Editor’s post-publication note: What is often lost in lists like these is the activism that so many Latinx authors are working on beyond the writing world. Silvio Sirias, for example, is opening a school in Nicaragua. This is all the more reason to support these writers who have continued to make a difference.
1) Carolina de Robertis, author of The Invisible Mountain (Vintage Contemporaries) has written a book that is ready for film rights. This Uruguayan-American author knows how to make fiction seem real and close to home. Already named one of the Ten Best Books of 2009 by O Magazine and listed among the Top Ten Best First Novels of 2009 by Booklist, this book should have more honors coming its way.
2) Raina J. León, author of Canticle of Idols has a distinct poetic voice that reminds me of old Billie Holiday records. Maybe that’s because that’s when reading her poems, one can’t help but see the smiles and the cries coming together. As a past Cave Canem Graduate Fellow, she has joined an impressive list of authors who have been associated with that program.
3) Silvio Sirias, author of Meet Me under the Ceiba, has composed one of the best written books that has ever come out of Arte Publico Press. While we recognize that this is not his first novel (he published Bernardo and the Virgin in 2005), the Nicaraguan-American author has barely gotten the attention he deserves. The plot will keep any reader captivated.
4) Diana Rodriguez Wallach, author of Amigas and School Scandals, and Adios to All the Drama, gets the young adult reader. In fact, this book was first recommended by a young Latina fan who came across our website as part of a school project.
5) Leila Cobo, author of Tell Me Something True, tells us something lyrical in this novel. The Colombian-born Cobo weaves a tale about a mother and her daughter who is a piano prodigy. It is primarily a love story, but it accomplishes so much more as it delves into the ways we explore our past.
6) Carlos Cisneros, author of The Case Runner, has written a mystery that could have only been written by someone with his background. An attorney, Cisneros has written a book that will make you question what goes on behind the scenes in cases of corruption.
7) Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa, author of Daughters of the Stone, has written a novel that spans generations and covers a rarely touched upon topic in literature–African slaves in Puerto Rico and their descendants. Llanos-Figueroa’s work is magical in more ways than one.
8) Jennine Capó Crucet, author of How to Leave Hialeah (Iowa Short Fiction Award), is one talented short-story writer. In an age where not enough publishers are paying attention to short story collections, this author has put together captivating pieces that are raw and full of humor and twists.
9) Carlos Frías, author of Take Me with You: A Secret Search for Family in a Forbidden Cuba, has made a great contribution to the genre of autobiography/memoir and to the impressive list of Cuban American authors who have told their tales about their experiences. This memoir is up there with one of my all-time favorites, the National Book Award Winner, Waiting for Snow in Havana, by Carlos Eire.
10) The Latino Writers Collective, a group of authors from Kansas City, Missouri, is the Latino engine that could. The group has put together Cuentos del Centro: Stories from the Latino Heartland, and in so doing, has reminded the U.S. that Latinos are present everywhere amidst cities, towns, farms, and yes, even among tornadoes.