Editor’s Post Publication Note: This list is notable because so many of these authors went on to do so much more. This was the start of a sprint. For example, Xanath Caratha has since become prolific and Presumed Incompetent II was published in 2020.
1) Xanath Caraza: LatinoStories had the pleasure of reviewing her first major poetry collection, and it did not disappoint. Caraza’s Mayan, Spanish, and English gem shines as it conjures the magic of words. Expect to hear her name more and more in the coming years as this revolutionary poet makes waves in the literary world.
2) Marta Moreno Vega, Marinieves Alba, and Yvette Modestin: This trio has put together a collection that fills a huge void in Latino/a Studies. Consisting mostly of personal essays and a few poems, this is a must read for anyone who wants to get a complete picture of how Afro-Latinas have faced racism, inequality, violence, and sexism in countries that too often deny such issues even exist.
3) Lourdes Vasquez: Sometimes a reader gets the sense that a work has been well researched. Not Myself Without You is one of those cases. As this novel tells the story of a family that believes in the occult, it makes the fictional seem real, haunting, and intriguing.
4) Eduardo C. Corral: Having had the pleasure of hearing Corral read in person years ago, we looked forward to his poetry collection, and sure enough, Slow Lightning (Yale Series of Younger Poets): Yale series of younger poets, is a stunning debut. The fact that Yale selected him as the 2011 recipient of the Yale Series of Younger Poets award gives one hope that Latino talents such as this one are being discovered everywhere.
5) Magdalena Gomez and Maria Luisa Arroyo: These two have teamed up and put together a unique and timely collection of essays, poetry, and plays on bullying. Bullying: Replies, Rebuttals, Confessions, and Catharsis is an anthology from which young ones, parents, and teachers could learn quite a bit on what motivates bullies and how to inspire those who are being bullied.
6) John Paul Jaramillo: If you like writing that is unpredictable and makes you think, The House of Order: Stories is for you. These short stories have characters with complex, sometimes depressing, but always fascinating lives.
7) Maceo Montoya: If the name sounds familiar, it’s because Maceo is the brother of Andres Montoya, the talented poet whose life was cut short tragically. Artistic talent definitely runs in the family. Maceo is a skilled writer. His debut novel, The Scoundrel and the Optimist, is deep on so many levels that calling it a coming-of-age story oversimplifies its beauty.
8) Derek Blass: This is the type of book that you’ll want to finish right away. The action will hook you and the twists are in just the right places. Call it crime, drama, mystery, but whatever the case, call it an entertaining, enjoyable ride.
9) Gabriella Gutiérrez y Muhs, Yolanda Flores Niemann, and Carmen G. González: Along with Angela P. Harris, they have teamed up and put together a collection that provides timely and eye-opening insight into the the lives of women of color in academia. Like other collections in this year’s top ten, PPresumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia will clear a path to change.
10) Xochiquetzal Candelaria: I have to say that we don’t quite understand why this poet has not garnered more attention and praise. Empire (Camino del Sol) is a brilliant debut that is a gallery of fine, well-crafted pieces.