1) Aracelis Girmay, Author of Teeth. I wasn’t exaggerating when I reviewed this book earlier in the year and said that Girmay has put together one of the best debuts by any poet in recent memory. Since that time, we have heard nothing but praise about this book and the author’s powerful readings.
2) Malín Alegría, Author of Sofi Mendoza’s Guide to Getting Lost in Mexico. There’s a reason why Alegría’s name seems to be in so many places lately. This young talent published Estrella’s Quinceañera in 2006, and Sofi in 2007. Her work has also appeared Once Upon a Cuento, and 15 Candles: 15 Tales of Taffeta, Hairspray, Drunk Uncles, and other Quinceañera Stories.
3) Eduardo Santiago, Author of Tomorrow They Will Kiss: A Novel The mention of this author’s work is long overdue in this site. No wonder Denver’s Rocky Mountain News called this book “among top ten overlooked gems.”
4) Sylvia Sellers-García, Author of When the Ground Turns in Its Sleep. I was very fortunate to get my hands on this ingenious work by this first-time novelist. Sellers-García combines her skills as an historian (she is currently working on her Ph.D. in Latin American History at UC-Berkeley) with her talent for telling stories and the result is a powerful debut. She is sure to make fellow great Guatemalan-American authors, Hector Tobar and Francisco Goldman, proud.
5) Viola Canales, Author of The Tequila Worm. This book has the following accolades: Winner – Pura Belpre Narrative Award, Winner – ALA Notable Children’s Book, Winner – Pen Center USA Award. Enough said!
6) Daniel Alarcon, Author of Lost City Radio. Alarcon’s first novel eloquently probes the ramifications of war on the home front and its impact on society. Although it is a work of fiction, Lost City Radioputs a human face on war’s aftermath that will haunt you long after you turn the final page.
7) The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Yes, yes, we know that we picked him in 2006, but back then who knew that it would take him another year to complete his first novel? If you didn’t get a chance to read it in 2007, be sure to do so as soon as you can. You’ll see what the buzz is all about.
8) Manuel Muñoz, Author of The Faith Healer of Olive Avenue. This book was on the short list for the 2007 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Prize, but this is all the more impressive when one considers that Muñoz tackles some tough taboo subjects in this impressive short story collection.
9) Mirta Ojito, Author of Finding Manana: A Memoir of a Cuban Exodus. When we reviewed this book, we indicated that “It’s hard to imagine why any professor of Latin American history would not use this book in his or her course.”
10) Rene Saldana Jr., Author of the most recent novel, The Whole Sky Full of Stars and the popular work, The Jumping Tree. Saldana is quickly gaining national attention for his works that tenderly describe the pains and triumphs of children growing up in a Latino family.
Editor’s post-publication note: when we reviewed The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, we thought it was special, and sure enough, it went on to win the Pulitzer. But he wasn’t the only one to rise. Google the rest of these authors, and you’ll find that they have had huge success as well.