Tuesday, November 5, 2019

¡Pa'Que Tu Lo Sepas!: Stories to Benefit the People of Puerto Rico

Scott's note: Angel Colon revisits today to talk about a new collection he has edited.  It's called ¡Pa'Que Tu Lo Sepas!, and it's a collection of stories by Latinx writers. Some of them you may have heard of, some of them you may not have heard of, but it's got an impressive list of contributors, including Chantel Acevedo, Hector Acosta, David Bowles, Hector Duarte Jr., Carmen Jaramillo, Jessica Laine, Richie Narvaez, Christopher Novas, Cina Pelayo, Alex Segura, and Désirée Zamorano. And, no small thing, net proceeds from sales of the collection will benefit The Hispanic Federation: UNIDOS Disaster Relief & Recovery Program to Support Puerto Rico, a program working to help those still affected by Hurricane Maria.

It's a book well worth picking up.

And now, here's Angel:

One of the goals of ¡Pa'Que Tu Lo Sepas! (out NOW) was to raise money for Puerto Rico. The other goal: to expose readers to Latinx writers they’re missing out on. 

When the fine folks at Do Some Damage offered me another chance to get the word out, I thought it might be fun to do something in that spirit. Instead of a rant or craft piece, I decided to ask my contributors to shoot me a few Latinx writers they consider to be their very favorites. The goal is to put some names you might not know about out there. Take a read and click on all the fancy links to discover some new and exciting writing.

Obviously, I’ll start since my opinion matters least.

Angel Luis Colon:

I wasn’t going to lose the chance to shout out two of my personal favorites, Julia de Burgos and a recent discovery, Ernesto Quinonez. de Burgos scratches that itch of mine that wants to feel connected to Puerto Rican art. Her poetry is important and powerful. Quinonez, though, was a revelation. A narrative voice that finally sounded like home. That’s a hell of a feeling.

Hector Duarte Jr.:

Ena Lucia Portela out of Cuba. . . because CIEN BOTELLAS EN UNA PARED is a masterpiece of POV and unreliable narration.

Desiree Zamorano:

Dagoberto Gilb.  When I discovered his essay collection, Gritos, he salvaged my writing heart. You mean, a Mexican American could get published in The New Yorker?
To this day, I believe he remains one of the handful
published there.  Gustavo Arellano is the only other Mexican American I can think of.

Carmen Jaramillo:

Every single time I write a short story, I think of Hernando Tellez.  He gives tremendous weight to particular tangible details and demonstrates the insidious, crushing effects of violence and fear over ordinary people.

Alex Segura:

This is tough, but I'll have to go with Leonado Padura - his Mario Conde PI series showed me that you could pay homage to the greats, like Chandler and so on, with a strong Latinx voice and sense of place. Mario Conde is to Havana what my Pete Fernandez is to Miami, and I learned a lot from those books.

Richie Narvaez:

So many to choose from -- so I'll say Jesus Colon because too many people forget about him. His A Puerto Rican in New York, full of concise, everyday anecdotes, showed me the way, showed me that what I wanted to do wasn't impossible.

Cina Pelayo:

The work of Carmen Maria Machado is inspiring. When I read Her Body and Other Parties, I was in awe of the beauty with which she can write about such terrible things.

Jessica Laine:

I love Marta Acosta, a Latinx author from San Francisco who writes all kinds of genres including a paranormal romance series called Casa Dracula. Her Latinx heritage infuses her writing and brings her characters and their world to life.

I’m also reading PR writer Anna Davila Cardinal YA horror novel, Five Midnights, which features el Cuco. It’s excellent.

Angel Luis Colon:

See anything that interests you? Go buy it. Diversity will only come when publishers are told with cash that it’s wanted. Bonus: I promise you’ll read some wonderful work.

You can buy ¡Pa'Que Tu Lo Sepas! here.

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