Lossip's Top 10 Latino Novelists

TOP 10 list features obvious candidates Isabel Allende, Giannina Braschi, Junot Diaz, Julia Alvarez, and Sandra Cisneros

By Lossip
Published on LatinoLA: November 18, 2013

Lossip's Top 10 Latino Novelists

Latino News and Entertainment has just released its TOP 10 list of notable Latino Novelists in Lossip Magazine, which names the obvious candidates Isabel Allende, Giannina Braschi, Junot Diaz, Gary Soto, Julia Alvarez, Esmeralda Santiago, and Sandra Cisneros, as well as a few welcome surprises such as Rudolfo Anaya, Renya Grande, and Victor Villase??or. There were more women than men on this list of literary notables, announced in celebration of November being National Novel Writing Month, where hundreds of thousands of competitors worldwide attempt to write a single novel within 30 days. This whacky writing contest prompted the editors to point to the rich and illustrious Latino American literary culture as a source for inspiration for aspiring novelists.

The Top 10 Latino novelists includes the sentimental soap-operatic sensation Isabel Allende (pictured), one of the bestselling novelists writing in Spanish today. Her book "Daughter of Fortune" was featured in Oprah's Book Club.

On the headier side is the radical thinker Giannina Braschi who pioneered the Spanglish novel with her high-art manifesto "Yo-Yo Boing!" Her poetry trilogy "Empire of Dreams" is a Postmodern classic and her Post-Colonial novel "United States of Banana" about the liberation of Puerto Rico was hailed revolutionary and profoundly original by critics.

Also making the cut is Sandra Cisneros, a dynamic figure in the Chicano movement, who based her novel "The House on Mango Street" on her own experiences growing up in a Mexican and Puerto Rican neighborhood in Chicago. She is a MacArthur Genius Award recipient who narrates in English with flourishes of Spanish.

It's no surprise to find on the list Junot Diaz, a top notch short story teller who writes in English with Spanglish catch phrases. He is one of the rare Latino Pulitzer Prize Winners. His celebrated titles include "Drown," "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" and most recently "This is How You Lose Her."

Julia Alvarez, most famous for "How The Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents," makes the list of popular writers who have had cross over success on TV with the dramatized version of her novel "In The Time of the Butterflies." It's a captivating retelling of the Mirabal sisters who stood up to dictator Rafael Trujillo in the 1950s and 1960s.

Esmeralda Santiago, is best loved for her coming-of-age memoir "When I was Puerto Rican" and for her recent work "Turkish Lover". She serves on the board of PEN American Center, a human rights organization where writers come together to battle censorship around the world.

Gary Soto, based in Fresno, bases his novels and poetry on life in the Central Valley. Joyce Carol Oates qualified his poetry is "fast, funny, heartening, and achingly believable, like Polaroid love letters, or snatches of music heard out of a passing car; patches of beauty like patches of sunlight; the very pulse of a life." That is quite an endorsement!

The surprises to the Top 10 list of literary leaders of Latino fiction include Rudolfo Anaya, whose coming-of-age novel "Bless Me, Ultima" may be considered a staple of Chicano literature. Other notables include Reyna Grande, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, who weaves a compelling tale of her experiences coming into the United States in "Across a Hundred Mountains". Finally, Victor Villase??or, narrates with deep compassion his parents' search for a better life in the United States during the Mexican Revolution in the novel "Rain of Gold".

In short this Top 10 list points to the grand diversity of style, structure, and subject matter in the field of Latino fiction in the United States.

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