Posts Tagged ‘#LatinoLit’

As a young 22-year-old editor for Houghton Mifflin Company in 1991, I had the pleasure to work with many incredible authors who were overlooked by the mainstream.

New Mexico’s Sabine Ulibarrí was one of those authors. The first story I ever edited was a short story by Ulibarrí called “Yo me llamo Antonio,” a fictional piece about a young boy named Antonio. His teachers wanted to call him Anthony or Tony, but this very proud little boy insisted that his name was Antonio.


We ran the story for Celebremos la literatura, our Spanish Reading series, and the story has always resonated with me. And so did Ulibarrí, who died ten years ago this month in 2003. The following video provides an excellent overview of his works.

Gracias, Don Sabine, for your grace and talent. I have never forgotten the day when I first read your works.

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They say time heals everything and in the case of award-winning author Alisa Valdes-Rodríguez, her 2011 holiday season will be much more pleasant than 2010. A year after going through a very public battle for the film rights of the popular THE DIRTY GIRLS SOCIAL CLUB, Valdes-Rodriguez announced this week on her blog that Encanto Productions, the company headed up by  Ann Lopez (George Lopez’s ex-wife), did not renew the novel’s rights.

Alisa Valdes-Rodríguez

As Valdes-Rodríguez writes:

Two weeks ago, the option expired. The production company had the choice to buy the rights forever, for next to nothing. To my great surprise, considering the bad blood among all the people involved, they did not. I’d half expected to get a check at midnight, just to put me “in my place” for objecting to what they’d done to my work. But they did not.

They gave me back the rights.

This was huge.

People close to me know that I had all but given up on ever seeing the rights again. But now, here I am, in full possession of them again, and much better prepared to move forward.

Happily, the story is still in great demand for the big and small screen. I’m fielding calls from big names on it. This time, I’m taking my time. This time, I’m doing all the homework that needs to be done before moving forward with anyone.

This time, we’ll be doing this my way, and it will be beautiful, and it will succeed.

I am grateful for the hardships and conflicts of the past year. I would never have learned so much without them. I am also grateful to the production company for doing the right thing and giving me my book back. It was a grand and gorgeous gesture, and one that won’t be forgotten. I suspect this year hasn’t been hard just for me, but also for the head of that company, who has gone through hell for her own reasons. I wish her well, and sincerely hope for blessings and happiness to come to her.

Things are moving quickly. I’ll keep you all updated. We’ve been waiting a long time for this to happen. Eight long years. But this time, it will.


xo Alisa Valdes


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God bless @mskittyalvarez. Not only is she an amazing Twitter and Facebook friend (even though she went to Penn), she is one of the most positive angels who has entered my life.

Kitty is the real deal and she is one of the most smart and engaging online peeps in our universe. Today, Kitty came up with an AMAZING IDEA that will make the #LatinoLit community even better. This is what she tweeted out:

So, Kitty, we are SO IN! What book should be read first?

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When we read the amazing poem this weekend by our friend and fellow writer Efrain Ortiz Jr, it got us thinking: it’s time to express pride. So, if you are a Puerto Rican poet, writer, blogger or just one proud boricua, add your link to your poem down below in the comments section or add a few lines about why your pride is deeper than some parade on 5th Avenue. ¡Viva el orgullo boricua!

This is NOT Boricua Pride

My Own Parada

My own parada

I dance in my heart

My own bandera

I fly in my soul

My own patria

I love in my blood

My own pueblo

I scream to be free.

I banish all these things to EL CARAJO:

Boricua Kangols

Boricua shirts with boricua shorts with boricua socks and boricua shoes

Boricua cars covered with boricua pennants and boricua horns

Boricua shouts that would rather scream for JLO and Reggaetón instead of Albizu

My own parada

I celebrate in my heart

My fellow boricuas

Paren la parada falsa

Stop the false parade

Celebren sus propias paradas

Celebrate your own parades.

© Julio Ricardo Varela

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Today on #LatinoLit we are proud to present the an amazing piece about REAL BORICUA PRIDE by the very talented Efrain Ortiz, Jr. As millions of Puerto Ricans swarm 5th Avenue for the Puerto Rican Day Parade, we as a country, as a people, still stay silent and ignorant of what it is to be BORICUA. ¡Despierta, boricua, coño, despierta!

Efrain Ortiz, Jr.


by Efrain Ortiz, Jr

There are no trinkets to be worn

There are no flags to fly

There is no shouting at the top of my lungs

There is no float I want to see passing by

My pride is deeper than that

Deeper than all the commercialism

Far deeper than the corporate capitalist

Getting rich off the backs of the very same parade viewers

Deeper than the politician waving a flag for support


Vote for me, vote for me…

My pride is deeper than that

To celebrate and show cultural pride

Let it be known; there’s nothing wrong with that

I shouted and waved the same

When I didn’t know from where I came

Not for not wanting, not for want to ignore

One-sided histories made for want of more

And more….

And more…

My pride is deeper than that

There are things that can’t be changed

Like the blood that flows through my veins

Blood that flows like a thousand waving flags

In sync and in harmony

With a heart that pulsates the song of a lone star

Blood with origins in another land

Land once tended by indigenous peoples

Land that gave birth to my forbearers

Etched deep within my pulsating heart

I affirm my identity with that of the forbearers

And proclaim…..my pride is deeper than that.


©Efrain Ortiz Jr.

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I am proud to announce that one of my chapters for FRANKY BENÍTEZ was published in the book 100 STORIES FOR QUEENSLAND, a charity anthology of flash fiction from authors across the globe. Proceeds from all book sales are donated to The Queensland Premier’s Flood Appeal. The book is available as an eBook or trade paperback.

The chapter, called “Power’s Sunday Slam,” is a tribute to the Puerto Rican Winter League and one of Major League Baseball’s first Black Latino stars, Víctor Pellot (or Vic Power). Today, all 100 authors in the anthology are holding an AMAZON CHART RUSH to celebrate the launch of the anthology. So far, the results have been outstanding, as reported by the editors of the book. Help me make some Amazon history in the U.S. by buying a book today?

Here is the current report about 100 STORIES FOR QUEENSLAND as of this morning:

Hello everyone,
It is a little after midnight here in Australia and I have lots of amazingly good news.

First, 100 Stories for Queensland is one top of the UK movers and shakers list… up a ridiculous up 76,471% from 183,006 to 239 in just six hours.

100 Stories is currently sitting at 239 on the UK best seller list… we’re aiming to get it into the top 100.

In its categories… it is #3 in the short stories and general fiction anthology sections.

With the US just waking… we’re seeing some more amazing movement.

Currently sitting at 1313 on the bestseller list (up from 446,000 yesterday!) and just cracked the top 20 in the General Fiction Anthology category at #20.

Thank you all of you who have book books, or added books to your wish list. We’re only a quarter of the way through the 24 hour period, but I have a great feeling about where we will end up.

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The #LatinoLit series continues with a poem by Puerto Rican author and poet Odilia Rivera Santos. As she states on Facebook Author page:

I was born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico and moved to the South Bronx at the age of almost-six. I am from a family of nine and nobody speaks to anyone else in my family very often, which is a long story that doesn’t matter.
The move from Puerto Rico to NYC meant that as a family, we were thrown into an environment in which shootings, drug addicts and constant chaos was the norm. I immersed myself in reading and writing at a young age, which allowed me to receive an excellent liberal arts education, and the skills necessary to be accepted into specialized high schools — but I hated high school.
I have studied yoga, meditation, nutrition, Western Herbal Medicine, the Fundamentals of Traditional Chinese Medicine, French, and received a BA in Comparative Literature.
I love to read and learn new skills. Sometimes, people say they don’t use their degree and I always think that is an incredibly ignorant statement; it is like saying “I never use my brain.”
I use all I have learned from relatives, books, classes, films, life experiences and music everyday.
There is no better mix then a little autodidacticism and formal education; this concoction created an extraordinarily well-organized circuitry that allows me to gain new skills quickly, and to assess and understand new situations well enough to ask questions . . . so much of life is rooted in asking questions.

#LatinoLit Author Odilia Rivera Santos

We are proud to present one of her poems form her blog:

in Cuba, …

When I arrived in Cuba, a man attached himself to me
his hands were strong; his eyes aggressive
When I arrived in Cuba, the breeze confused me
women stared, their smiles patched with gold
When I arrived in Cuba, I did not feel sad
I breathed free air, but a man spoke
of liberty
he taught me what I had not seen.
When I arrived in Cuba, I found another man
with the face of a boy
he searches; he dances in the ruins; he speaks of
on the margins
in his house, he is not a complete man
When I arrived in Cuba, the streets had games
and rules
I understood a little
When I arrived in Cuba, I did not get lost easily
it was with great effort that I got lost
When I arrived, I distributed gifts
people accept a favor, a gift, a hand
without questions
When I arrived, it was an island, a city, a barrio
When I arrived, I asked if they had squirrels
When I arrived, I dreamt of standing
on a balcony to admire the stars
there was no balcony
I fell for a little while
it was not an unpleasant experience
Soon I saw I was not foreign
I have been hungry
I have accomplished much
with little
I know how to sing and argue
I want to stay home
and see the world too.

© Odilia Rivera Santos

To know more about Odilia, become a fan of her Facebook Author Page or follow her on Twitter.

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