We love to celebrate Latinx and Afro-Latinx literature every single day, all year long. Latinxs have long been severely under-represented in the literary world, but in more recent years, many Latinx authors are coming to the forefront. They’re creating stories that both speak to our experiences and depict us simply going through the ups-and-downs of life like everyone else. It brings us so much joy to read books featuring characters that look like us, sound like us and share our perspectives. This includes works by talented Afro-Latina authors like Elizabeth Acevedo and Veronica Chambers who have elevated our stories with their storytelling, and put modern Latinx literature on the map. Read on to learn more about 10 other Afro-Latina writers you should have on your radar.
Prolific romance novel author Mia Sosa is of Puerto Rican and Brazilian descent, who has written nine books including two series and three stand-alone novels. Her latest, The Wedding Crasher, is scheduled to come out later this year. Mia was also featured in the 2021 Latinx romance anthology, Amor Actually.
Aya de Leon
Puerto Rican, West Indian and Black author, Aya de Leon has already penned eight books and has at least four more on the way between now and 2023. Her 2019 novel Side Chick Nation, part of the feminist heists series “Justice Hustlers”, was the first book set in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. She’s also penned two children’s books focused on equality and empowerment for Black and Brown girls.
Cleyvis Natera is a Dominican author whose debut novel, Neruda on the Park, about a Dominican family in NYC who adjust differently to gentrification come out May 17. Cleyvis is a creative writing teacher at Fordham University whose fiction and essays been published in TIME and The Washington Post among others. She’s no stranger to the literary world having written a number of professional book reviews, including for Elizabeth Acevedo’s The Poet X and Julia Alvarez’s Afterlife.
Dominican American Naima Coster is a New York Times bestselling author who has had two novels published in the past four years: debut novel Halsey Street (2018) andWhat’s Mine and Yours (2021). Both books speak to the Latinx experience and tackle topics including racial and socio-economic disparities and gentrification. Naima also appeared in the Latinx short story anthology, Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed released in 2021.
Dominican author Adriana Herrera has been busy dominating the world of Latinx romance literature for quite some time now. She’s a USA Today bestselling author who has written more than a dozen books and been featured in two anthologies including the aforementioned Amor, Actually. Her forthcoming book, A Caribbean Heiress in Paris, will be the first in a series and is set to come out on May 31, 2022.
Poet Aja Monet, who is of Jamaican and Cuban descent, published her first book of poetry, My Mother Was a Freedom Fighter in 2017, garnering praise from the likes of Ave Duvernay, Roxane Gay and Angela Y. Davis. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and considers herself a “surrealist blues poet.” In 2007, she won the Nuyorican Poets Cafe Grand Slam award, and she continues to explore the themes of gender, race and spirituality that have long been a trademark of her work.
Dominican-American author Lorraine Avila’s first book Malcriada and Other Stories, was released in 2019, and quickly received praise from her fellow writers including Elizabeth Acevedo and Gabby Rivera. She hopes to use her work to escape generational trauma and break away from traditions of silence. She currently teaches composition at the university level and has two books coming out between now and 2023, the first of which is titled, Celestial Summer, and is expected in the spring of 2022.
Melania Luisa Marte
Poet Melania Luisa Marte, who is of Dominican descent, garnered attention for her poem, Afro-Latina, when it was featured on Instagram’s IG TV for National Poetry Month. She is currently working on her first poetry book, Plantains and Our Becoming, which was originally published as a limited edition chapbook and is now scheduled for a full release in the summer of 2023.
Queer Black Mexican American poet Ariana Brown published her first book of poetry, We Are Owed, in 2021 examining what it’s like to be both Black and Mexican. She also released a poetry chapbook Sana Sana (2020) featuring some of her best known and favorite poems including “Superpower.”
Afro-Boricua writer Ivelisse Rodriguez penned the 2018 collection of short stories, Love War Stories, which chronicles the trials and tribulations of finding love from the perspectives of various female characters, most of whom are Puerto Rican. She’s received praise from famed Latinx authors including Angie Cruz, Junot Diaz, and Patricia Engle.