Our Favorite Latino Authors

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we're taking a look at some of our favorite Latino authors. Get ready to amp up your reading list with these selections. Who is your favorite? 

1. Latino Authors: Junot Diaz

Junot Diaz

Pulitzer Prize-winner (and MacArthur Fellow!) Junot Diaz is back this fall with a new collection of stories, This Is How You Lose Her. We recommend grabbing a box of tissues when curling up with his heartbreaking and funny tales of love. Diaz said in interviews he thinks of this collection as a companion to his first collection of short stories, Drown, so we refresh your memory on his rich portraits of Dominican-American life in New York and New Jersey.


2. Latino Authors: Ana Lydia Vega

Ana Lydia Vega

Boricua Ana Lydia Vega has had a varied career as an essayist, novelist, literature professor and author of short stories. Her stories are as funny as her essays are thought provoking, but they all touch on issues in Puerto Rico and the rest of the Caribbean. True and False Romances, the first of her books to be translated into English, is a collection on the state of love and the Americanization of her native Puerto Rico.

 


3. Latino Authors: Isabel Allende

Isabel Allende

At age 70, Peruvian novelist Isabel Allende is the author of eighteen captivating books and still writing. She mines history and family ties to create rich, magical stories. Her latest, El cuaderno de Maya, is a modern-day tale of a girl seeking refuge from her mistakes—prostitution, drugs, and crime—on an island off the Chilean coast. But the Isabel Allende Foundation inspires us even more than her beautiful works; income from her books goes to the charity organization that supports the empowerment of women, which she started shortly after her daughter’s death at age 28.


4. Latino Authors: Alisa Valdes

Alisa Valdes

Alisa Valdes (formerly Valdes-Rodriguez) has been dishing the chisme and escándalos we all hate to love (and love to hate) for more than ten years. Valdes’ books are good, naughty fun that reminds you of your best girlfriends. Keep your eye on this author -- Valdes’ first novel is on its way to the big screen!


5. Latino Authors: Zoraida Cordova

Zoraida Córdova

This newcomer, one of our Inspiring Latinas, has been getting serious praise for her young adult fantasy series, The Vicious Deep. Teenager lifeguard Tristan Hart gets swept out to sea and when he reappears at New York’s Coney Island, he’s been turned into a merman. The Ecuadorian native creates a vivid underwater world teens will eat up and adults will pick up when no one’s watching. 


6. Latino Authors: Melinda Palacio

Melinda Palacio

Award-winning poet Melinda Palacio brings her masterful wordplay to prose in her first novel. Ocotillo Dreams remembers Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s 1997 immigration sweeps in Arizona. Her stories are complex, including a chapter from the perspective of a factory owner who employs illegal immigrants. She’ll definitely be an author watch; her debut won her a Mariposa Award for Best First Book at the 2012 Annual Latino Book Awards. 

 


7. Latino Authors: Esmeralda Santiago

Esmeralda Santiago

Esmeralda Santiago’s coming-of-age memoir When I Was Puerto Rican is a classic, one that can be read over and over again. Her first book is so incredible, it’s easy to forget her fiction work, but that would be a huge mistake. Her latest, Conquistadora, stars a 19th-century heroine for the modern woman. A daydreaming student in a convent school, Ana leaves her native Spain to run a sugar plantation in Puerto Rico—and into the arms of handsome criollos.

 


8. Latino Authors: Paulo Coehlo

Paulo Coehlo

Featuring huge geographical and emotional scope. Paulo Coehlo’s novels are books that require rereading. The Brazilian novelist takes us across continents and into our own psyches. The Alchemist is an allegory that always serves something new. We’re revisiting our other favorite Coehlo works while we wait for his twenty-second book, Manuscript Found in Accra to publish in spring 2013.


9. Latino Authors: Jorge Luis Borges

Jorge Luis Borges

The stories and novels of Argentinean Jorge Luis Borges are a complete escape from reality that makes us think differently about our own world. The king of magical realism, his New York Times obituary said his work had “fables of obscure libraries and arcane scholarship”.  Start with our five essential Borges reads and take it from there.


10. Latino Authors: Carlos Fuentes

Carlos Fuentes

Hailed as “one e of the most admired writers in the Spanish-speaking world”, Carlos Fuentes became the first Mexican-American writer to make the U.S. bestseller list. He wrote dozens of novels, plays, short stories, and screenplays over his fifty-year career. We celebrated his incredible body of work shortly after his passing this year. 


11. Latino Authors: Roberto Bolano

Roberto Bolano

Chilean author Roberto Bolano crafted dark, haunting stories during his career. His novel 2666 was published posthumously, leaving readers hanging on an incredible series of unsolved murders in Ciudad Juarez. Bolano rendered cruelty and tenderness with equal detail. Weighing in at more than 900 pages, this is an engrossing read that makes the length besides the point.

12. Latino Authors: Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 

The Colombian novelist, short story writer and screenwriter is considered one of the most significant authors of the 20th century, with such titles as One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera. Popularizing a style known as "magic realism," where the author uses magical elements and events in otherwise ordinary, everyday situations, he's a true master of his craft. 

13. Latino Authors: Julia Alvarez

Julia Alvarez

 

The Dominican-American writer of How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents and In the Time of the Butterflies, Alvarez's works are influenced by her experiences growing up Dominican in the U.S., and focus on culture, assimilation and identity. She often examines cultural stereotypes and expectations of women.