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

Nicaragua may be known for its natural beauty, but the largest country in Central America is also home to some of the greatest authors in Latin America.

Historically devastated by dictatorships and civil unrest, the women on this list fought along with their community with their words and sometimes even their actions. From Nicaraguan icons to contemporary writers, these escritoras share a passion for their country that’s evident in their works.

1. Gioconda Belli

#giocondabelli #nicaragua???????? #barcelona @txalapartatik

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Gioconda Belli is one of Nicaragua’s most prolific political and intellectual voices, defender of women’s rights and one of the most important poets of Latin America. The 69-year-old published her first poetry book in 1972 titled “On the Grass,” which openly focused on sexuality and the female form. That year, she won the Premio de Poesía Mariano Fiallos Gil award from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Nicaragua. Her 1988 book “La Mujer Habitada” is a semi-autobiographical novel that received attention for raising gender issues in a way that hadn’t been done before in Nicaragua. In 2000, she published her autobiography “El Pais Bajo mi Piel,” and the English translation was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in 2003.

2. Daisy Zamora

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The multifaceted Daisy Zamora is a political activist and painter as well as one of Latin America’s and Nicaragua’s most distinguished poets. Her work has been recognized for covering a wide range of topics, including politics, human rights, feminism, culture, art and history. She was involved in the fight against the Somoza dictatorship in the 1970s and joined the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) in 1973. She was exiled to Honduras, Panama and Costa Rica. She has written five books, including “Riverbed of Memory,” published in 1992, and more recently “Tierra de Nadie, Tierra de Todos” (“No-Man’s Land, Everybody’s Land”), published in 2007.  She’s edited several anthologies, including the first anthology of Nicaraguan women poets, “La Mujer Nicaragüense en la Poesía,” published in 1992.  In 2006, she was honored Writer of the Year by the National Association of Artists in Nicaragua. She splits her time between Managua, Nicaragua and San Francisco, Calif. with her husband, writer George Evans, and their three kids.

3. Karly Gaitán Morales

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Writer, journalist and film historian Karly Gaitán Morales, 36, lives in Managua and has published two books. “Cita con Sergio Ramírez. Entrevistas. Artículos. Crónicas,” which centered on Nicaraguan writer Sergio Ramírez, released in 2012, and she also later published “A la conquista de un sueño. Historia del cine en Nicaragua,” which encompasses the history of films in Nicaragua from the late 1800s to present day.

4. María Teresa Sánchez

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Self-taught writer María Teresa Sánchez is venerated for her efforts to revive Nicaraguan literature in addition to her own literary contributions as a pioneer female poet. In 1940, she founded the literary association Círculo de Letras and opened the publishing house Nuevos Horizontes, which played an integral part in collecting Nicaragua’s significant literary works. She published six books in her lifetime, while “Huésped del Olvido” was published posthumously by the Nicaraguan Center for Writers in 2001. The themes often found in her works include love, sorrow, sadness and loneliness.

5. Mariana Ortega

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Feminist philosopher Mariana Ortega is an associate professor at Penn State University focusing on philosophy and women’s, gender and sexuality studies. Her research centers on questions of self, identity and sociality as well as visual representations of race, gender and sexuality. Her work has been published in multiple journals and she co-edited the anthology “Constructing the Nation: A Race and Nationalism Reader.” In 2016, she published “In-Between: Latina Feminist Phenomenology, Multiplicity, and the Self,” analyzing writings by Gloría Anzaldúa, María Lugones and Linda Martín Alcoff in the context of Latina feminism and race theory. She is the founder and director of the Roundtable on Latina feminism, a forum dedicated to discussions of Latina and Latin American feminisms.

6. Blanca Castellón

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Celebrated poet Blanca Castellón is a published author who is currently vice president of the Centro Nicaragüense de Escritores. She has published five books, including “Ama del Espíritu” (1995) and more recently her 2016 release, “Water for Days of Thirst: Selected Poems,” an introspective collection with Nicaragua’s social upheaval as its backdrop. In the year 2000, she received the International Award from the Institute of Modernists.

7. Claribel Alegria

Claribel Alegría is one of Central America’s most prominent writers with both Nicaraguan and Salvadoran roots. Born in Nicaragua in 1924, she grew up in El Salvador and eventually made her way to the U.S. in 1943. Throughout her life, Alegría was committed to nonviolent resistance, even during her close association with the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), the people’s movement that overthrew dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle. In 1985, she returned to Nicaragua to aid its reconstruction. Alegría published numerous works, including the book of poetry “Sorrow,” under her pen name, and was awarded the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, considered the American equivalent of the Nobel. The famed writer passed away in January 2018 at the age of 93 in Managua. She was also featured on our list of Salvadoran writers to check out.

8. Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez


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Latina Rebels founder and all-around fierce Latina Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez is one of the most vocal and prominent feminist Latina writers today. She’s been featured on HuffPost, Guerrilla Feminism, Latina magazine, Everyday Feminism and FIERCE, and her writings include popular essays like “Dear Woke Brown Girl,” “Chonga Manifesto” and “I Was Called Llorona Growing Up — But I Was Really Just Crying Out For Help After Years Of Abuse.” She’s a full-time writer, contributing regularly to her Patreon page, she has had her essays published in anthologies like “Nevertheless We Persisted and she is currently working on her first book. She was born in Managua and currently resides in Nashville, when she’s not traveling the country for speaking engagements.

9. Martha Cecilia Ruíz

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Social activist and poet Martha Cecilia Ruíz, 45, published her first book in 2016, though her work had been placed in numerous anthologies before then. “Familia de Cuchillos” centers on double morality, inequality and gender violence. In the early 2000s, Ruiz founded the group Three Times Three: Three Women, Three Poets, Three Journalists with Esther Picado and Vilma Duarte. She currently directs the El País Azul radio talk show and sits on the board of directors of the Nicaraguan Association of Writers.

Read: Latina Reads: 9 Venezuelan And Venezuelan-American Women Authors To Make Room For On Your Bookshelves

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


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 Books by Latina Authors Prove that Latinx Writers and The People Who Publish Them Understand the Real America

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These Books by Latina Authors Prove that Latinx Writers and The People Who Publish Them Understand the Real America

Our LGBTQ hating, xenophobic Vice President, Mike Pence will hate the upcoming middle-grade book, The Moon Within by Aida Salazar, and the publishing industry doesn’t care. The Moon Within about Celi Rivera, a young bi-racial Puerto Rican and Mexican girl who dances bomba and has a gender fluid best friend is set to be published by Scholastic later this month. While Latinx folks are still largely ignored on television and in film, publishers of middle-grade and young adult books know there’s a market for books about people of color and LGBTQ folks.

Hailed, by Kirkus Reviews, as a “worthy successor to Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blume, The Moon Within is written in an elegant, swift verse.


It tells the story of the budding Celi, a young accomplished dancer whose mother insists on announcing to the whole family that Celi is developing into a woman and insisting on holding a pre-Colombian style moon ceremony when Celi starts her first period.

At twelve, I read and loved Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret, and as a small-for-my-age, Xicana, I identified with Margaret who felt her body was developing slower than those of her school friends. I also understood that the lavender covered book with the very blonde girl on the cover who wanted to “get her period” was very different kind of book than books like Little House on the Prairie that I had also read and loved, despite their flaws. But as a Xicana raised by a single mom in a run-down small town, the only place we could really afford to live in California, I felt distanced from Margaret’s life in many other ways. Her suburban neighborhood with sidewalks, her tidy house, her busy but attentive mother, and a father who worked and drove her to parties at friends’ houses, all seemed very far away and very white to me.

Judy Blume wrote for all children, but Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret is about a particular social class of girl, while Salazar’s The Moon Within is about family that is rich in other ways, culturally rich, artistically rich, and deeply rooted by their particularly close and caring community of artists and healers.


Celi’s mom, an herbal healer, who grows herbs in the yard is actually, however, similar to Margaret’s mother in that she wishes to help her daughter to grow into womanhood without shame. Interestingly, the particular brand of the shame that both mothers hope to help their daughters avoid is rooted in Christianity. Celi’s mom, Mima, rejects the misogyny of Catholicism that encourages women to fear and despise their bodies, bodies that have the capability to give life  — and that’s all they’d do if Mike Pence had anything to with it.

And it’s this impulse of conservative men to dirty everything that isn’t cis-male centered that The Moon Within is such an important book right now and ever, especially in light of the racist and homophobic attack that severely injured, Empire’s, Jussie Smollet.

In a recent appearance on Late Night with Stephen Colbert, queer actor, Ellen Page, called out Mike Pence, blaming the Trump administration’s outward hate for the LGBTQ community,  “Connect the dots,” she said, “this is what happens if you are in a position of power,” referring to the attack on Smollet. She continued, “and you hate people and you want to cause suffering to them, you go through the trouble, you spend your career wanting to cause suffering, what do you think is going to happen. People are going to be abused and they’re going to kills themselves, and they are going to die in the street.”

Children’s books agents– a surprising number of whom are people of color, like Marieta B. Zacker of Salazar at Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency and  Amara Hoshijo at Soho Press– seem to know that even and even though equity and decency for all has seemed to have reversed in our country, that books like The Moon Within are the antidote to hatred, bigotry, and ignorance amongst the actual people who make up America.

As former pre-school teacher who did much of the book ordering for my pre-school library, and a current English professor, it’s comforting to know that the education of America’s children, is somewhat in the hand of these agents and publishers willing to listen.

It seems that publishing children’s, middle-grade and YA books by and about people of color is no longer considered a risk.

After the publication of Celia C Perez’s The First Rule of Punk, we can officially all stop being surprised by the fact middle-grade and young adult book publishers are the seemingly most willing to publish books about people who exist in the real world that their counterparts in the past would have considered niche: Latinx kids who are into punk, Latinx kids with parents who are artists, or young Latinx feminists, as in the upcoming We Set the Dark on Fire, by Tehlor Kay Mejia and several other books written for middle-graders and young adults set for publication this spring and summer.

Pues, check out this list of exciting books about to be published and remember that pre-ordering these books is not only the best way to support the authors, but it also guarantees that your chamaquitx won’t have to wait to read books about characters who look and/or have lives like theirs.

We Set the Dark on Fire, by Tehlor Kay Mejia


This fiercely feminist YA novel features a young Latina who attends a prestigious school under the pretense that she is not a member of the upper echelons, a fact that she must keep hidden in order to have a chance of success in the real world. Apparently, fans of The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood are bound to love this debut by Mejia. This Xicana dystopian lit nerd eagerly awaits the release and the accolades that will surely follow.

All Of Us With Wings, by Michelle Ruiz Keil


Or if you liked 2017s The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Perez, you should pre-order the YA, All of Us With Wings, by Michelle Ruiz Keil, a book set in San Francisco and blends Aztec rituals and punk rock.

The Grief Keeper, by Alexandra Villasante


Available in June, The Grief Keeper, by Alexandra Villasante features a young Salvadoran girl who must leave El Salvador and attempt to cross into the US after her brother is murdered in order to save herself and her younger sister’s life.

The Last Eight, by Laura Pohl


Perhaps you know a young reader who likes to read science fiction, due for publication in March, The Last Eight, by Brazilian author, Laura Pohl, is about Clover Martinez, one of the last eight teenagers left on Earth, teenagers who survive an alien attack.


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