Tag Archives: Marcela Landres

In the news: Books from Valdes, Gonzales kick off the new year

Here’s what’s happening in the first month of 2013 (Note: I updated this article to include the Blanco and Valdes links.):

Feminist and the CowboyJust released: In The Feminist and the Cowboy: An Unlikely Love Story, Alisa Valdes recounts her relationship with a man with opposite views. In an intriguing article in Salon, Valdes said the relationship was abusive. In The Tragedy of Fidel Castro, Portuguese writer Joao Cerqueira imagines how Jesus Christ would settle the battle between Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and U.S. President John F. Kennedy.

Ways of Going HomeJan. 8: Chilean Alejandro Zambra depicts life in the Pinochet-era Chile in the novel Ways of Going Home.

Jan. 10: The Miniature Wife and Other Stories is a quirky collection of 18 short stories from Tejano Manuel Gonzales, whose work has appeared in The Believer and Esquire.

JunotDiazEvents:

Junot Díaz (right) and Francisco Goldman will speak at “A Benefit Evening of Latin American Storytelling,” Feb. 5 in New York City, with proceeds going to Radio Ambulante. Radio Ambulante’s executive producer, Daniel Alarcon, will moderate.

Literary magazines:

• The literary magazine BorderSenses is taking submissions until March 31 for its next issue. The publication will take short stories, poetry and book reviews in English and Spanish, as well as artwork. Write to editor@bordersenses.com.

Other features:

• Cuban-American poet Richard Blanco will read a poem at President Obama’s inauguration later this month, becoming the first Latino to hold that honor, NPR reports. He was also profiled in The New York Times.

• In a much-discussed article, The New York Times wrote about the lack of Latino-oriented books for children. In a follow-up article, Aurora Anaya-Cerda of La Casa Azul Bookstore in East Harlem, N.Y., gave her reading recommendations. Many small publishers felt they were not represented in the article, and Publishers Weekly featured those presses, including Lee and Low Books and Arte Público.

•  Arte Público books, which recently moved into new headquarters, was recently profiled in The Houston Chronicle.

ABC News/Univision marked the 50th anniversary of the Latin American Boom in literature.

• Book editor Marcela Landres delivered her list of the best in Latino literature for 2012.

Junot Díaz talked with NBC Latino about how he found his literary voice. He also discussed his love for libraries, politics and the greatness of Star Wars on the TV show Moyers & Company.

Joy Castro talked to the Lincoln Journal-Star about the prospect of her 2012 book, Hell or High Water, being optioned by actress Zoe Saldana for a possible movie or TV show.

Sandra Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street and Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist are among the 30 selections for World Book Night, in which volunteers will give out books April 23. Sign up to be giver by Jan. 23.

• Cisneros remembered Mexican singer Chavela Vargas, who passed away last year, in The New York Times.

• Chilean Roberto Ampuero, author of The Neruda Case and his country’s ambassador to Mexico, was profiled in The Wall Street Journal.

• The film version of Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless Me Ultima is coming to the big screen, reports the Huffington Post.

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In the News

Year in Review: Junot Díaz and Justin Torres recommended their favorite books of 2011 to New York magazine, while Héctor Tobar and Torres gave their choices for the year’s best in Salon and Julia Alvarez revealed her picks to the Algonquin Books blog. Book editor Marcela Landres made her own best of 2011 list, including Outside the Bones by Lyn Di Iorio and Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall. The Washington Post cited Esmeralda Santiago’s Conquistadora and Justin Torres’s We the Animals as some of its favorite 2011 novels. But why stop at 2011? Dagoberto Gilb named his favorite books of all time in The Week magazine.

New releases: A paperback of Purgatory by the late Tómas Eloy Martinez, who was born in Argentina and lived in Venezuala, was released last month.

• A library in honor of Mexican writer Juan Jose Arreola is being constructed in Mexico City, with the opening expected for spring 2012. The library organization Reforma posted some pictures of the building on their Facebook page.

• According to this BBC article, the remains of legendary Nobel winning poet Pablo Neruda, pictured at left, have been asked to be exhumed to see if he was poisoned.

• Luis Alberto Urrea appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered to talk about his latest novel, Queen of America, which he describes as his “Lady Gaga book.”

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The write stuff

Only one Latino is listed as an author on the 35 books on the Sept. 29 New York Times hardcover fiction bestseller list. The literary world needs more Hispanic authors, but the writing industry requires time, discipline and a tough skin to handle rejection.

But a few people are hoping to make things easier.

Corina Martinez Chaudhry created a website, The Latino Author, to encourage Hispanics to pursue a writing career. The website covers everything from the elements of writing a story to getting it published.

“A reader can actually read the articles and get a good sense of how to get started in the business,” she said.

Chaudry has always loved reading and writing, but couldn’t find many works by Latino authors as a child because many of them were not promoted in schools or the book market.

“It’s important that this ‘new’ generation of Latino and Hispanic writers get the same necessary tools and breaks that all other groups have acquired,” she said, “and I want to do my part to help with this effort.”

Arnaldo Lopez Jr., author of ChickenHawk, also tried to do his part by organizing a Latino Authors and Writers Conference, scheduled for Oct. 1 in New York City, but had to cancel it due to lack of interest.

“I wanted to do this because I have been to many writers conferences over the years and have always found there to be almost no Latino agents, editors, publishers, or aspiring authors,” he said. “I wanted to give aspiring or self-published Latino(a) writers the same information and opportunities that writers at these other conferences were getting.”

While the writing field can be difficult, Chaudry encourages Latinos not to give up. After all, she succeeded in the technical engineering environment field – making decisions and overseeing $300 million in contracts every year for an Orange County, Calif., government agency – with a business degree and a minor in English.

“I truly believe that we all have the ability to do anything we want to in this life – it’s just moving forward and understanding that failure is how we learn to get to the next step,” she said. “It is this failure in life that will make us successful in the end.  It is never giving up no matter how many rejections we get or how many obstacles are thrown our way.”

Here are some other resources for Hispanic writers:

• Hispanics have formed writers groups, such as the Society of Latino and Hispanic Writers of San Antonio and the Latino Writers Collective in Kansas City, Mo.

• Writer’s retreats are also available, including the Macondo Foundation created by Sandra Cisneros and Las Dos Brujas workshop founded by Cristina Garcia.

• Ecuadorian Marcela Landres, a former book editor, offers advice on her website.

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