films and series and we feel this will be a perfect match of project and our platform.”

He’s right. Since announcing the adaptation, fans of the magical realism novel have been celebrating the news.

There’s no word yet on when the series will debut and who will star in it.

Read: This Film About Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is At The Center Of The Most Expensive Sundance Documentary Deal Of All Time

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These 13 Books On Self-Care Will Help You Start the New Year Right

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These 13 Books On Self-Care Will Help You Start the New Year Right

The holidays are all about love, familia, and good food but it can also be a stressful and overwhelming time especially for those who live with mental health conditions. The books featured on this list are meant to help provide you with the resources to not only get through the holidays but also start the new year feeling poderosa. Because self-care is different for everyone, this roundup includes a variety of books that focus on traditional practices and methods as well as more practical and holistic approaches. Some of the women are self-care gurus and/or mental health care advocates and others are writers or medical professionals who’ve dealt with their owns struggles and come out of it empowered.

With 2019 just weeks away, go ahead and take a moment to read through this compilation to find the best book that’ll remind you that you are a fierce, fly, and focused superwoman ready for what’s coming next.

 “You Have the Right to Remain Fat” by Virgie Tovar

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1 day until the official release date!

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Virgie Tovar’s manifesto for curvy women everywhere is a short but powerful read debunking diet culture beliefs that perpetuate the idea that skinny is the ultimate goal. Even with today’s seemingly more body positive message, there is the still the notion that healthy equals skinny and Tovar is not here for it. After twenty years of dieting, she decides to just let herself be and this book is a testament to her newfound freedom and acceptance of her fly self as is, dismantling fatpbobia in the process.

Buy it here.

“The Latina Guide to Health: Consejos and Caring Answers” by Jane L. Delgado

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Jane L. Delgado is a Cuban-American health care advocate and president and CEO of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health. With Latinas and their specific health issues and lifestyle in mind, Delgado’s guide breaks down medical myths and answers relevant questions. Sprinkled with “consejos”  like putting yourself first despite our tendencies to want to take care of others, the book also provides tips on how to feed your mind, body, and spirit and how to navigate the medical system.

Buy it here.

“The Color Of My Mind: Mental Health Narratives from People of Color” by Dior Vargas

Queer Latinx mental health activist Dior Vargas is known for being a vocal supporter of mental health awareness among people of color. Her viral People of Color and Mental Illness photo project in 2014 is the basis for this book published earlier this year. “The Color of My Mind” is a diverse counterpart to what Vargas sees is a homogenization of mental health conditions and the communities they affect. The book contains images and stories of 34 various POC discussing their trials, the strength they gained, and the lessons they learned.

Buy it here.

“The Color of Hope: People of Color Mental Health Narratives” edited by Vanessa Hazzard and Iresha Picot

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Vanessa Hazzard and Iresha Picot were inspired to put together “The Color of Hope” for POC after learning that less than  20 percent of psychologists identify as a minority yet mental illness is prevalent among these underrepresented communities. The book features more than 20 essays, interviews, and poems by people of color living with depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder and other health conditions as well as those loved ones affected by their conditions. It’s a powerful and emotional journey through their personal experiences with mental illness in a community that more often than not doesn’t confront these issues.

Buy it here.

“Latino Families in Therapy” by Celia Jaes Falicov

The second edition of the acclaimed “Latino Families in Therapy” by Celia Jaes Falicov is an updated guide written mainly for clinical practitioners. The book examines family dynamics, environmental stressors, and migration experiences to better understand what affects Latino families and their mental health. With such a small number of POC working in mental health care this book is an essential read to encourage understanding of culturally specific issues affecting patients.

Buy it here.

“What If This Were Enough?” by Heather Havrilesky

Acclaimed writer Heather Havrilesky released this collection of essays to encourage readers to embrace imperfection in everyday life. Her characteristic humor and inspirational approach made her famous through her “Ask Polly” advice column for The Cut and it’s also present here. She deconstructs the prevailing idea that buying new products and adopting a new lifestyle will lead to a better life and instead encourages readers to live in the imperfect present to find contentment.

Buy it here.

“You Don’t Have To Like Me: Essays on Growing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding Feminism” by Alida Nugent

Part feminist manifesto and part a declaration of self-love, “You Don’t Have to Like Me”  is a testament to the empowering effects of self-love and acceptance. Alida Nugent approaches the dark moments in her life including her struggles with an eating disorder and her initially complicated relationship with feminism with wit and sincerity.  She discusses deep issues like embracing her biracial identity and more relatable topics like being unapologetic about her love for being extra when it comes to her makeup. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll be inspired to love yourself as unapologetically as she does.

Buy it here.

“Bloom: A Gift For The Girl Learning To Love Her Beautiful Soul” by Shani Jay

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We’re all guilty of looking out there for our happiness. We buy the dream house, the right car, and maybe even those new boobs. We rush around like a bunch of crazies, swiping left & right like life depends on it, trying desperately to find our other half. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ But we forgot that we’re already whole. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We think that more money, and more stuff is going to make us happy. I used to think this too. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ But then we get the raise, we get the Chanel handbag, we get the bigger house — and it’s still not enough. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ So we look around and see what else might fill that void we feel within. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ But it doesn’t matter how much more we do or get on the outside — it has little to no effect on the inside. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It’s the same when it comes to people. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We all want to be loved; it’s a basic human need. So we devote our lives to searching for the special someone who’s going to give us that love we crave. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ But we don’t love ourselves. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ And that’s why we spend the rest of our lives struggling to teach others how to love us. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ And that’s also why we’re never truly happy, or at peace — because we’re still dependent on someone else to make us feel that way. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ How many times have you thought to yourself: ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ When I find that perfect person, my life will be complete. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I just need to get that promotion at work, and everything will be better. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ When we’ve saved enough as a couple and can afford to get a mortgage on our dream house, we’ll be happier. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Be honest with yourself. Maybe you’ve already had a thought like this today. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ These things you’re placing your happiness on are nothing more than distractions. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ No one and nothing out there can truly make you happy. That’s on you. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ You know where real inner happiness and peace comes from? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ In your heart. In the act of embracing your authentic self. In peeling back those labels the world has nailed to you, and discovering your true soul. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ And in the realisation that everything you long to be — you already are ???????????? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ – snippet from my @medium article ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ????: @christineadel

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“Bloom: A Gift For The Girl Learning To Love Her Beautiful Soul” by Shani Jay reaffirms why self-love is the best and most important love. She addresses the women who need to be reminded to actually love themselves and who struggle with believing life will get better. This is for those moments when doubt is louder than any other emotion and you need that voice in your head telling you that you ARE strong enough.

Buy it here.

“A Cup of Water Under My Bed” by Daisy Hernández

“A Cup of Water Under My Bed” is a coming of age memoir by former ColorLines magazine executive editor Daisy Hernandez as she comes into her own as a queer Latinx. She was the first-generation American child of a Colombian mother and Cuban father who encouraged her to adapt the English language and look for a “gringo” boyfriend. Hernandez writes about her struggles at the intersection of her dual identity as American and Latina and her sexual awakening as a queer woman. This heartfelt journey to self-discovery is about exploring the possibilities that exist beyond the realm of familial expectations and finding the strength to stand up and say “this is me”. Learn more about Hernández by reading our list of Colombian writers you should know about.

Buy it here.

“Words from a Wanderer” by Alexandra Elle

Alexandra Elle’s passages are short but powerful making the collection “Words from a Wanderer” feel like you’re carrying around your best friend who is always there to uplift you. It features 62 affirmations (#anote2self) promoting self-love and self-worth and the value of putting in the work to get the desired outcome. This is the redesigned second edition of the collection originally published in 2013. Elle, a writer and wellness consultant, has published several journals with her latest, “Today I Affirm”,  coming out early next year.

Buy it here.

“Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life” by Gisele Bündchen

Supermodel Gisele Bündchen is known as the pretty face with the Amazonian body in glossy photos and runways but in “Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life” she writes about the pain and anxiety she endured at the height of her fame. She’s candid about her suicidal thoughts in the wake of constant panic attacks that were only made worse by her unhealthy lifestyle that included smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. Instead of popping Xanax, she decides to completely change her lifestyle by practicing yoga and medication daily and adapting healthier eating habits. Her ability to overcome her struggles and find love and peace is a reminder that while no one is immune to suffering everyone heals is similar ways.

Buy it here.

“Three-headed Serpent” by Ariana Brown

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This mini-chapbook by Afro-Mexican American poet Ariana Brown is a research project on curanderismo in her family. The stories are told through poems and interviews with her mother and grandmother focusing on spirituality, gender, race, and migration through the lens of three different generations. Ariana, who is dubbed a part-time curandera, is known for delivering powerful spoken word poetry and this chapbook is equally passionate and thought-provoking. Learn more about Ariana by reading our roundup of some of the most important Mexican and Chicana writers.

Buy it here.

“First, We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Journey Through Anxiety” by Sarah Wilson

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Back when I wrote #firstwemakethebeastbeautiful my friend Rick rang me and asked, “Darl, why exactly are you writing this book?” "Because I can’t help it and because I’m sick of being lonely,” I replied. Then I said, “We must suffer alone. But we can at least hold out our arms to our similarly tortured, fractured, and above all else anxious neighbours, as if to say, in the kindest way possible, ‘I know’.” “Good,” Rick said and hung up. * * * This is from the first chapter of The Beast. Ahead of #worldmentalhealthday tomorrow I hold out my arms to all my neighbours from a place where I’m doing the work and going down into the pain (which are, indeed, the titles of other chapters in The Beast.) Be bold and behold your Beautiful Beast, anxious ones ???? And now, I return to the trenches… ???????? #mybeautifulbeast #mentalhealthawareness #anxiety #newyorktimesbestseller

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The title of Sarah Wilson’s bestselling book is inspired by a Chinese proverb that states “before you can conquer a beast, you must first make it beautiful” and in this case the beast is anxiety. Wilson’s memoir “First, We Make the Beast Beautiful” takes the theme of acceptance and applies it to finding a way to manage versus attempting to erase anxiety. Throughout the book she offers tips and practices to help reduce anxiety like making your bed in the morning to achieve a sense of control and accomplishment. “I bump along, in fits and starts, on a perpetual path to finding better ways for me and my mate, Anxiety, to get around,” she writes. Her practical approach will feel like a soothing balm to  those who battle the same beast.

Buy it here.  

Read: 13 Latinx Books Published This Year That Everyone Should Read

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