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Latinidad – Winter 2022: Best Books of the Year

1. Saludos
2. The Latinidad List
3. Success Story: Patricia Marcantonio
4. Resources: First Pages Prize

“I hired Marcela for a critique of my completed manuscript. Her comments addressed not only the strengths and weaknesses of my book but also how it would meet the market demands, which was very helpful. In only one hour, Marcela provided an insightful, honest, and very thorough critique, as well as actionable advice. She answered all the questions I had posed in advance fully—and more. I found our conversation illuminating.”
— Isidra Mencos, author of Promenade of Desire: A Barcelona Memoir, https://isidramencos.com/

Ready to work with a professional editor? Visit https://marcelalandres.com
1. Saludos

I’ve been compiling the Latinidad List since 2003 and 2022 represents a banner year in the number of books—particularly memoirs—published by Latino authors. Never before have I had to request and read so many review copies. Choosing my picks was a challenge because there were more contenders for each category than in previous years. Know that each book on this list is not only a good read, but also a marker of a watershed moment.

The Latinidad List reflects my own idiosyncratic tastes. For a more comprehensive overview of the current Latino literary landscape, see the publication announcements, reviews, and author interviews on the web sites below:

Latinx in Publishing, https://latinxinpublishing.com/blog

Las Musas, https://www.lasmusasbooks.com/

Dominican Writers, https://www.dominicanwriters.com/dominican-book-reviews

Helping Latinos get published,
Marcela Landres

2. The Latinidad List

Novel – Velorio by Xavier Navarro Aquino
A transfixing chorus of voices poetically explores memory, abandonment, and nature in this Puerto Rican Lord of the Flies.

Debut – Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez
As delicious as your favorite pastelito from a local panaderia, this is the novel Edith Wharton would have written if she were a Nuyorican who grew up in pre-gentrified Brooklyn.

Anthology – Somewhere We Are Human edited by Reyna Grande and Sonia Guinansaca
Kaleidoscopic array of dazzling and urgent voices.

Thriller – With Prejudice by Robin Peguero
Cinematic page-turner with twists that will surprise even the most diehard thriller fan.

Memoir – The Man Who Could Move Clouds by Ingrid Rojas Contreras
New and ancient, a refracted mirror and a flowing river, Ingrid reveals that the act of storytelling is in and of itself a haunting and a healing.

Poetry – City Without Altar by Jasminne Mendez
A striking testament to how trauma traverses generations, morphing from flesh to paper, from pain to art.

Cookbook – Diasporican by Illyanna Maisonet
Like Roxane Gay and Anthony Bourdain, Maisonet writes from the heart yet pulls no punches in this landmark contribution to Puerto Rican cuisine.

Young Adult – The Turning Pointe by Vanessa L. Torres
Pulsing with the strut and smut of Hennepin Avenue, this ardiente novel is a love letter to fractured families, dancing, and Prince.

Middle Grade – Pilar Ramirez and the Escape from Zafa by Julian Randall
Refreshing depiction of a smart and spunky heroine who speaks in Spanglish porque that’s how Latinos speak for real.

Children’s Picture Book – My Mind is a Mountain by Cindy Montenegro, illustrated by Nqobile Adigun
Gentle guidance with gorgeous illustrations for littles ones with big emotions.

3. Success Story

“Marcela, I wanted to tell you that from the information in your newsletter about Regal Publishing, I sent them a manuscript and they are publishing my YA, Best Amigas, next fall. Thanks again.”
—Patricia Marcantonio, https://patriciamarcantonio.com/

4. Resources
Deadline: January 4
The Leon Levy Biography Fellowship offers four fellows stipends of $72,000 each, writing space at the CUNY Graduate Center in NYC, access to research facilities, and research assistance from a graduate student. Nonfiction writers working on biographies are eligible. For more information, visit https://llcb.ws.gc.cuny.edu/fellowships/biography-fellowships/
Deadline: January 4
New Literary Project’s Jack Hazard Fellowship offers nine awards of $5000 each to high school teachers working on fiction, creative nonfiction, or memoir projects. If you have been teaching and waking up early or staying up late to write, and savoring the prospect of weekends and breaks for your own work, perhaps this Jack Hazard Fellowship was created just for you. For more information, visit https://www.newliteraryproject.org/
Deadline: January 23
Creative Nonfiction journals seeks new narratives about caring for the heart—medically, technologically, or metaphorically. They’re looking for stories from healthcare workers and researchers; counselors and cardiologists and coaches; nurses and nutritionists . . . or any red-blooded writer with a heart. For more information, visit https://creativenonfiction.org/
Reading Period: January 17 – February 17
The Southhampton Review publishes fiction, nonfiction, poetry, fine art, photography, graphic stories, and essays and encourages submissions from unpublished authors. Their goal is to be inclusive of marginalized voices, to be a literary journal in which their readers will find themselves represented. For more information, visit https://www.thesouthamptonreview.com/
Application Deadline: February 1
Simmons College’s MFA program offers writers the opportunity to engage with picture books, young adult realism, beginning and middle-grade readers, and graphic novels. Core classes will include teachers, librarians, editors, illustrators, and academics. For more information, visit http://www.simmons.edu/academics/graduate-programs/writing-for-children-mfa
Submission Period: March 1 – April 10
A prize of $2000, a tailored edit, and a consultation with an agent is given for the first five pages of a work of fiction or creative nonfiction. Also awarded will be a second place prize of $1500 and a third place prize of $1000 (both with a tailored edit and a consultation with an agent). The competition is for writers who are not currently represented by a literary agent. For more information, visit https://www.firstpagesprize.com/
Submission Period: March 1 – April 30
A prize of $1000 and publication in Poetry International is offered for a single poem. Poetry International is one of the oldest and most respected literary journals dedicated to publishing poetry from around the globe. Each issue of the print journal brings together poems, portfolios, and prose representing a rich diversity of countries and languages. For more information, visit https://poetryinternational.sdsu.edu/
Submission Period: March 1 – August 31
The Lab Prize offers $10,000 and publication by University of New Orleans Press for a short story collection or novel. The work does not have to be regionally focused. There is no word limit. There is no restriction on subjects covered. The contest is open to all authors from around the world, regardless of publishing history. For more information, visit https://www.uno.edu/unopress/lab
SmokeLong Quarterly publishes flash narratives up to 1000 words and pays $50/story. They do not consider poetry but do consider essays on craft and teaching flash for their blog. For more information, visit https://www.smokelong.com/
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“A story forgotten or left untold is a machete left in the rain.”
—Julian Randall, https://juliandavidrandall.com/


Latinidad® © 2003 by Marcela Landres