The new national 2014 list of “Top Ten Authors to Watch and (Read)” is just out and includes a sci-fi novel, a gritty East Harlem 1960s story and a first time author that writes about stories of Cubans during the revolution. The list is assembled by a Connecticut professor who says he began doing so 7 years ago because he wanted a way to promote Latino literature and bring the talent of Latino authors into the mainstream.
Jose B. Gonzalez, who teaches English at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in In New London, is the editor of LatinoStories.com which assembles the list. Their goal, he says, is to have more Latino authors’ work find their way into the classroom.
A native of El Salvador and a 2012 Fulbright Scholar, Gonzalez says, “Too many children are growing up with sense that Latinos don’t write, or that there aren’t any Latino authors. They have not been exposed to them in the classroom. They don’t read our stories.”
The books on the list are from Latino authors whose work is in English or some bilingual books and are selected based on feedback and suggestions from librarians, readers and others who visit the website.
Gonzalez adds, “When we started the list some of these authors that we had it were not well known and have really emerged in recent years. He cites, author Reyna Grande who was selected in their 2007 top Latino author lists and he says, “.. has done tremendously well in her career, receiving awards and now considered a major Latino author. We like to think that partly through our own way of letting people know about their talents, that were able to get some recognition early on.”
Books for the list are selected he says, just like any reading, adding that the questions asked as they review books, “Is it a good story, does the author use language in a powerful way which applies to most anything genre such as poetry and children’s stories.”
Here is LatinoStories.com’s new list just issued:
The 2014 Top Ten “New” Latino Authors to Watch (and Read)
1) This author needs no introduction. In her memoir, My Beloved World, the ever-inspirational Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor provides readers with powerful insight on the role that hard work and determination played in the early parts of her life as she forged a path to law school from housing projects in the Bronx to Princeton University, Yale Law School, and to the highest court in the nation.
2) If you enjoyed The Hunger Games, there is no doubt that you will absolutely love Amy Tintera’s Reboot. Not surprisingly, the film rights to this thrilling sci-fi novel have already been sold. This is an author who knows how to push the limits of imagination and write young adult works that will leave everyone begging for sequels.
3) In Flowers in the Dust, Miriam Alvarez tells an intriguing tale based on her grandmother’s life. This work of historical fiction paints a poignant picture of South America around the mid-1900s, and is a touching portrait of a woman whose devotion to family is inspirational.
4) Mario Alberto Zambrano brilliantly weaves together a plot that that flows smoothly as it unravels like the popular game and novel’s namesake, Loteria. And just like the game, the story is unpredictable and full of twists.
5) Sonia Manzano, author of The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano, has shown us that she has acting talent, having played Maria on Sesame Street since 1971. And now through this novel, she shows off her writing skills. Set in the 1960s East Harlem, this story is both gritty and witty as it revisits a time of the Young Lords, rebellion, and youth.
6) In Speaking Wiri Wiri, Dan Vera shows us why he is earning a reputation as a talented, sophisticated poet who is a master at playing with words. This collection, his second book of poetry, is a dazzling display of language and emotion.
7) In the short story collection, The Bolero of Andi Rowe, Toni Margarita Plummer reminds us that this genre is alive and well. She is a master of subtle suspense—the kind that creates tension waiting to explode until the final twist.
8) Sandra Ramos O’Briant’s The Sandoval Sisters’ Secret of Old Blood is a page-turning work of historical fiction with drama that multiplies over and over, in a style that will make it difficult to put this novel down.
9) Winner of the prestigious Andres Montoya Prize, Laurie Ann Guerrero’s A Tongue in the Mouth of the Dying is a poetry collection with images that are both haunting and fascinating. Guerrero illustrates that she is part poet and part storyteller.
10) Agustin D. Martinez, author of The Mares of Lenin Park, created quite the buzz in 2013. His debut novel is part of an impressive line of works that tell the sometimes complex but compelling stories of Cubans during the revolution.
For more information on Latino authors visit: Latinoauthors.com