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Latina Reads: 11 Salvadoran And Salvadoran-American Authors Whose Works You’ll Want To Pore Over

There are roughly 1.4 million immigrants in the U.S. from El Salvador, but the history and literary contributions of this nation are overwhelmingly unknown, and are much less talked about.

For bookworms, here are 11 women authors that represent the vast talents that come from the smallest country in continental America.

1. Edyka Chilomé

As the daughter of Salvadoran and Mexican immigrant activists, Edyka Chilomé does not shy away from using her words to raise awareness of the plight of her people. In her book “She Speaks | Poetry,” she delves into personal and global politics with a focus on diasporas as well as spiritual activism and traumas sustained by generations of Latinos. The queer Dallas, Texas-based author often writes about women in her homelands and their history of abuse and violence. “This is the beauty of our ways – we survive together and we can heal together. As young U.S. born Salvadoran artists, our work is no different. It remains aligned with our history as un pueblo de lucha, de colores, y de fe – que nuestros cipotxs tendran un mundo major,” she told Remezcla. 

2. Claribel Alegría

As one of Central America’s most prominent writers, Claribel Alegría straddled between her Nicaraguan and Salvadoran roots. Though she was born in Nicaragua in 1924, her mother was from El Salvador and she considered it her homeland, visiting frequently up until 1980. After criticizing the violence committed by the military government, she was unable to return for 12 years. Alegría published numerous works under her pen name, including the book of poetry “Flowers for the Volcano,” 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 age 93.

3. Yesika Salgado

The self-proclaimed “LA-born Salvadoran Fat Fly Poet,” Yesika Salgado is as much a social media star as she is a successful writer. Her raw honesty about love, dating and heartbreak is captured both in her debut release “Corazon” and in her regular Instagram posts. She also writes about family, city life, her culture and “her brown body,” and is one half of the founding team behind Chingona Fire, a Latina feminist poetry collective.

4. Daisy Cubías

Daisy Cubias began writing at a young age when she noticed the stark differences between the rich and poor in her country. After moving from El Salvador to the U.S., she dedicated her efforts to raising awareness of the struggles that still plague her homeland, including her 1989 book of poetry, “Children of War: Poems of Love, Pain, Hope and Determination“We choose to be here to better ourselves and our families. That’s all we want. We didn’t come here to steal jobs, or to rob, or to anything: just to be better human beings. And that’s what I write about,” she told WUWM.

5. Claudia Lars

Born Margarita del Carmen Brannon Vega on December 20, 1899, Claudia Lars adopted her pen name and published her first book of poetry, “Stars in the Well,” in 1934. Her most notable book is considered “Land of Childhood,” a memoir exploring a child’s self-awareness who bears the observant soul of a poet. In the span of her career, she also published 19 books of poetry. She is nationally recognized for her contributions to poetry and is known as one of the most acclaimed female poets in Latin America.

6. Roxana Méndez

Roxana Méndez is already making waves in the world of poetry, winning national awards and recognition for her works. She was born in El Salvador in 1979 and has published four books, including “El Cielo en la Ventana,” which was translated into English. She often writes about the beauty of El Salvador as well as its violence and tragedies. She was awarded the country’s National Poetry Prize, the National Prize for Children’s Narrative and the Alhambra Prize from Spain.

7. Nora Méndez

A poet for la resistencia, Nora Méndez’s verses are a direct response to the political turmoil in El Salvador. Having at one point served time in prison for her politics, she’s now actively involved with the Salvadoran Association of Cultural Workers. The San Salvador-born writer studied sociology and communication in college and has also written about issues concerning women in her country, particularly domestic violence. She published “Atravesarte a Pie Toda La Vida” in 2002 and “La Estación de los Pájaros” in 2004.

8. Dina Posada

Dina Posada, born 1946, is one of the most recognized contemporary poets in El Salvador. The Salvadoran-Guatemalan writer, who studied journalism, gained fame with the 1996 publication of “Fuego Sobre El Madero,” a collection of poems on love, eroticism and the female body. Born in El Salvador, she has lived in Guatemala since 1970 and published several anthologies, including “Poesia Salvadorena del Siglo XX,” “Mujer, Cuerpo y Palabra” and “Voces sin Fronteras.”

9. Jacinta Escudos

Jacinta Escudos is a writer and poet who has released several books, including the awarding-winning “Crónicas Para Sentimentales” in 2001 and “A-B-Sudario” in 2003. In her writing, she explores the complexity of human emotions, including the dark side of humanity as well as the more trivial. In her latest book, El Asesino Melancólico,” the novel delves into the darker effects of loneliness, frustration and sorrow when the main character hires a man to kill her and they form an unexpected bond. Escudos regularly hosts literary workshops in El Salvador and via Skype, and also maintains a blog.   

10. Claudia Hernández González

Salvadoran-born Claudia Hernández González is a short story writer who is recognized as one of the most prominent living authors in her country. Many of her stories concern the grotesque elements of life during and after El Salvador’s civil war. Since the late 1990s, González, 43, has published stories in the Salvadoran newspapers CoLatino and El Diario de Hoy. In 1998, she won a Juan Rulfo prize and in 2004 took home the Anna Seghers Prize. Her stories have been published in several anthologies in Spain, Italy, France and the U.S. Currently, Hernández works as a professor at the Central American University José Simeón Cañas.

11. Matilde Elena López

Matilde Elena López was a Salvadoran poet, essayist, playwright and literary critic who was a part of the League of Anti-Fascist Writers, a group of writers that leaned politically left in the 1940s. She’s known as a pioneer among women writers in El Salvador, and some of her most prominent works include Masferrer, Alto Pensador de Centro América” and “Cartas a Grosa.” She also wrote “The Ballad of Anastasio Aquino” in 1978, which was dedicated to the Salvadoran indigenous leader of the same name who led a campesino uprising known as the Insurrection of the Nonualcos.

Read: Read Latina: 7 Cubana Writers Conveniently Left Off Your High School Required Reading Lists

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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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Latina Reads: ‘Pride’ Is The Afro-Latinx YA Novel You Wish You Read As A Teen

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Latina Reads: ‘Pride’ Is The Afro-Latinx YA Novel You Wish You Read As A Teen

It’s no secret that Latinx representation is severely missing in media, especially for Afro-Latinos. Although the numbers are slowly getting better on television, movies and in music, the literary space is still lagging behind. But all of that is slowly changing in particular thanks to critically acclaimed author Ibi Zoboi, whose first novel, American Street, told the tale of young Haitian immigrant Fabiola Toussaint navigating the dangerous streets of Detroit on her own after her mother is detained by U.S. immigration.

Now, Zoboi brings us a timely update on the classic novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin — but this time told through the perspectives of Zuri Benitez (a.k.a. Elizabeth Bennet) and Darius Darcy (a.k.a. Mr. Darcy).

Zoboi’s latest masterpiece is titled Pride.

In Pride, we first meet Zuri, an Afro-Latina teen who has plenty of pride. She has pride in her roots, pride in her family and, most of all, pride in Brooklyn. But when the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri isn’t sure that her pride is enough to change the gentrification that is quickly happening in her beloved neighborhood. Even worse, her older sister Janae starts to fall for charming Ainsley at the same time as Zuri is thrown together with the arrogant Darius, who she can’t stand and wants nothing to do with.

It’s an unexpected joy to be drawn into the world of Pride, where so many changes are happening all at once. As Bushwick changes and families that used to live there for ages are priced out and Zuri begins to fight to keep her home, we readers are drawn into her battle quickly.

She is just the kind of Latina that we rarely read about before: She is smart, quick-witted and not afraid to stand up for what she believes in. She is passionate, cares deeply about her family and is, in a sense, even a little fearless. But she’s also still a teenager, which is part of what makes this novel so irresistible.

Zuri has all the hope and fears that we all had as kids about to turn into adults.

She sees the world changing and she doesn’t know what she can do about it but she wants to do something. It’s that passion and drive which makes her both a captivating character and someone we can relate to.

And perhaps because Zuri is a teenager or because this is a remix of Pride and Prejudice, there is the predictable romantic chaos. Soon enough, Zuri finds herself being pulled in different directions by her growing attraction to Darius, who she still kind of hates, and the oh-so-cute Warren (a.k.a George Wickham), who Darius kind of hates.

One of the most surprising and enchanting things about the novel, however, is the way the characters speak. Zoboi doesn’t try to dumb down or change their language. She doesn’t try to make them sound high-brow or proper, which some reviewers had a problem with, but she does make them sound like exactly who they are: An Afro-Latino family growing up in today’s Brooklyn. Zuri is unapologetically herself and the way she speaks is beautiful, complicated and not even remotely make-belief.

One of the big wins of Pride is that Zuri and the other characters sound like themselves with no pretense and just the right amount of class and a dash of sass.

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Repost from @owlcrate We were so thrilled to include Pride by @ibizoboi in our October box! It’s a modern day Pride and Prejudice remix set in Brooklyn, NY. It deals with many complex issues but is also totally swoon-worthy. And Ibi’s writing is absolutely stunning! ???? The edition we included featured an exclusive cover, exclusive end papers, exclusive color hardback, and it was SIGNED! The publisher truly put a lot of love into the design of this book! ???? Want to get your hands on a copy? We have some extras available for purchase at shop.owlcrate.com while supplies last. ???? Have you read Pride yet? What did you think?? ???? Photos tagged with the original creators! ???? OwlCrate Photo Challenge: Pride & Hot Pink. #ocbookstore ???? #owlcrate #subscriptionbox #bookstagram #pride #ibizoboi #exclusiveedition #bookmail #happyreading #currentlyreading #epicreads

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Without revealing too much about how the novel ends (you’ll have to actually read all of Pride for that), it’s safe to say that Zoboi deserves all of the praise that she has received for her work. But what really matters in a book like this isn’t how she “skillfully balances cultural identity, class and gentrification against the heady magic of first love in her vibrant reimagining of this beloved classic” (from the book’s back cover), though these things are all great too, but rather what it represents and means for future generation of Latinx kids picking up this young adult novel at their library, local bookstore or online.

A book like this can mean so much to those of us who grew up without seeing ourselves in the pages of the books we were taught in school or the books we found at the library. It’s why today, even as adults, we still pick up YA novels with the hopes of seeing our younger selves in their pages. A book like Pride reminds us of that. It reminds us of what it’s like to be a teen and it reinforces the importance of seeing yourself in literature.

The Haitian author, who recently took down an “insulting review” of Pride that made us all wish we had her clap-back game, touched on something special in the story of Zuri the Afro-Latina in Brooklyn. Here’s hoping Zoboi continues to write her black and Latinx representative novels for a long, long time.

Read: 13 Latina Fantasy Books For the Sci-Fi Lover in Your Life

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