Latinx Authors Descend on Texas Book Festival
Over the next two days the 2017 Texas Book Festival will take place in Austin, Texas. Founded in 1995 by former First Lady and librarian, Laura W. Bush, the non-profit organization set out to promote reading and to support Texas libraries—holding its first festival in November of 1996. Today, the Texas Book Festival has become one of the largest literary festivals in the nation, featuring more than 275 authors and expected crowds exceeding 50,000 visitors in attendance. As readers of all ages get ready to walk about the grounds of the Texas Capitol and Congress Avenue, we have compiled a list of some of the Latinx writers to be on the lookout for. Over the weekend we will be conducting interviews with some of these writers and navigating all the Texas Book Festival has to offer.
Jorge Argueta for En Carne Propia / Flesh Wounds: Memoria Poética /A Poetic Memoir
Argueta is a bi-lingual poet and writer from El Salvador. Usually a children’s book author, Argueta shifts his attention to a new memoir focusing on his time spent in El Salvador and the abrupt pause caused by the Salvadorian Civil War in 1980. In his blend of poetry and memoir, Argueta takes readers through the experiences of living as a refugee and the journey towards safety in the United States.
Carina Chocano for You Play the Girl: On Playboy Bunnies, Stepford Wives, Train Wrecks, & Other Mixed Messages (Mariner Books)
Carina Chocano has been published in numerous publications such as The Cut, Rolling Stone, and is a writing contributor for The New York Times Magazine. In You Play the Girl, Chocano blends personal experiences with cultural analysis to further evaluate the gender roles placed on women in pop culture from the 1970s to today. Provocative and thoughtful, Chocano highlights what it means to exist as a woman in a society that relies heavily on the images of fictional and real life characters.
Bárbara Renaud González for Las Nalgas de JLo/JLo’s Booty (Aztlan Liberty Press)
González’s past works include her novel, Golondrina, why did you leave me? and the children’s book The Boy Made of Lightning. With a Masters of Social Work from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and a PHD in Immigration and Labor from the Harvard Kennedy School, she combines her social work with her time spent as a columnist for the San Antonio Express News to compile a book of columns and poems to discuss multiple issues of sexism, racism, immigration, and much more.
Barbara Gonzalez Cigarroa for A Mexican Dream and Other Compositions (Texas Christian University Press)
As a Texas native from Laredo, Cigarroa has worked as an immigration attorney in El Paso, Texas and New York City. Her debut collection of vignettes of family histories—dating back to her ancestors in the early 20th century—delves into the impact they have left on both her and the border community. From family caregivers, to doctors, to government officials, Cigarroa creates a poetic narrative of a deep family tree and the impact left by Latinos on a border community.
Manuel Gonzalez for The Regional Office is Under Attack! (Riverhead Books)
Gonzalez is the author of the short story collection, The Miniature Wife, and has been published in Esquire and McSweeney’s. In The Regional Office is Under Attack!, Gonzalez crafts a science fiction work with a large cast of women assassins and spies on both ends of a top secret organization. Filled with the right balance of humor and absurdity, Gonzalez’s work takes the reader on a fast-paced action story.
Christine Granados for Fight Like a Man and Other Stories We Tell Our Children (University of New Mexico Press)
Granados is a journalist from El Paso, Texas and has written for the El Paso Times and the Austin American-Statesman. In her second novel, Fight Like a Man revolves around the lives of two people—one, a recently single pregnant mother, and another, a man raising two separate families on each side of the U.S./Mexico border. Through a series of continuous struggles, Granados illustrates their journeys towards a normal life along the border.
José Antonio Rodríguez for House Built on Ashes: A Memoir (University of Oklahoma Press)
Rodríguez’s poetry has been featured on publications such as The New Yorker, The Texas Observer, and Huizache. In his most recent publication, Rodríguez uses his style of writing to narrate his life from his childhood as an immigrant from Mexico to an adult earning a higher education and recalling his life back in Mexico. Through his poetic history, Rodríguez illuminates the unfortunately common experience of living as a lower-class family attempting to make a living in the U.S., catching up to the American Dream.
Erika L. Sanchez for I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
A poet and a writer, Sanchez’s new novel is a National Book Award finalist for young adult fiction, and was recently listed on the New York Times’s top five list of best-selling young adult books. Following the death of Olga, Julia’s older sister, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter follows the different viewpoints that challenge Olga’s living image as perfect, and Julia’s struggles while she simultaneously tries to fill Olga’s shoes and learns more about Olga’s continuously blurring. Sanchez’s writing isn’t hesitant in the slightest in this novel, which clearly echoes the expectations placed on young girls in traditional Mexican-American families.
There are plenty more writers that will be in attendance at the festival. The event is free to the public. For more information on their appearances and books, visit www.texasbookfestival.org, and if you are unable to attend, their books are available both online and at your local bookstore.