What is Noche de Letras, Latinx Book Fest?
This event is a collaboration of more than 10 local organizations that aim to expand the celebration of the Texas Book Fair 2017, showcase Latinx writers, celebrate contemporary literature, present writing as a professional career, and strengthen bonds within local organizations that support literacy in the Latix community. On November 4th, 2017 we will showcase a book crawl for Latinx authors in various emblematic venues for the Latinx community in the city of Austin. The event is completely free in all venues. See below for more details:
Participate in one of our various venues:
Emma S. Barrientos, Mexican American Cultural Center
600 River St. Austin, TX 78701
November 4th from 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm
[Click on map for Directions]
La Princesa and The Pea
Juana Martinez-Neal is a mixed media, traditional artist born in Lima, the capital of Peru. She is the illustrator of LA MADRE GOOSE (Putnam 2016), and LA PRINCESA AND THE PEA (Putnam 2017) both written by Susan Middleton Elya, and SWASHBY AND THE SEA (HMH 2019) written by Beth Ferry.
Alma and How She Got Her Name/Alma y Cómo Obtuvo su Nombre is her debut picture book as an author-illustrator, it will be published by Candlewick Press in April of 2018.
She was named to the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) Illustration Honor list in 2014, and was awarded the SCBWI Portfolio Showcase Grand Prize in 2012. She lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with her family.
La Princesa and The Pea. Juana illustrated the novel. Readers will be enchanted by this Latino twist on the classic story, and captivated by the vibrant art inspired by the culture of Peru. El principe knows this girl is the one for him, but as usual, his mother doesn't agree. The queen has a secret test in mind to see if this girl is really the princesa. But the prince might just have a sneaky plan, too.
“I was born in Lima, Peru in South America. I’m a mestiza (mixed race): white and native. I can do it in English or Spanish (I’m fluent). I have no preference.” - Juana Martinez-Neal
Cynthia Leonor Garza
Lucia The Luchadora
Cynthia Leonor Garza spent most of her childhood under the hot South Texas sun running around with her three brothers. She's a journalist who has worked for several newspapers including the Houston Chronicle and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and her commentaries have appeared on NPR and in The Atlantic. Of all the lucha libre masks she owns, her favorite one is pink and gold. Cynthia's family has lived in Texas for more than six generations. She currently lives with her two young daughters and husband in Nairobi, Kenya. Lucía the Luchadora is her debut picture book. Lucia The Luchadora. Lucia zips through the playground in her cape just like the boys, but when they tell her “girls can't be superheroes.” suddenly she doesn't feel so mighty. That's when her beloved abuela reveals a dazzling secret. Lucia comes from a family of luchadores, the bold and valiant woman of the mexican lucha libre tradition. She returns as a recess sensation, but when she's confronted with a case of injustice, she decides to fight for what is right. A story about courage and cultural legacy.
It's News to Me
Olga Campos Benz's experience as an anchor/reporter for more than 30 years provides the perfect setting for her first novel, "It's News to Me". Published in May, it features a bold and beautiful Latina news reporter whose life is endangered by criminals, enhanced by sensuous encounters, complicated by loved ones and spiked throughout with shots of tequila and irreverent humor! Her broadcasting journalism career included time at KVUE and KTBC in Austin, KRIV and KHOU in Houston and KIII in Corpus Christi. She is a University of Texas graduate who is active as a volunteer and a community supporter. She serves on several non-profit boards and is also a member of the Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. Olga was recently named a 2017 Woman of Distinction by TAMACC - the Texas Association of Mexican-American Chambers of Commerce. She is busy touring the state talking about her career as a broadcast journalist and inspiring Latino students and aspiring fellow writers. Olga is a featured author at this year's Texas Book Festival. She and her husband, Kevin Benz, are proud parents of 26-year-old twin daughters, Corazon and Allegra.
In her book, It's News to Me, Marissa Cavelo awakens in a strange bed, under an alcohol-induced fog. She has just minutes to get to a meeting with the general manager of the television station where she works. She’s in trouble after her exclusive story aired on the news the day before even though a news manager ordered it killed. Marissa is sure her career is doomed. Three days earlier, her chaotic adventure begins as she takes on the challenges of being the substitute early morning anchor at KATX-TV in Austin, TX. Marissa takes us behind-the-scenes of the often-dysfunctional local news operation. Thanks to her quick actions, she manages to rescue the noon newscast from her competitive co-anchor’s on-air meltdown. Despite pulling off the “save”, Marissa is typecast as a pretty Latina who’s good at fluff stories only, but that doesn’t stop her quest to be taken seriously as a journalist. While covering the grand opening of a pet store, she stumbles upon a gang of thieves as they attempt to steal expensive, exotic birds. Her “live” coverage of the heist is flawless which propels Marissa into the media spotlight and grabs the attention of a network talent recruiter. However, she’s unaware her coverage has also angered a violent crime boss. Back at the station, Marissa’s bumbling bosses and competitive colleagues don’t want her to succeed for their own selfish reasons, so in an attempt to stop her quick rise to fame, she’s given a tough assignment that she’s likely to fail....
Diana J. Noble
Evangelina Takes Flight
Born in Laredo, Texas, Diana J. Noble lives beautiful Washington State with her family and 2 tiny pooches, Luna and Diego. In addition to writing, she enjoys cooking, baking and singing in a 1970s-themed show band. Her first published book, Evangelina Takes Flight is based on the life of her paternal grandmother and stories of her own childhood. Her second book, Call Girl, a women’s fiction, tackles serious topics such as post-partum depression and sexual harassment in the workplace with a unique combination of brutal honesty and humor.
Rodrigo Hasbún is a Bolivian novelist living and working in Houston. In 2007, he was selected by the Hay Festival as one of the best Latin American writers under the age of thirty-nine for Bogotá39, and in 2010 he was named one of Granta’s Best Young Spanish-Language Novelists. He is the author of a previous novel and a collection of short stories, two of which have been made into films, and his work has appeared in Granta, McSweeney’s, Zoetrope: All-Story, Words
Without Borders , and elsewhere. Affections received an English PEN Award and has been published in twelve languages.
Affections is a haunting novel about an unusual family breakdown set in South America during the Che Guevara and inspired by the life of Third Reich cinematographer Hans Ertl.
Sarah Rafael García
SanTana's Fairy Tales
Sarah Rafael García is a writer, community educator and traveler. Since publishing Las Niñas in 2008, she founded Barrio Writers and LibroMobile. Her writing has appeared in LATINO Magazine, Contrapuntos III, Outrage: A Protest Anthology For Injustice in a Post 9/11 World, La Tolteca Zine, The Acentos Review, among others. Sarah Rafael is also a Macondo Fellow and an editor for the Barrio Writers and pariahs writing from outside the margins anthologies. In 2016, Sarah Rafael was featured in The Fem Literary Magazine and awarded for SanTana’s Fairy Tales (Raspa Magazine 2017), which is supported in part by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, through a grant supporting the Artist-in-Residence initiative at Grand Central Art Center in California. Most recently, she was funded and supported by Community Engagement for LibroMobile, a literary
project aimed to cultivate diversity through literature.
Fight Like a Man and Other Stories We tell Our
Christine Granados has been a Spur Award finalist and received Sandra Cisneros’ literary prize the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Foundation Award in 2006 for her first book of fiction Brides and Sinners in El Chuco, published by the University of Arizona Press and her stories have been in many anthologies. Her second book of fiction Fight Like a Man and Other Stories We Tell Our Children , a novella and short stories about strong Mexican American women who live along the border, was published by the University of New Mexico Press in 2017.
Fight Like a Man and Other Stories We tell Our Children. Life in the landscape of El Paso is the setting for this book of stories about people navigating their way through dysfunctional lives with the help of friends and family-people like Monica Montoya, a housewife and mother whose affairs leaves her pregnant, causing her to visit the
legacy of her father, a man who maintained two separate families on either side of the border. In spite of their bad choices, the character in this collection never gave up.
Jorge Tetl Argueta is a celebrated Salvadoran poet and writer whose bi-lingual children’s books have received numerous awards. His poetry has appeared in anthologies and textbooks. He won the America’s Book Award, among other awards for his first collection of poems for children, A Movie in My Pillow. He was the Gold Medal Award winner in the 2005 National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA) for Moony Luna/Luna, Lunita Lunera. His other works for children include Xochitl and the Flowers, 2003 America’s Award Commended Title, Trees are Hanging from the Sky, Zipitio, Talking with Mother Earth, The Little Hen in the City and The Fiesta of the Tortillas.
Empowering teens through creative writing...
Barrio Writers (BW) is a creative writing program founded by author Sarah Rafael García, which provides free college level writing workshops to teenagers in underserved communities. In the summer of 2009, thirty students came together to form the first Barrio Writers chapter in Santa Ana, California, a non-profit reading and writing program that aims to empower teens through creative writing, higher education, and cultural arts.
BW is a non-profit program that offers workshops and additional one-on-one tutor hours for one week. Participants receive college-level workshops to build skills in reading, grammar, creative writing, critical-thinking and freedom of expression through cultural arts. The session includes guest writers, who serve as role models in our neighborhoods and support youth aspirations.
The BW program thrives through its community collaboration. By aligning with universities, cultural centers, libraries and Resistencia Bookstore, BW participants are exposed to diverse activities provided in the surrounding areas while in turn give support to the local cultural arts and community resources. Most recently we partnered with the Guadalupe Cultural Art Center in San Antonio, the University of Texas at El Paso and Texas A&M Corpus Christi. Both chapters united to form a new community of BW along our long-standing chapters in Santa Ana, California and Austin, Texas and our additional chapters launched in Houston and Nacogdoches, Texas summer 2015.
The program strives to present alternative forms of expressions through cultural art collaboration in the community. The summer workshops culminate with a live reading, which allows Barrio Writers to present final pieces to our community and reach a wider audience by potential media coverage and book sales. The written works submitted by teens from the multiple chapters are published in an anthology collection. It is our goal to include all chapters in each annual edition to form a diverse youth community beyond the workshops.
BW participants are between the ages of 13 to 19 years old and reside in the surrounding area of the local chapters. By opening workshops to all levels of students from local schools and neighborhoods, Barrio Writers includes teenagers from diverse circumstances to participate and share their lives with our society. We also encourage for college and university students up to the age of 21 years old to participate as peers obtaining higher education.
One goal of the program is to publish an anthology collection of written works demonstrating the diverse backgrounds of teenagers that can be used in and out of the classroom. Barrio Writers is a collection of works by teens for teens, teachers and our communities. All profits from the book are returned to the Barrio Writers program for future years. The long-term goal is to publish a new edition each year with hopes that more neighborhoods will adopt the program and more teachers will use the BW book in the classroom. The Barrio Writers program and its annual anthology are designed to empower the teenage community while establishing a self-sufficient educational program that will represent community pride, perseverance, and endless possibilities for following generations.
Paco Ignacio Taibo II
Francisco Javier Torres
La Muerte Nos Dijo
Paco Ignacio Taibo II (born Francisco Ignacio Taibo Mahojo; on January 11, 1949), also known as Paco Taibo II or informally as PIT is a Spanish-Mexican writer, novelist and political activist based in Mexico City. He is most widely known as the founder of the neopolical genre of novel in Latin America and is also a prominent member of the international crime writing community. His Spanish language work has won numerous awards including two Latin American Dashiell Hammett Prizes.
One of the most prolific writers in Mexico today, over 500 editions of his 51 books have been published in 29 countries and over a dozen languages, and include novels, narrative, historical essays, chronicles, and poetry.
Some of PIT's novels have been mentioned among the "Books of the Year" by The New York Times, Le Monde, and the Los Angeles Times. He has received numerous awards including the Grijalbo, the Planeta/Joaquin Mortiz in 1992, the Dashiell Hammett three times for his policial novels, and the 813 for the best police novel published in France. His biography of Ernesto "Che" Guevara (Ernesto Guevara, tambien conocido como el Che, 1996) has sold over half a million copies around the world and won the 1998 Bancarella Book of the Year award in Italy.
PIT's readership has developed into a cult following. Once when he gave a talk about Mexican Independence hero Miguel Hidalgo in Mexico City, his presentation turned into a rally. His readers consider him their friend and when his presentations are over, people approach him to give him gifts such as cigarettes, apples, and sodas.
Francisco Javier Torres was born in 1963 in Guadalajara, Mexico. A chilango by adoption, he grew up in Mexico City and studied Communication, mostly due to his interest in TV journalism, although he never took it on as a career. Some of the academic and professional activities include research, marketing, press journalism and education. Torres has published three books under Ediciones Coyoacán. Two of them are academic works on TV and journalism, and the third is a Spanish reference book. Torres has two masters, one at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico and other at the University of Texas at Austin. In 1999 he moved to US with his wife and children, and since then he has been working as an editor and consultant supervisor for the Texas Secretary of Education’s student evaluation program. This particular role, among others, has helped him to develop a deeper knowledge of the Spanish language, motivating him to expand his abilities as an amateur writer. He has several poems about different topics and recently finished a children's book with 21 poems that he hopes to see published, in addition to other loose poems. He has also completed two short novels and the second of them, "What Death Told Us", participated in the literary contest "Garbanzo de a libro" organized in his home state, leading to its publication in December 2015 by the Ministry of Culture of the state government. Javier enjoys watching movies and exercises regularly; he likes to read non-fiction books, particularly of journalistic nature, listens to music and also enjoys watching football, his favorite sport.
We thank our collaborating organizations:
Latino Arts, Culture and Education (LACE)
Alianza Cultural Latinoamericana
Consulado General de México en Austin. Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores
Center for Mexican American Studies - UT Austin College of Liberal Arts (CMAS)
Emma S. Barrientos. Mexican American Cultural Center
Resistencia Bookstore (Red Salmon Arts)
Micheladas Café y Cantina
Asociación de Empresarios Mexicanos
National Association of Hispanic Journalists
Rivera Negron Arts Management
Texas Mexican Restaurant Association
Central American Student Association
Organizing Committee (Last Name Alphabetical Order):
- Mauricio Callejas
- Ruben Chiquillo
- Martha Cotera
- Cristina Cruz Terrazas
- Larissa Davila
- Arlette de la Serna
- Juan Antonio de los Angeles
- Anjanette Gautier
- Beatriz Martinez Viso
- Adrián Orozco
- Sylvia Orozco
- Cynthia Perez
- Verónica Rivera-Negrón
- Marcela Rodriguez
- Lilia Rosas
- Modesta Treviño
- Liliana Valenzuela
- Donahi Vieto