+the scene
(Photo © Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for PEN America)

7 Latina Writers You Should Know About!

Written by Ahshara Colon. Published: September 15 2023


When it comes to the writing world, there are so many stories out there. Stories about food, culture, music, nature… you name it, it’s probably out there and there is something for everybody. When it comes to writing, there are so many authors out in the world trying to make their mark, and succeeding, and it can be a bit hard to keep track of it all! So, here are some Latina writers you should add to your list of books to read in this month!


1. Laura Esquivel

Laura Esquivel is a Latina writer born in 1950 in Mexico City, Mexico. She began her work as a Kindergarten teacher and later went on to write television programs for children in the 1970s and '80s. She is best known for her book Como Agua Para Chocolate/Like Water for Chocolate, which serves as a love letter to tradition, food, and love itself. It has sold over 4.5 million copies, and after its release, the book was made into an award-winning film. Esquivel is also famous for other books, such as 1995's La Ley del amor/The Law of Love and 2001's Tan veloz como el deseo/Swift as Desire.




2. Isabel Allende

Isabel Allende is a Chilean writer who was born in Peru in August 1942. She moved to Venezuela as a political refugee. Her father was the president of Chile, and after a military coup, her family was forced to leave. Her first book, La Casa de los Espiritus/The House of Spirits came out in 1982 and was Allende’s major break into the writing world. The book began as a letter to her dying grandfather, whom she could not visit in Chile, and since then, Allende’s writing has exploded into more than 20 novels and short story collectons selling over 70 million copies. Allende started the Isabel Allende Foundation in 1996 as a dedication to her daughter, Paula Frias, who died at the age of 29. Paula volunteered in poor communities in Spain and Venezuela as an educator and psychologist. Allende created this foundation to continue her daughter's work and contributes to it with income from her books. 




3. Julia Alvarez

Julia Alvarez was born in New York City in 1950. A few months later, her parents returned to the Dominican Republic after a self-imposed exile from the dictator Rafael Trujillo. Her parents then became involved in an underground plan to overthrow the dictator and had to flee to the United States to avoid being imprisoned. They returned in 1960, and here Alvarez struggled to assimilate and learn the language. Then, she began to write. In the Time of Butterflies is inspired by two young women, the Mirabel sisters, who started the underground plot to overthrow the dictatorship. They were murdered by the government four months after Alvarez’s family left DR. Alvarez did not want to leave their story untold, so she spun it into a fiction novel to give women fighting against injustices their own story. She is also famous for her books How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents and The Other Side/El Otro Lado




4. Kat Fajardo

If you’re looking for writers who write for a younger crowd, Kat Fajardo is the writer for you! Kat is a Honduran-Colombian writer from Loisaida, New York City, who has authored books like Miss Quinces, a graphic novel about a young girl who would rather do anything but plan her Quincenera. Kat has been recognised in Remezcla, El Hispanic News, and Huffington Post Latino Voices!


5. Carmen Maria Machado

Carmen Maria Machado grew up in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and is an author inspired by surrealism, historical narratives, and experimentation. Her Body and Other Parties, an award-winning short story series, was published in 2017. Then, in 2019, Machado published In the Dream House, a best-selling memoir surrounding Machado’s two-year relationship with her ex-girlfriend and the abuse she suffered during that time. Amongst her other writing, Machado has been the winner of the Bard Fiction Prize, the Brooklyn Public Library Prize, and many more.




6. Reyna Grande

Reyna Grande was born in Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico. In 1985, Reyna left Iguala to start her own journey and later attended Pasadena City College, making her the first person to attend college in her family. She graduated from the University of California with a B.A in Creative Writing and Film & Video. She is the author of the best-selling book The Distance Between Us about her life before and after arriving in the United States from Mexico as an undocumented child immigrant. She then wrote a sequel called A Dream Called Home. Some of her awards include The American Book Award and El Premio Aztlan Literary Award. 


7. Tamika Burgess

Last but not least, we have Tamika Burgess, a Panamanian writer from California. She started her writing journey after moving to NYC where she realized her passion for highlighting the Black Latina experience. While writing her first book, she started “Es Mi Cultura”, a a newsletter dedicated to recognizing Black Latinas who proudly acknowledge their African ancestry while also staying true to their Latina culture. Her book Sincerely Sicily is written for a younger crowd and was inspired by Burgess's own life as a Black Latina.


Happy reading!