Every few years when you least expect it a new crop of talented Latina authors who’ve dedicated tumultuous years honing their craft and writing in solitude, finally give birth to debut works that begin to slowly get noticed by U.S. readers and thus catch on fire.
Who are some of these essential Latina writers breaking into the national literary landscape at the moment? The following ten writers have demanded that the world take notice of their fierceness on the page. In the descriptions below you’ll see how the zeitgeist in Latina literature is not only centered on identity anymore but in the world of young adult fiction, science fiction, dystopian futures and fantasy settings. There are also unabashed queer stories, erotica scenes, and even one author writing for Marvel comics about a Latina superhero named none other than America.
1Tehlor Kay Mejias
Tackling the immigration debate head on, We Set the Dark on Fire (HarperCollins, 2019) is one of those rare debut YA novels that’s both for young and older readers alike and that ignites both word-of-mouth buzz and excellent reviews. In a fantasy Latin American-like country, a rich and powerful patriarchal upper class is being threatened by a rebel group that wants to bring equality to the nation. A woman must decide between staying in a loveless marriage in a privileged society or to fight and lose everything for forbidden love. This fierce feminist novel with a queer romance subplot throws memorable Latinx characters into provocative circumstances with twists that leave readers salivating for the conclusion. Its critics have called this romantic political fantasy “daring” and perfect for fans of The Handmaid’s Tale. Mejias, who was born in Oregon, is said to be working on the second book in this duology.