In 2018 Canada officially recognized the month of October as Latin American Heritage Month. It is a time to commemorate the contributions of the Latin American community in Canada – and given a Latina immigrant is typing this blogpost, we thought it would be a great opportunity to commemorate Latin American authors that have had an impact across the world.
In the first of our two-part Latin American Heritage blogpost series, we highlight four Latin American authors that changed the game in literature. Here are our picks:
- Gabriel Garcia Marquez: it is unfathomable to have the list be topped by anyone other than Garcia Marquez. Born in Colombia, this Nobel prize winner is best-known for his multi-generational novel – One Hundred Years of Solitude. His writing style – magic realism – often blurred the lines between reality and fantasy. He often covered themes like family dynamics, solitude, violence, and politics. As a journalist, he also wrote non-fiction books like his famous News of a Kidnapping which tells the story of the real abduction of two women by the Medellin Cartel founded by Pablo Escobar.
- Isabel Allende: also born in Chile, Isabel is the niece of ousted former President of Chile, Salvador Allende. For this, she had to live in exile in Venezuela for many years, where she wrote her most iconic novel The House of the Spirits. Inspired by the iconic magic realism of Latin America, much of Allende’s has a taste of fantasy. With a career spanning nearly forty years, Isabel Allende has published over 20 novels and five non-fiction books. A few personal favorites include Paula, In the Midst of Winter, and her most recent novel: Violeta.
- Pablo Neruda: born in Chile and a Nobel Laureate too, Pablo Neruda was both a diplomat and a poet. His style had touches of surrealism. In his poetry, he often covered autobiographical moments, but the thematic he is most well-known for is love. His best collection of love poems was Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair. Few pieces of writing can exemplify how expressive and deep the Spanish language is like Neruda’s love poems. If you’re learning Spanish, try reading Neruda’s poems in Spanish – poetry is a great way to learn new vocabulary!
- Carmen Maria Machado: born in the United States to a Cuban family, Carmen Maria Machado is the best-selling author of Her Body and Other Parties. Identifying as queer and having grown up in a very religious household, Carmen’s writing often covers these subjects in an often dark, psychologically thrilling, and sometimes comic way. Carmen’s latest book – In the Dream House – is a non-fiction account of Machado’s experiences in an abusive relationship with another woman. Machado’s subject matter and fierce prose have been game-changers in the Latinx book community, a must-read indeed.
If you are looking for books in Spanish in Canada, Toronto’s Spanish Bookstore located at 872 Bathurst St, has an online website that caters to Hispanic readers across Canada.
Before the month of October ends, we will publish another blogpost highlighting our favorite books about Latin America or by Latin Americans. Stay tuned!