National Hispanic Heritage Month
New York Public Library, recommending Female Latine American Authors celebrating Hspanic Heritage Month. National Hispanic Heritage Month is the period from September 15 to October 15 in the United States, when people recognize the contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the group’s heritage and culture.
Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the long and important presence of Hispanic and Latino Americans in North America. A map of late 18th-century North America shows this presence, from the small outpost of San Francisco founded in Alta California in 1776, through the Spanish province of Texas with its gauchos (cowboys), to the fortress of St. Augustine, Florida — the first colonial settlement in North America, founded in 1513, ninety-four years before English colonists first landed in Jamestown, Virginia.
It began as Hispanic Heritage Week, established by legislation sponsored by Rep. Edward R. Roybal (D-Los Angeles) and signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in 1968. The commemorative week was expanded by legislation sponsored by Rep. Esteban Edward Torres (D-Pico Rivera) and implemented by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period (September 15 – October 15). The bill died in committee, but in 1988 Senator Paul Simon of Illinois re-submitted an amended version of the bill, S. 2200. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988 on the approval of Public Law 100-402. September 15 of every year was chosen as the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. All declared independence in 1821. In addition, Mexico, Chile and Belize celebrate their independence days on September 16, September 18, and September 21, respectively.
The annual Northwest Arkansas Hispanic Heritage Festival is held in Fayetteville, Arkansas. It was established in 2013 by the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce.
The El Barrio Latin Jazz festival in The Bronx, New York City is held annually in September to coincide with Hispanic Heritage Month.
The Smithsonian Institution hosts Hispanic Heritage Month events in Washington, D.C..
New York Public Library, Recommending Female Latin American Authors
Hispanic Heritage Month: Recommending Female Latin American Authors
by Adriana Blancarte-Hayward, Outreach Manager
September 24, 2018
The following post was written by Natasha Soto.
Latin America is known for its rich literary tradition, marked during the 1960s and 1970s by the Latin American Boom, a movement that introduced the world to such heavyweights as Julio Cortazar, Carlos Fuentes, Mario Vargas Llosa, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
While these male authors get a lot of time in the limelight, talented women have also captured the political and emotional landscape of Latin America in their books, from the Boom and beyond.
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, here is a selection of recommended books by classic and contemporary female Latin American and Latina authors for you to enjoy! These are in no particular order and are all available through the NYPL catalog.
Estados Unidos de Banana / United States of Banana by Giannina Braschi
Giannina Braschi was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and currently lives in New York City. She writes in three languages: “Spanish, Spanglish, and English,” a medley familiar to countless Latinos in the United States.
United States of Banana is an absurdist novel that takes place at the Statue of Liberty in post-9/11 New York City. Three unlikely characters—Hamlet, Zarathrustra, and Giannina—are determined to free Puerto Rican prisoner Segismundo.
Segismundo has been imprisoned by the King of The United States of Banana, who also happens to be his father, for the crime of being born. Eventually, the king reconciles, frees his son, makes Puerto Rico the fifty-first state of the country, and grants American passports to all Latin American citizens. Unexpected power shifts ensue.
While United States of Banana is available through the NYPL in Spanish, Braschi’s book Yo-Yo Boing! is primarily written in English and also available.
Leaving Tabasco by Carmen Boullosa
Boullosa is a Mexican novelist who has written widely on issues of feminism and gender roles. In her family saga, Leaving Tabasco, Boullosa follows protagonist Delmira Ulloa through her difficult journey out of the imagined state of Tabasco, where magic is embedded in everyday life.
In this town, Delmira’s grandmother floats over her bed at night, stones have been known to turn into water, and torrential downpours can be purchased at the market during the rainy season.
Absolute Solitude by Dulce Maria Loynaz
Until being awarded the Cervantes Prize in 1992, Cuban poet Dulce Maria Loynaz lived in relative obscurity in her homeland. Absolute Solitude presents a selection of her prose poems about nature, emotions, and love.
The book includes Loynaz’s works from the 1950s through her emergence in the 1990s. During her life, Loynaz came into personal contact with writers such as Federico Garcia Lorca, Gabriela Mistral, and Alejo Carpentier.
Thus Were Their Faces by Silvina Ocampo
Argentine writer Ocampo has been called “one of the twentieth century’s great masters of the short story.” Italo Calvino once said about her, “I don’t know another writer who better captures the magic inside everyday rituals, the forbidden or hidden face that our mirrors don’t show us.”
Thus Were Their Faces collects a wide range of Ocampo’s best short fiction and novella-length stories from her writing life. Her spooky stories include the likes of a marble statue of a winged horse that speaks to a girl, a house of sugar that is the site of an eerie possession, children who lock their perverse mothers in a room and burn it, and a lapdog who records the dreams of an old woman.
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TeRra Magazine Team