Latina Authors You Should Know About

Julia de Burgos was a Puerto Rican poet who lived from February 17, 1914 to July 6, 1953. In addition to being a poet she was an advocate of Puerto Rico Independence and a civil rights activist for women and Afro-Caribbean writers. A celebrated poet, her most famous poem was “El Río Grande de Loíza” in where she personifies the river as a liberator. Julia de Burgos even had a position of power as the Secretary General of the Daughters of Liberty within the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party.

 

Pat Mora is a writer of poetry, nonfiction and children’s books and an advocate of childhood literacy in Spanish speaking communities. She was born in January 19, 1942 in El Paso, TX. She got a a Master of Arts from The University of Texas at El Paso and has obtained two Honorary Doctorates from North Carolina State University and the University of Buffalo. Her works are often themed at addressing Mexican American border relations.

 

Julia Alvarez is a Dominican-American writer who has received critical acclaim by her memoire book, “How the García Girls Lost their Accents” (1991). She was born in New York on March 27, 1950, however she was raised in Dominican Republic for the first ten years of her life. She came from a wealthy family and was forced to relocate when her family participated in a failed attempt to overthrow the dictator Rafael Trujillo. She received her Masters from Syracuse University in 1975. Her writing style includes a hybrid of English and Spanish words and her literary works are themed of assimilation and incorporation. For this she is highly regarded as one of the most important Latina writers from the 20th century.

 

Sandra Cisneros is a Mexican-American writer who is mostly known for her critically acclaimed coming-of-age novel, “The House on Mango Street” (1984). She was born on December 20, 1964 in Chicago, Illinois. While growing up, her family kept close transnational ties with family members from Mexico, for this reason she always found it hard to assimilate or to connect with one sole culture. She received her Bachelors from Loyola University in 1976 and her Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa in 1978. Her books have helped young Mexican-Americans find the best cultural identification in a world that only allows them to pick one.

 

Isabel Allende is a Chilean-American novelist and short-story writer who is well-known for her magic-realist themed books like “The House of the Spirits” (1982) and “City of Beasts” (2002). She was born on August 2, 1942 in Lima, Peru to Chilean parents. Her father was at the time of her birth the second Secretary of the Chilean Embassy. When she was three, her father was kidnapped. Her mother then moved Allende’s siblings and her to Santiago, Chile. Her mother then remarried a future Chilean ambassador of Argentina. Isabel Allende was a well-read woman who knew how to speak English and Spanish. She married young and had two children. Isabel Allende’s daughter passed away in 1992 due to rare enzyme disorder. She wrote her heartbreaking narrative “Paula” in her daughter’s honor.

 

Gabriela Mistral was a Chilean poet, diplomat, educator and feminist. She was born Lucila Godoy Alcayaga on April 7, 1889. She was raised in a small and poor Andean village in Montegrande, and was taught at school by her oldest sister. After the formal education was completely she was allowed to become a teacher in 1900. At fifteen years old, she fell in love with a railway worker who later killed himself. This affected the nature of her poetry for the rest of her life. She climbed up the latter as an educator and poet and in 1921, she defeated the incumbent of the Radical Party, Josefina Dey del Castillo. Mistral was then named Director of Santiago’s Liceo. In addition to her time in public service she wrote two Poetry anthologies. She was the first Latin-American and fifth woman to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. Gabriela Mistral passed away in January 10, 1957.

 

Denise Chavez is an Mexican-American playwright. She was born on November 8, 1953 in Las Cruces, NM. She received her Bachelors from New Mexico State University and Masters of Fine Arts from Trinity University. Her most notable play is Novitiates (1971). Denise Chavez received the Rockefeller Playwright Fellowship in 1985.

 

Ana Castillo is a Chicana writer. She was born to Mexican-American parents on June 15, 1953 in Chicago, Illinois. Her works often depict Socio-Political commentary on race and gender. Ana Castillo’s first book “The Mixquiahuala Letters”, received critical acclaim with a Carl Sandburg Award and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in fiction and poetry.

 

Esmeralda Santiago is a Puerto Rican novelist, activist, and former actress. She was born on May 17, 1948 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Esmeralda Santiago’s book “When I was Puerto Rican” (1993) which detailed her home life in Puerto Rico.

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