April is the month notorious for rain. Fortunately, there are plenty of books to keep you entertained:
• Already out: In Rita Moreno: A Memoir, the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony-winning actress looks back on her life. Rigoberto González explores his influences on his writing in Red-Inked Retablos. The late Cuban poet Severo Sarduy’s novel Firefly examines the effects of surgery on two transvestites.
In Elizabeth Huergo’s The Death of Fidel Pérez, townspeople in Cuba believe dictator Fidel Castro – not their neighbor – has died.
• April 2: Paulo Coehlo, author of The Alchemist and Aleph, explores mysterious documents in his new book Manuscript Found in Accra. The Guardian profiled the Brazilian author.
• April 19: Rudolfo Anaya writes about a widower coping with grief in The Old Man’s Love Story. Peruvian author Santiago Roncagliolo releases Hi, This is Conchita, a series of stories ranging from the sexy to the serious.
• April 23: In Maya’s Notebook by Isabel Allende, a teenager returns to her home in Chile to cope with her past.
• After sweeping numerous awards for Dante and Aristotle Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Benjamin Alire Sáenz won the PEN/Faulkner Award for his book of short stories, Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club. His publishers at Cinco Puntos Press talked about the book to The Washington Post.
• Saenz, poets Richard Blanco and Eduardo Corral and academic Ramón H. Rivera-Servera are among the Latinos nominated for prizes at the 25th Annual Lambda Literary Awards, which goes to books about the LGBT experience. The winners will be announced in June.
• The Guardian reports that Junot Díaz won the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank award for his short story “Miss Lora,” which appeared in his book, This is How You Lose Her. Díaz also appeared on The Colbert Report last week, promoting Freedom University, a college for undocumented immigrants.
• The Westchester Fiction Award, which honors literature for young adults, nominated Saenz’s Dante and Aristotle and Guadalupe Garcia McCall’s Summer of the Mariposas.
• Now-June 9: The Amherst, Mass.-based The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is presenting the exhibit “Latino Folk Tales,” about children’s literature aimed at young Hispanics, according to the Amherst Gazette. The exhibit will later show in University Center, Mich.; Phoenix; and Marshall, Texas.
• April 5-July 21: A three-month celebration in New York City will honor of Spanish playwright Federico Garcia Lorca. His book about his experiences living in the city, Poet in New York, will be reissued.
• April 6-7: Latino Literacy Now will play host to the 14th Annual Chicago Latino Book & Family Festival in Cicero, Ill.
• April 18-21: Raquel Cepeda, author of Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina; Domingo Martinez, author of The Boy Kings of Texas; and children’s writers Pat Mora and Duncan Tonatiuh will be among the writers at the Arkansas Literary Festival in Little Rock.
• April 19-21: The Border Book Festival in New Mexico explores the Camino Real de La Tierra Adentro.
• April 20-21: The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books features Luis Alfaro, Gustavo Arellano, Alex Espinoza, Manuel Gonzales, Reyna Grande, Luis J. Rodriguez, Héctor Tobar and Luis Alberto Urrea.
• April 30: Día de los niños, El día de los libros/Children’s Day, Book Day
– created by children’s author Pat Mora – celebrates its 17th anniversary this year. Find out about activities going on in your area.
• The Los Angeles Times wrote about the making of the movie version of Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless Me Ultima, which got help from an heiress of the Wal-Mart fortune.
• Tony Díaz, leader of the Librotraficantes movement that brought banned books to Arizona, is now fighting a similar attempt in his home state of Texas, where legislators have introduced a bill in which ethnic studies courses would not count toward college graduation, according to the Texas Observer. The Los Angeles Times has noted an increase in interest in ethnic studies since the ban in Arizona took place.
• CBS Morning News featured Cuban-American poet Richard Blanco, who presented the poem at President Obama’s inauguration earlier this year.
• Publishing Perspectives profiled Dolores Redondo, a Basque writer who specializes in mysteries.
Also this month:
• April is National Poetry Month. Read about some great Latino poets.
• The Pulitzer Prizes will be announced April 15. Find out about Latino writers who have won the prestigious American award for journalism and literary arts.
• Celebrating birthdays this month: Nobel Prize winners Gabriela Mistral, José Echegaray and Vicente Aleixandre, as well as the late Chilean novelist Roberto Bolaño.