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Latina Reads: 10 Peruvian Writers You Need to Add to Your Reading List

Home to Machu Pichu, one of the seven wonders of the world,  and the third largest country in South America, Peru is also known for it’s strong female voices. In fact, quite a few Latina America’s greatest feminist pioneer hail from the Land of the Incas, and used their culture and heritage to spearhead their activism and inspire their works.

This list features 10 of Peru’s FIERCEST escritoras.

Clorinda Matto de Turner

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Born in 1852 in Cusco, Clorinda Matto de Turner used her writings to defend the rights of women and the indigenous communities. Her most well-known and controversial book is Aves sin Nido (Birds without a Nest) which told the love story between a white man and an indigenous woman who can’t marry because they discover their father is the same priest. The book was also the first novel that portrayed the life and social conditions of the indigenous population in Peru. In 1889 she was appointed the director of El Peru Ilustrado where she insisted that the magazine reflect Peruvian concerns.

Blanca Varela

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Surrealist poet Blanca Varela is considered one of the most important Peruvian poets whose works have been translated into multiple languages. She contributed to magazines early on but didn’t publish her first collection of poetry, “Ese puerto existe,”  until the age of 33 in 1959 after the insistence of famed Mexican writer Octavio Paz. She went on to publish 10 books and was awarded the Octavio Paz Prize for Poetry and Essay in 2001 and in 2006 the García Lorca International Poetry Prize.

Teresa González de Fanning

Poet, essayist, and fiction writer Teresa González de Fanning, born in 1836, was famously critical of women’s education during her time using her writing and speeches as forms of activism. A collection of her articles were compiled in a booklet entitled “Female Education” and released in 1898. Women’s education at that point was exclusively focused on marriage prep and motherhood and she insisted on a  curriculum promoting music, writing and mathematics. Her acclaimed 1886 novel “Regina” focused on gender roles and economic reform through the breakdown of a family business. In 1881 she founded a girls’ high school in Lima, and many other schools in Peru are now named in her honor.

Mercedes Cabello de Carbonera

A pioneer in literary realism in Peru, Mercedes Cabello de Carbonera also blazed the trail as one of the first Peruvian feminists advocating women’s freedom. She wrote six novels focusing on the societal issues of her time with the most successful being “Blanca Sol” which attacked the materialism of her time and was published in 1888.

Aurora Cáceres

Suffragist and writer Aurora Cáceres was a part of the modernismo literary movement challenging the ideologies of the time. She was born in Lima in 1877 but her family was exiled to Argentina in 1895 and shortly after she began to publish her feminist articles entitled “The Emancipation of Women”. One of her most powerful novels is “La Rosa Muerta” published in Paris in 1914 – the same location where the novel takes place- which portrayed complicated male-female relations and sexually liberated women.

Lastenia Larriva

Feminist writer Lastenia Larriva was born in and died in Lima. However, she spent many years of her life in Ecuador where she did most of her writing. Between 1888 and 1890 she published a novel entitled “A Singular Drama or History of a Family” and in 1890 a short novel “Pro Patria”. In 1889 she published poetry book “La Ciencia y la Fe” that led to her receiving the Golden Plume in Ecuador.

Gabriela Wiener

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Renowned journalist and writer Gabriela Wiener was born in Lima in 1975 and has lived in Spain since 2003 where she’s currently working on her first novel. She’s written for Peruvian newspapers La República and El Comercio, and El País in Spain and she also was editor in chief of Spanish magazine Primera Línea and the Spanish edition of Marie Claire magazine. She has published nearly 10 books including “Sexografías” where she writes about her personal experiences including sexcapades in a swingers clubs, donating eggs, and ingesting ayahuasca in the Amazon jungle while exploring topics like immigration, maternity, and fear of death.

Magda Portal

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Magda Portal was a poet, feminist, author, and political activist who co-founded the Peruvian Aprista Party. Born near Lima in 1900, Portal’s early years as a university student inspired her to begin her literary career reporting for magazines and writing poetry. She developed a reputation for her progressive views on women’s rights devoting her life to her political activism that sometimes got in the way of her writing.  In 1980 Portal was elected the president of the Asociación Nacional de Escritores y Artistas and is still honored as a literary leader in Latin America.

Roxana A. Soto

Roxana A. Soto is an Emmy-award winning bilingual journalist, born in Lima and raised in the U.S. She got her start in journalism both national and international spanning 20 years. In 2009, she co-founded SpanglishBaby.com, an online community for parents, who are raising bilingual and bicultural children in the U.S. She published her first book Bilingual Is Better: Two Latina Moms on How the Bilingual Parenting Revolution is Changing the Face of America in 2012 and she is also an editor for MamásLatinas.com.

Claudia Salazar Jiménez

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Writer and literary critic Claudia Salazar Jiménez, 42, was born in Lima and resides in New York since getting her Ph.D. in literature from NYU. Her short stories have been published in several anthologies and websites and in 2013 she published her debut novel “La Sangre de la Aurora” winning the prestigious Las Americas Award in 2014, awarded to the best novel written in Spanish. The novel, published in English in 2016, tells the story of three women during the “time of fear” in Peru’s history during the Shining Path insurgency. She is also the founder and director of PERUFEST, the first Peruvian film festival in New York.

Read: Latina Reads: 12 Puerto Rican Writers Whose Books You Need To Add To Your Reading List

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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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7 Books You’re Definitely Gonna Want To Add To Your 2019 Reading List

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7 Books You’re Definitely Gonna Want To Add To Your 2019 Reading List

2018 brought us some amazing new works by Latinx writers, including Ingrid Rojas Contreras’s debut novel Fruit of the Drunken Tree, Reyna Grande’s memoir A Dream Called Home, and Yesika Salgado’s poetry collections, Corazón and Tesoro. But with everything out there, keeping up with the latest in literature can sometimes feel a little overwhelming, and it’s easy to miss out on worthwhile reads.

Luckily, this guide is here to give you a rundown of some of the Latinx-authored books dropping in 2019 that you’ll want to check out.

Lilliam Rivera, “Dealing in Dreams”

Just before she released her first book, the LA Times called Lilliam Rivera a “Face to Watch,” and boy were they right. The Bronx native began her career as a journalist before writing fiction, and her debut young adult novel The Education of Margot Sanchez—which was described as “Pretty in Pink comes to the South Bronx”—received a ton of praise. Her forthcoming book Dealing in Dreams is also a young adult novel. Set in what Rivera calls a “near-future,” the book introduces us to the leader of the girl gang Las Mal Criadas, Nalah, who must decide what she’s willing to sacrifice in the name of a better life. Likened to The Hunger Games and Mad Max: Fury Road, Dealing in Dreams is available in March. Until then, a sneak peek can be found here.

Kali Fajardo-Anstine, “Sabrina and Corina”

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Slightly updated cover with this gorgeous quote from @officialsandracisneros! Cisneros has been my idol since I first read her work in high school. Years later, I read in ‘A House of My Own’ that the great short story writer, Ann Beattie, gave Cisneros one of her earliest blurbs for her story collection ‘Woman Hollering Creek.’ Ann Beattie gave me my first blurb for S&C, too, and I don’t know what this connection means, but I love it and I deeply respect the tradition of women authors supporting other women writers. I am grateful. . . . . . . #sabrinaandcorina #kalifajardoanstine #annbeattie #sandracisneros #shortstories #fiction #bookstagram #instabook #author #writer #denver #colorado #latinx #chicana #gustavorimada #iwrite #book #womenauthors #womensupportingwomen #bookcover #bibliophile #writerslife #weallgrowlatina #latina #latinas

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Fajardo-Anstine’s much-anticipated debut is a short story collection about women we don’t often hear from in literature: Indigenous Latinas from Denver, Colorado. Fajardo-Anstine herself grew up in Denver and explained that this lack of representation was one impetus for her subject matter. These stories of working-class women—from a sex worker to a woman just home from prison—have been hailed by Sandra Cisneros as “stories that blaze like wildfires.” And, in case you need any more reason to check it out, the gorgeous book cover features the work of Mexican-born artist Gustavo Rimada. Sabrina and Corina is available for pre-order and hits shelves on April 2, 2019.

Cherríe Moraga, “Native Country of the Heart”

Writer, educator, and activist Cherríe Moraga is a preeminent voice of queer Latinx feminism. She is perhaps best known for co-editing with Gloria Anzaldúa the foundational text This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color (which, if new to you, should be at the top of your reading list). In her new memoir, Native Country of the Heart, Moraga traces her mother’s life in California and Mexico and her eventual memory loss from Alzheimer’s. Moraga connects her own coming-of-age as a Lesbian moving between Mexican and American worlds with her mother’s story in what is described as “a piercing love letter from a fearless daughter to the mother she will never lose.” You can find Moraga’s book in April of 2019.

Carmen Maria Machado, “In the Dream House: A Memoir”

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Speaking of memoirs, Carmen Maria Machado, whose 2017 debut short story collection Her Body and Other Parties was a finalist for a number of prestigious awards, will release In The Dream House: A Memoir in the second half of 2019. The publisher’s acquisition announcement describes the book as “An extraordinarily candid and radically inventive memoir about an abusive same-sex relationship in the author’s past, In the Dream House, sees Machado tackle a dark and difficult subject with wit, inventiveness and an inquiring spirit, creating an entirely unique piece of work which is destined to become an instant classic.” Machado’s style is known for its blending of genres, including horror, science fiction, and fantasy, and, given its description, her memoir promises to once again push the boundaries of writing.

Elizabeth Acevedo, With the Fire on High

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This has been an emotional ass week and for the first time I saw a copy of WITH THE FIRE ON HIGH. This is the story of Emoni Santiago, a teen mom who wants to be a chef but isn’t sure if following that dream is best for her family. This character arrived to me fully formed and whispering in my ear and on May 7th she will be in the world. To be honest, THE POET X has done so well that I’m scared anything I make after won’t be good enough…but part of being a storyteller and writer is stretching myself to tell new stories and believing in my talent enough not to give into the fear. So, I’m not going to psych myself out of joy and I’m going to trust the instinct that led me to write this in the first place. I can’t wait for you all to read this. ????

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A few years ago, AfroLatinx writer and award-winning slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo commanded our attention with “Hair,” a spoken-word piece in which she embraced the beauty and history of natural hair while fighting against the internalization of white beauty standards.  Last month, Acevedo won the National Book Award for her debut novel The Poet X, about a teenager named Xiomara growing up in Harlem and finding her voice through slam poetry. The prolific artist now brings us With the Fire on High, the story of Emoni Santiago—gifted cook, high school senior, and mother, and provider. Despite the stress of taking care of her daughter and abuela, Emoni realizes she is happiest while cooking, and that she must make some serious sacrifices to pursue her dreams. Catch this book in May.

Melissa Rivero, The Affairs of the Falcóns

The Affairs of the Falcóns is the debut novel of Peruvian-born Melissa Rivero, who grew up undocumented in Brooklyn. The work of fiction is particularly salient in our current climate, given that it tells us the story of the Ana Falcón and her family, who have left Peru in the midst of political upheaval in search of something better in the U.S. However, now undocumented in America and trying to raise her two children, Ana must decide if it’s better to live their lives in survival mode in New York City or return to the country they worked so hard to escape. The book is described as “a beautiful, deeply urgent novel about the lengths one woman is willing to go to build a new life, and a vivid rendering of the American immigrant experience.” You can find it in April.

Nina Moreno, “Don’t Date Rosa Santos”

Author Nina Moreno describes herself as a “Southern Bruja,” a fitting title given that the protagonist of her first novel, Rosa Santos, is said to be cursed by the sea. If you date Rosa, you’re in trouble. The book takes us along Rosa’s journey as she grapples not only with this supposed curse, but also her family, college, and the two places that are central to her identity: Florida and Cuba. Moreno’s writing style has been called a blend of “Southern fiction and telenovela,” and Don’t Date Rosa Santos sounds like a refreshing dose of drama and romance. The book arrives on shelves in May, making it the perfect beach (or pool) read.

Read: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Continues to Slay By Promising to Pay Her Congressional Interns

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