NorthernNotes

Latina Writers

Latina writers are powerful and seductive in their works. Their writings encompass the feelings women have in different situations, from dealing with a male-dominated society to family relationships.

Entire web pages have been dedicated to Latina writers. Some are very comprehensive and detailed, with actual samples of writing, such as the one by Dr. Priscilla Gac-Artigas, a professor at Monmouth College. Others are simple fan pages from all over the world, like the Netherlands.

The Latina authors discussed on this web page are merely a sample of the many talented writers from Latin America. Carlos Fuentes, Gabriel García Marquéz, José Emilio Pacheco, Federico García Lorca, Miguel de Cervantes and Juan Rulfo are just a few male authors and poets who are interesting to read.

This page, however, focuses on the talents and writings of Latinas in particular, from Isabel Allende to Helena María Viramontes.

Latinas have long been overlooked as true authors, when they were disregarded as lesbian feminists just trying to be heard. Yes, they do want to be heard. They will fight to end the tradition of silence.

ISABEL ALLENDE


Allende's family is from Chile, but she was born in Lima, Peru. She has lived in Chile, Venezuela and the United States.

She has written a number of books. "Eva Luna," "The Stories of Eva Luna," "The House of the Spirits" and "Paula," a book dedicated to her daughter who died in 1992, are among them. Her newest book, "Aphrodite," about which she says, "I dedicate these erotic meanderings to playful lovers and, why not? Also to frightened men and melancholy women."

Para leer en español sobre Isabel Allende, cliquée aquí.

JULIA ALVAREZ


Alvarez was born in the Dominican Republic and came to the United States as a ten-year-old. She is currently teaching at Middlebury College.

Perhaps her most well-known publications have been "How the García Girls Lost Their Accents" and "In the Time of the Butterflies." However, she has authored numerous books and poetry.

SANDRA CISNEROS


Cisneros was born to a Mexican-American mother and a Mexican father. She has lived in Mexico City, Chicago, and many places in-between.

She is a powerful Latina, who is not swayed by the stereotypes associated with Chicanas and their writing. In her book of poems, "My Wicked, Wicked Ways," she says, "My first felony--I took up with poetry. / For this penalty, the rice burned. / Mother warned me I'd never wife. / ... / I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to be happy. / What's that? At twenty. Or twenty-nine. / Love. Baby. Husband. / The works. The big palookas of life. / Wanting and not wanting."

LAURA ESQUIVEL


The author of "Like Water for Chocolate" has written a new multimedia book, "The Law of Love." Set in Mexico City in 2300 A.D., the main story is full of intriguing subplots. The book includes poems, pictures, song lyrics and a CD. The CD features opera and Latin American music.

"The one who disturbs cosmic order is the only one who can restore it. Such is the Law of Love."

ANGELES MASTRETTA


Mastretta was born in Puebla, Mexico in 1949 and currently lives in Mexico City. She studied journalism and is teaching at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. She has authored "Lovesick" and "Women with Big Eyes."

Mastretta won the Romúlo Gallegos Prize for Literature in Caracas, Venezuela last year.

ESMERALDA SANTIAGO


Excerpts from Santiago's book, "When I was Puerto Rican," has been in volumes of examples of Latina writing. She has also written "Almost a Woman" and "American Dream."

"When I returned to Puerto Rico after living in New York for seven years, I was told I was no longer Puerto Rican because my Spanish was rusty, my gaze too direct, my personality too assertive for a Puerto Rican woman, and I refused to eat some of the traditional foods like morcilla and tripe stew. I felt as Puerto Rican as when I left the island, but to those who had never left, I was contaminated by Americanisms, and therefore, had become less than Puerto Rican. Yet, in the United States, my darkness, my accented speech, my frequent lapses into the confused silence between English and Spanish identified me as foreign, non-American. In writing the book I wanted to get back to that feeling of Puertoricanness I had before I came here. Its title reflects who I was then, and asks, who am I today?"

HELENA MARIA VIRAMONTES


Born in East Los Angeles, Viramontes began writing poetry and fiction while at Immaculate Heart College. She considers herself a Chicana, writing about issues from a Chicana's perspective. She is currently an assistant English professor at Cornell University.

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