Afro-Latinidad has finally come front and center and as we celebrate its exposure in music and film – there are still so many areas where Afro-Latinos, especially Afro-Latinas, are still working hard to find a spotlight. In literature, the canon is generally decided upon by the same ivory tower institutions over and over again until the end of time. There’s a reason why we still read F. Scott Fitzgerald, Harper Lee, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway in high school despite the presence of other more culturally relevant authors. No shade, books like The Great Gatsby and Of Mice and Men are classics, but they are classics because we have been told that they are the pinnacle of great literature. So as Black History Month comes to a close it’s a good time to celebrate the Afro-Latinas who’s work contributes to the global conversation by continuing to provide the literary world with alternate voices, new textures and different perspectives.
The Devil’s Nose by Luz Argentina Chiriboga
This historical fiction is a story of the thousands of Jamaicans journeyed to Ecuador at the end of the nineteenth century, with hopes for a brighter future. However, to make that dream a reality, first they had to build Presidente Eloy Alfaro’s ambitious project – a railroad system that would connect Guayaquil and Quito. And in order to do that they had to conquer one of the most dangerous peaks in the Andes – la nariz del diablo (The Devil’s Nose) – one of the greatest feats of engineering from the viewpoint of the people who built it.