Latina Reads: Honduran And Honduran-American Authors You Should Know About

The motto for Honduras is “Libre, Soberana e Independiente,” or “Free, Sovereign and Independent,” and that’s also an appropriate way to describe the women on this list. They faced political turmoil and sexism only to rise above their detractors and make history in the literary world.  

From self-love and patriotism to family, the works by these fierce escritoras span a variety of topics that gained them acclaim in their homeland and throughout Latin America.

1. Argentina Díaz Lozano

There's not too much translated fiction by #honduranwriters out there, and unfortunately, I'm not able to read Spanish. So I turned to #EnriquetaandI by #ArgentinaDíazLozano (1944, translated by #HarrietDeOnìz), as the representative of #Honduras on my personal #readingaroundtheworldtour. The novel unfolds in Honduras in 1915-1925 and tells the story of the emotional ties between a daughter (the narrator) and her mother, focusing on the mothers struggle to raise her daughter in times of hardship, while travelling a great part of Honduras in search for work as a schoolteacher. The novel is quite well written, although somewhat oldfashioned (bordering on: outdated) in its episodic form, and its romantic, sentimental style. Not a bad read, but not my favourire kind of novel. I would have liked to read something else from Honduras. Any suggestions in translated #honduranfiction? Full review (in Danish) at www.bognoter.dk. #honduranliterature #honduransklitteratur #verdenibøger

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Known by her pen name Argentina Díaz Lozano,  romance novelist Argentina Bueso Mejía was born in Santa Rosa de Copán, Honduras in 1912.  Her work is noted for its feminist themes. She was awarded throughout Latin America for her publications, including Best Novel in 1944 for “Peregrinaje” by Latin American Novel Contest Pan-American Union. She received acclaim when she published the biography of Guatemalan Vice President  Clemente Marroquín Rojas in 1968, garnering the Honduran National Literature Prize “Ramón Rosa” and admittance to the Academia Hondureña de la Lengua. She remains the only woman from Central America whose works have been an official candidate for the Nobel Prize of Literature.

2. Lucila Gamero de Medina

Lucila Gamero de Medina was the first woman in Honduras to create literary works and the first in Central America to publish novels. Born in 1873 in Danlí, Honduras, Medina took after her father and studied medicine and was eventually appointed as head of the hospital in her hometown. She began writing as a child and, at 19, became the first woman to publish a novel in her country. She wrote the work, “Amalia Montiel,” in 1892, and it was broken down by chapters in the weekly newspaper El Pensamiento. She published her second novel, “Adriana and Margarita,” the following year. The main topics of her works include love and family, with her best-known novel, “Blanca Olmedo,” being a love story and a criticism of the church.

3. Francisca Raquel Navas Gardela

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Better known as Paca Navas, Francisca Raquel Navas Gardela founded the first feminist journal in Honduras and was a member of the first suffragette organization. In 1935, at the age of 52, she founded La voz de Atlántida, a weekly newspaper focused on Pan-American culture. It became known as the first feminist journal in Honduras, covering topics such as aging, domestic abuse, incest, rape, homeless youth and the social inequality of women. In 1947, while in exile in Guatemala, Navas published “Ritmos criollos,” a collection of poems followed by her novel “Barro” in 1951. The latter is an example of the Criollismo literary movement, focusing on the trials of relocation for fruit pickers and the exploitation they experienced.

4. Amanda Castro

(Photo Credit: Poetry and Poets in Rags)

Born in 1962 in Tegucigalpa, Amanda Castro is an author whose literary contributions celebrate women and self-love. She studied and taught at a university in the U.S. and is known as one of the most prominent Honduran writers who received the Hoja del Laurel en Oro by then President of Honduras Manuel Zelaya. Her works include “Celebración de Mujeres,” “Poemas de amor propio y de propio amor,” “Pronombres de tratamiento en el español hondureño” and “Viajes y sueños: reflexiones sobre creación e identidad y Otros testimonios: voces de mujeres centroamericanas.”  

5. Clementina Suárez

Honduras’ most famous poet, Clementina Suárez, rose to fame as the first woman to publish a book of poetry in her country. “Corazón Sangrante” debut in 1930, cementing her place in history. Still, it was her provocative personality and free spirit that earned her a reputation as a sexually liberated rule-breaker.  Known as the “New Woman” in Honduras, she would wear lipstick and bikinis and was the only woman to frequent the local tobacco shop — acts that went against what was expected of women at that time. In 1970,  she was awarded the Ramon Rose National Literature Prize, though there were many who disapproved of her lifestyle. She was allegedly murdered in 1991 in Tegucigalpa. In 1995, her biography was published.

6. Kat Fajardo

Having a blast at @nerdtino! Swing by!!

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Honduran and Colombian award-winning comic artist and illustrator Kat Fajardo, 27, uses her art to shed light on Latinx culture and self-acceptance. She’s a first-generation Latina born and raised in New York City who recently won the CXC Emerging Talent Award. Her 17-page mini comic “Gringa!” released in 2015 and chronicles her struggles with assimilation and racism, while 2016’s  Bandida” comics illustrate folk remedies and superstitions. She also edited and provided the cover art for “La Raza Anthology,” a 120-page book featuring illustrations, poetry, short stories and comics from more than 40 contributors.

7. Suyapa Portillo

(Photo Credit: Pitzer College)

Suyapa Portillo is an assistant professor of Chicano/a-Latino/a transnational studies at Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif.  Last year, she was awarded the Fulbright Scholar Research Fellowship to Honduras, where she’s investigating the narratives of migration from the point of view of Hondurans, focusing on the experiences of women and LGBTQ youth.  She contributed a chapter to “Rethinking Latin American Social Movements: Radical Action from Below” on the grassroots coalition that developed after the 2009 coup d’etat of President Manuel Zelaya.

8. Melissa Cardoza

Melissa Cardoza is an Afro-Indigenous journalist, poet, writer and feminist organizer. She published the poetry book “13 Colors of the Honduran Resistance” in 2016, sharing the moments of strength she witnessed in the midst of repression and turmoil in Honduras.

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