Latinx Heritage Month is the perfect time to pick up publications penned by fellow Latinas. Luckily, there has been a growing stream of new Latina novels, non-fiction books, and more popping up in bookstores, online, at your local library, and even on screen. And thankfully, there are also a number of classics that we refer to time and time again.
The following Latina writers not only make an impact with readers with their work — but they also wowed their peers and earned numerous prestigious organizations — paving the way for more Latina authors. Let’s celebrate them!
Afro-Dominican author and poet Elizabeth Acevedo has wowed readers and the literary establishment alike with her books, which include the bestselling The Poet X, With the Fire on High, and Clap When You Land. For her work, Elizabeth has been honored with several awards, including the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, the Pura Belpré Award, an Audie Award for Narration by the Author or Authors, and the Carnegie Medal, for which was the first POC to ever win.
Cubana Meg Medina is an author of picture books, middle grade, and young adult books, including She Persisted: Sonia Sotomayor, Merci Suárez Can’t Dance, and Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass. Meg has won a Newbery Award, a Latino Book Award for Best Young Adult Fiction Book, a Cybils Award, an International Latino Book Award, and an Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award, among other honors.
Mayra Santos Febres
Afro-Puerto-Rican author, poet, professor of literature, and book critic, Mayra Santos Febres is known for writing over 20 books, including Nuestra Señora de la Noche/Our Lady of the Night, Sirena Selena, and Anamú y Manigua. Her lifelong dedication to writing has also earned her many awards. These include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Premio Letras de Oro, a Premio Nacional de Literatura, and a Juan Rulfo Prize.
You know author Kali Fajardo-Anstine for her book Sabrina & Corina: Stories, which chronicles “the lives of Indigenous Latina women in Colorado.” The popular publication garnered Kali numerous awards, including the American Book Award, the Saroyan International Prize, the PEN/Bingham Prize, and the Addison M. Metcalf Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Isabel Allende is a Latina literary legend. Her books are classics, made into movies, and part of required reading at American schools. Some of her best-known novels are The House of Spirits, Eva Luna, and City of the Beasts. In 2014, Isabel received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor that can be bestowed on a civilian in the United States. She’s also won Chile’s National Literature Prize, the PEN Center USA’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI)’s Medallion of Excellence in the Arts, Entertainment, Media, Music or Sport Award. These are just a few of the 50 or so awards Isabel Allende has won for her writing.