Dig into the work of these five writers for Hispanic Heritage Month

By Molly Minturn | September 21, 2023

Guest post by Amy Hunsaker, Music & Performing Arts Librarian

It’s time to celebrate Latinx authors during Hispanic Heritage Month, which overlaps September and the first few weeks of October. Don’t know where to start? This year, we’ve gathered a list of five Latinx authors whose works we recommend reading. Take a look below.

  • House of the Spirits cover Isabel Allende’s contributions to Latinx literature are substantial, encompassing her innovative writing style, feminist perspective, advocacy, and cultural bridging. Her work has left an indelible mark on the literary landscape, making her a significant figure in the world of Latinx literature. Some of her more notable works include “The House of the Spirits (“La Casa de los Espíritus), “Eva Luna, and “Daughter of Fortune (“Hija de la fortuna”).
  • Julia Alvarez is a highly influential Dominican American writer known for her powerful storytelling and exploration of themes related to identity and immigration. Her writing fosters cross-cultural understanding, bridging the gap between the Dominican Republic and the United States and facilitating dialogue on issues of identity and belonging. To get a good understanding of her writing, try reading “How the García Girls Lost Their Accents” and “In the Time of the Butterflies.
  • House on Mago Street cover Sandra Cisneros played a crucial role in shaping and popularizing Chicana literature, which explores the experiences of Mexican American and Chicano communities in the United States. Cisneros’ novel “The House on Mango Street” is a seminal work in Latinx literature. It provides a poignant and relatable portrayal of growing up in a marginalized urban environment, and it has become a staple in classrooms and literary discussions.
  • Carlos Fuentes was a central figure in the Latin American literary boom of the 1960s and 1970s whose works helped shape and define modern Latin American literature. Fuentes’ writing often delves into political and social issues, offering incisive critiques of power dynamics, politics, and social injustices both in Mexico and globally. Many of his novels, such as “The Death of Artemio Cruz and “Terra Nostra,” grapple with the complexities of Mexican identity and history, shedding light on the cultural nuances of the nation.
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude coverColombian novelist and Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez is credited with popularizing and defining the genre of magical realism in literature. This style combines the ordinary with the extraordinary, blurring the lines between reality and fantasy. His novel “One Hundred Years of Solitude” is a quintessential example of this genre. Many of García Márquez’s works explore themes of politics, power, and social injustice. He was an astute observer of Latin American political history, and his writings often served as a commentary on the socio-political realities of the region. His works have been translated into numerous languages and have been read and celebrated worldwide. This global reach helped bring attention to Latin American literature and culture on a global scale in the 20th century.

In addition …

The Library provides a Spanish Language & Literature guide to direct you to the best resources for the study of Spanish language and literature at UVA, as well as a Latin American & Iberian Studies research guide that includes collections about Latin America, Caribbean, Portugal, and Spain.

And don’t miss our newest Spanish-language databases available for free to UVA students, faculty, and staff:

  • Platino Educa is a Spanish-language film streaming platform with over 300 films from Spain and Latin America. The films are classified by subject and cover a broad range of themes, including art, history, environmental science, literature, and social justice. The films were specifically selected for teaching and some come paired with preselected scene clips and educational guides. Films have Spanish and English subtitles.
  • Latinx Thought and Culture: The NPR Archive, 1979-1990 showcases two radio programs: the weekly Spanish-language Enfoque Nacional (1979-1988) and the daily English-language Latin File (1988-1990), available for the first time in a searchable database as digitized audio with transcripts. They focus on Latinx issues related to politics, sociology, human rights, the arts and more with interviews of key figures and news reporting by a new generation of Latinx journalists at the time.
  • Hispanic Life in America: Series 3 is a news media resources database sourced from more than 17,000 American and global news sources, including over 700 Spanish-language or bilingual publications. It covers arts and entertainment, civil rights and activism, immigration and citizenship, sports and athletes, labor, religion, science and technology, and society and culture.