This post is part of the #ReadMoreLatam2021 Challenge. Click here for more info.
The challenge for this month is to read a book by a Black Latin American writer.
If you’ve ever watched a telenovela, you could be forgiven for thinking that Latin Americans are all just one shiny shade of Botoxed greige. The colourism of Latin American soaps is so obvious it almost goes without saying. Almost.
And this is something that doesn’t stop at TV and film representations of Latin America either. Take a look at the Latin American publishing scene and it’s whiter and lighter faces who dominate, from Argentina to Mexico and across the Caribbean.
Books by Black authors are also less likely to be translated into English (not that that means there aren’t any Black writers, or that Black writers aren’t as talented; rather, it’s a marker of ingrained white supremacy in the publishing industry at large. Yes, even—especially?—in translation.)
That’s why this month’s #ReadMoreLatam challenge is to read a book by a Black Latin American author. There are plenty to choose from.
As usual, my recommendations for August include books I’ve read or simply books I want to read and review. Because yes, I need to read more Black writers too.
Violeta by Yolando Arroyo Pizarro
The Restless by Gerty Dambury, trans. Judith G. Miller
All Decent Animals by Oonya Kempadoo
Everything Inside by Edwidge Danticat
American Dreamer by Adriana Herrera
De Gados e Homens by Ana Paula Maia
We Are Owed by Ariana Brown
What’s Mine and Yours by Naima Coster
I, Tituba by Marysé Conde, trans. Richard Philcox
Je suis vivant by Kettly Mars
The Go-Between by Veronica Chambers
Antes que llegue la luz by Mayra Santos-Febres
Droomhuid by Joanna Werners