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Like its island companion Haiti, the literature of the Dominican Republic is perhaps not as widely translated into English as that of other (whiter) Latin American nations. However, Dominican literature—especially that produced by the vast Dominican diaspora in the US—is, of late, taking up more space on the world literary stage, in translation or otherwise.
Here are my picks for five contemporary Dominican and Dominican-American writers you should know (and read).
(Please note that this series focuses on authors and essayists. For poets from the Dominican Republic, check out this post.)
Musician and author Rita Indiana was born in Santo Domingo in 1977 and is now based in Puerto Rico. Perhaps best known for her novels Papi and Tentacle, both of which touch on queer themes and were translated into English by Achy Obejas, Indiana is also the writer of Made in Saturn. For Tentacle, Indiana won the Grand Prize of the Association of Caribbean Writers.
Read my review of Tentacle here.
Brooklyn-based Dominican-American writer Naima Coster is a novelist and essayist, who was named as a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honouree in 2020. Known for novels which interrogate family and race—Halsey Street and What’s Mine and Yours—Coster also writes a newsletter called Bloom How You Must and teaches at Antioch University in LA.
Read my review of What’s Mine and Yours here.
Romance writer Adriana Herrera is the author of the Dreamer series—including American Dreamer, American Fairytale, and American Love Story—as well as the queer holiday romance Mangos and Mistletoe. Though born and raised in the Dominican Republic, Herrera regularly advocates for diversity in the romance genre and co-founded the Queer Romance PoC Collective.
New York Times-bestselling author and poet Elizabeth Acevedo was born to Dominican parents in Harlem and has four YA novels to her name to date. Amongst them is the Carnegie Medal and National Book Award winner The Poet X, as well as With the Fire on High and Clap When You Land. As a poet, Acevedo is a CantoMundo fellow and former National Poetry Slam Champion.
Born in Harlem to Dominican parents, Raquel Cepeda lived in the Dominican Republic for a spell as a child. Known for her work as a journalist, memoirist, and filmmaker, Cepeda is the author of Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina and a National Golden Gloves boxer currently based in New York City. She’s also working on a collection of essays titled East of Broadway about Inwood.