Photo: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore
News and Entertainment

12 Must-Read Latina Authors, According to Lin-Manuel Miranda

Another day, another wonderful and encouraging Twitter post from Lin-Manuel Miranda. The recent birthday boy was asked by a fan to name “some Hispanic women authors/poets/playwrights to read in class” and the Hamilton creator went to town with suggestions. The avid reader, who often tweets entertainment news and book recommendations, had a lot of suggestions for his curious fan—and his fandom quickly chimed in with even more suggestions of great Latinx women creatives that we all simply MUST know.

Although this list of 12 Latina authors, poets and playwrights is by no means extensive, you can follow the conversation on Twitter for more ideas. Some of the suggestions that Miranda’s fans suggested include: Pam Muñoz Ryan, Isabel Quintero, Erika L. Sánchez, Daisy Hernandez, Luisa Valenzuela, Gabriela Mistra, Cherrie Moraga, Margarita Engle, Clarice Linspector, Jennine Capó Crucet, Anna-Marie McLemore, Valeria Luiselli, Rosario Castellanos, Margaux Fragoso, Gloria Anzaldua, Gloria Fuentes, Clarice Lispector, Amalia Hernandez, Yesika Salgado, and so many more.

1. Sandra Cisneros

Photo: Amazon.com

Best known for the critically acclaimed The House on Mango Street, Cisneros is an internationally acclaimed poet and novelist and has received numerous awards, including the Lannan Literary Award and the American Book Award.

2. Maria Irene Fornés

Photo: Amazon.com

Maria Irene Fornés is a Cuban-American avant-garde playwright who was instrumental in the Off-Off-Broadway movement of the 1960s. She has won a total of nine Obie Awards and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for her play And What of the Night? in 1990.

3. Julia De Burgos

Photo: Amazon.com

The Puerto Rican poet is also known as an advocate of Puerto Rican independence and a civil rights activist for women and African/Afro-Caribbean writers. She has served as Secretary General of the Daughters of Freedom and the women’s branch of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party.

4. Julia Alvarez

Photo: Amazon.com

Her iconic works include How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents and In the Time of Butterflies, but the Dominican-American writer is also regarded for her poetry and essays. Her work is best known for bridging the gap of being American and Latinx.

5. Mayda Del Valle

Photo: Amazon.com

It should come as no surprise for fans of Lin-Manuel’s work that he lists the eponymous hip hop poet Mayda Del Valle on his must-read list. Her poems are a love letter to Chicago, migration, and the meaning of home (leaving it, taking it with you, and building a new home elsewhere).

6. Ana Castillo

Photo: Amazon.com

The celebrated and distinguished poet, novelist, short story writer, essayist, editor, playwright, translator, and independent scholar Ana Castillo sure wears a lot of hats. She has numerous books to her name, but her latest collection of essays, Black Dove, may be one of our favorites.

7. Isabel Allende

Photo: Amazon.com

It’s probably pretty obvious why Isabel Allende is on the list, but just in case you didn’t know: Allende has written many novels, a collection of short stories, three memoirs, and a trilogy of children’s novels. Her books have been translated into more than 27 languages. Wowza!

8. Laura Esquivel

Photo: Amazon.com

The award-winning author of Like Water for Chocolate, which has been translated into 35 languages, continues to publish. The Mexican author’s most famous novel was also made into a film that was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

9. Elizabeth Swados

Photo: Amazon.com

Much of the American writer, composer, musician, and theater director’s work features humorous takes on darker issues such as racism, murder, and mental illness. Her 2014 picture book, My Depression, recounts the author’s dealing with depression and other serious topics in a poignant way.

10. Mariposa

Photo: Amazon.com

Mariposa, a.k.a. Deborah “Mariposa” McCollin, is a writer, poet, and performer. Writing often about the struggle of love, the author uses her pen to tease with her blend of erotic and sensual flavors… as well as to empower others.

11. Esmeralda Santiago

Photo: Amazon.com

The Puerto Rican author and former actress is best known for her novels and memoirs, such as the unforgettable When I Was Puerto Rican. The book was named “The Best Memoirs of a Generation” by Oprah’s Book Club and we can definitely see why.

12. Raquel Cepeda

Photo: Amazon.com

Writer and documentary filmmaker Raquel Cepeda, who was born in Harlem to Dominican parents, chronicled her year-long journey to discover the truth about her ancestry while looking at what it means to be Latina today in a book that became an instant classic.