In the great Pacific Northwest, you can find a growing and diverse population where different cultures mingle. Of them, the people who identify as Hispanic are around 12 percent, and according to the 2020 US census, about 18.7 percent of the population identified as Hispanic or Latina/Latino. This is an important and growing part of the US population that also reflects in the current literature. That’s why here we present you with some emerging and established Latinx authors that you should keep an eye out for.
Starting off we have Carmen María Machado (she/her), who is already establishing herself as a prominent Cuban American writer. She debuted in 2017 with her book Her Body And Other Parties, a short fiction collection that was a finalist of the 2017 National Book Award. You should also consider her short comic series published under DC comics in 2020 called The Low, Low Woods. It’s a horror tale about two LGBTQ+ teenagers, El and Octavia, as they try to solve the mystery of the “memory loss” that seems to be affecting people in town while fighting the horrors that attack them in a story about acceptance, healing, and growth beyond trauma.
If you are interested in YA novels, you should follow the work of Crystal Maldonado (she/her). Crystal is a new author who released her debut novel Fat Chance, Charlie Vega in 2021. This is a coming-of-age story about a young plus-size Latina named Charlie as she navigates the difficulties of her life, her caustic relationship with her mother, and the problematic blossoming of a new relationship with someone who first went after her best friend. This is a guaranteed recommendation for anyone looking for a novel that combines the denunciation of fatphobia and the problems it carries with an exploration of self-love and acceptance from the perspective of a Latinx teenager. And if you want to keep reading her work make sure to follow her next novel No Filter and Other Lies.
Now, if you prefer graphic media, and are looking for Latinx and LGBTQ+ representation in that medium, look no further than Terry Blas (he/him). Self-introduced as a “chicano-queer-writer-illustrator” on his social media, Terry is a Portland-residing author. In his mini comic books, You Say Latino and You Say Latinx he explores the ideas of what is Latina/Latino and Latinx from an auto-biographical perspective. On the other hand, if you would like to read his works of fiction and are looking for a story that combines mystery with dark comedy, you should check out Dead Weight. It revolves around a young group attending a weight-loss camp who witness the murder of one of their counselors, only to find out later that their body has disappeared, which prompts them to try and solve the murder mystery.
Finally, if you would like to read interesting works of nonfiction you should look into the work of Emilly Prado (she/her), an author, educator, and DJ based in Portland, Oregon, since 2008. She also was an independent reporter for five years who in her writing focused on neglected communities. In her latest book, a collection of essays titled Funeral for Flaca, she touches on marginalization from an autobiographical perspective. It won the 2022 Pacific Northwest Book Award. In the book, she seeks to navigate the sea of labels regarding Latinx identity while also trying to self-define one’s identity.
If you decide to pick some of these works next time that you are at your local bookshop or browsing online, make sure to look around and you will certainly find an interesting spectrum of Latinx authors to pick from.