Afro-Latinas are grossly underrepresented in Latina culture, despite being a big part of it. Fortunately, there are plenty of people in the Afro-Latinx community who are making sure their voices are heard. These eight Afro-Latina authors are ensuring there is diversity in literature and sharing their stories for the world to read.
Maria Fermina dos Reis
Maria Fermina dos Reis is considered to have written the first abolitionist novel in Brazil. Her book, Ursula, which touched on the life of Afro-Brazilians in slavery, is also considered to be the first novel by a black woman (some say she was the first female Brazilian writer).
Born in Panama and raised in Brooklyn, author Veronica Chambers wrote the critically-acclaimed memoir Mama’s Girl, about her relationship with her mother. She has also co-authored several successful books, and was a senior editor at the New York Times Magazine, Glamour, and Newsweek.
Afro-Hondureña Sulma Arzu-Brown is known for her book, Bad Hair Does Not Exist!/Pelo Malo No Existe!, a children’s story that reminds young girls that all hair is beautiful. She also was the Executive Director of the Garifuna Coalition, USA Inc., (“whose mission is to serve as an advocate, a resource and a forum for the Garifuna people living in New York City”), and is the Vice President of Operations for the New York City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Teresa Cárdenas is an Afro-Cuban poet, and writer. Her books include Oloyou, Letters to My Mother, and Old Dog.
Maria Teresa Ramirez Nieva
María Teresa Ramírez Nieva alma negra alma vida, viva. Gracias por tu sabiduría. pic.twitter.com/AQUIgk93LK
— VictoriaGongoraReal (@GongoraVictoria) July 23, 2015
Afro-Colombiana Maria Teresa Ramirez Nieva is a poet, essayist, and author. Her published books include La noche de mi piel, Albalenga, and Flor de Palenque.
In this episode from #Season3, @LeftOfBlack host @NewBlackMan talks with writer and filmmaker @RaquelCepeda about her book, _Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina and growing up Hip-Hop_https://t.co/ysCGIYQjGx#10YearsOfLeftOfBlack pic.twitter.com/LJHRg5nyte
— Left of Black (@LeftOfBlack) March 22, 2020
Harlem-born Dominican Raquel Cepeda wears many hats. In addition to being a writer, she is also a filmmaker, podcaster, award-winning journalist, and cultural activist. Her books include Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina.
Lucia Charun-Illescas first Afro-Peruvian novelist. #ErnestoGamboa @MiamiPR @AfroLatinoAssoc @cultafro @soulfulafro @gpafro @AfroLatinoDC pic.twitter.com/syoj6wdLAM
— Orlando J. Addison (@oaddison) August 23, 2017
Afro-Peruana Lucia Charún-Illescas is the author of the book Malambo (her first novel). It is a work of historical fiction, focusing on the Afro-Peruvian experience in 16th and 17th century Peru.
Luz Argentina Chiriboga
“Luz Argentina Chiriboga, an Afro-Ecuadorian writer who was one of the first writers to address the duality African and Hispanic cultures.” pic.twitter.com/Z4YXHQOfjg
— Orlando J. Addison (@oaddison) August 24, 2017
Luz Argentina Chiriboga is an Afro-Ecuadorian poet and author, known for her book Bajo la piel de los tambores and short story “El Cristo de la mirada baja.” Her work not only looks at Afro-Latinos, but specifically women and their realities, from a woman’s perspective.