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Hispanic authors longlisted to the National Book Awards 2022
Hispanic authors longlisted to the National Book Awards 2022

Latinos longlisted to the National Book Awards 2022

Five finalists in each of the five categories will be named on October 4. The winner will be announced during the awards ceremony on November 16.

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The National Book Foundation has announced the 2022 National Book Award longlists. Five finalists in each of the five categories—fiction, nonfiction, poetry, translated literature, and young people's literature—will be named on October 4. The winner will be announced during the awards ceremony on November 16.

These are the Latino names among the longlists announced this week:

In the category of Fiction: 

Maria, Maria: & Other Stories, by Marytza K. Rubio. ( Liveright)

Set against the tropics and megacities of the Americas, ‘Maria, Maria’ conjures entrancing tales of Mexican American mystics and misfits, shatteirng  the boundaries of reality.

In this literary debut. Marytza K.Rubio, born and raised in Santa Ana, California, takes inspiration from wild creatures, tarot, and the porous borders between life and death. Motivated by love and its inverse, grief, the characters who inhabit these stories negotiate boldly with nature to cast their desired ends. As the enigmatic community college professor in “Brujería for Beginners” reminds us: “There’s always a price for conjuring in darkness. You won’t always know what it is until payment is due.” This commitment drives the disturbingly faithful widow in “Tijuca,” who promises to bury her husband’s head in the rich dirt of the jungle, and the sisters in “Moksha,” who are tempted by a sleek obsidian dagger once held by a vampiric idol.

But magic isn’t limited to the women who wield it. As Rubio so brilliantly elucidates, animals are powerful magicians too. Subversive pigeons and hungry jaguars are called upon in “Tunnels,” and a lonely little girl runs free with a resurrected saber-toothed tiger in “Burial.” A colorful catalog of gallery exhibits from animals in therapy is featured in “Art Show,” including the Almost Philandering Fox, who longs after the red pelt of another, and the recently rehabilitated Paranoid Peacocks.

Marytza K. Rubio is a writer born & raised in Santa Ana, California. Marytza earned her MFA in Creative Writing: Latin America in 2016. Attending residencies in Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, and Santiago provided opportunities to read unique and unconventional books in Spanish and Portuguese, and engage with innovative styles of music and art.

Non Fiction

The Man Who Could Move Clouds: A Memoir, by Ingrid Rojas Contreras. (Doubleday) 

Colombian novelist Rojas Contreras (Fruit of the Drunken Tree) returns with a memoir of her family’s history and the legacy of colonialism in Colombia. Rojas Contreras, who emigrated with her familiy to the US escaping political violence in Colombia in the 80s and 90s, follows the story of her maternal grandfather, Nono, a renowned curandero, a community healer gifted with what the family called “the secrets”: the power to talk to the dead, tell the future, treat the sick, and move the clouds. And as the first woman to inherit “the secrets,” Rojas Contreras’ mother was just as powerful. Mami delighted in her ability to appear in two places at once, and she could cast out even the most persistent spirits with nothing more than a glass of water.

This legacy had always felt like it belonged to her mother and grandfather, until, while living in the U.S. in her twenties, Rojas Contreras suffered a head injury that left her with amnesia. As she regained partial memory, her family was excited to tell her that this had happened before: Decades ago Mami had taken a fall that left her with amnesia, too. And when she recovered, she had gained access to “the secrets.”

In the category of Poetry

Golden Ax, by Rio Cortez. (Penguin)

From a visionary writer praised for her captivating work on Black history and experience, comes a poetry collection exploring personal, political, and artistic frontiers, journeying from her family's history as "Afropioneers" in the American West to shimmering glimpses of transcendent, liberated futures. 

In poems that range from wry, tongue-in-cheek observations about contemporary life to more nuanced meditations on her ancestors—some of the earliest Black pioneers to settle in the western United States after Reconstruction—Golden Ax invites readers to re-imagine the West, Black womanhood, and the legacies that shape and sustain the pursuit of freedom.

Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, Rio Cortez is the New York Times bestselling author of The ABCs of Black History (Workman, 2020) and I Have Learned to Define a Field As a Space Between Mountains, winner of the 2015 Toi Dericotte and Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize. Her honors include a Poets & Writers Amy Award, as well as fellowships from Cave Canem, Canto Mundo, The Jerome Foundation, and Poet’s House. Rio holds an MFA in Creative Writing from New York University.

In the category of Translated literature

Jawbone, by Mónica Ojeda, trans. from the Spanish by Sarah Booker. Coffee House

A teenage fan of horror and creepypastas (horror stories that circulate on the Internet) wakes up tied up in a cabin in the middle of the woods. Her kidnapper is not a stranger, but her Language and Literature teacher, a young woman whom she and her friends have been tormenting for months at an elite Opus Dei school. But soon the motives of this kidnapping will be revealed much darker than the bullying of a teacher: a disturbing young love, an unexpected betrayal and some secret and initiation rites inspired by those viral and terrifying stories gestated on the Internet.

Monica Ojeda (Guayaquil, 1988) is an Ecuadorian novelist, short story writer, and poet. In 2017, she was named as one of the Bogota39, a selection of the most talented and promising young writers in Latin America (awarded every 10 years, Bogota39 is a UNESCO World Book Capital project, in conjunction with the Hay Festival). In 2018, Ojeda published the novel Mandíbula, translated into English by Sarah Booker and published by Coffee House Press as Jawbone.

In the category of Young People’s Literature

The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School, by Sonora Reyes. HarperCollins/Balzer 

Sixteen-year-old Yamilet Flores prefers to be known for her killer eyeliner, not for being one of the only Mexican kids at her new, mostly white, very rich Catholic school. But at least here no one knows she’s gay, and Yami intends to keep it that way. 

After being outed by her crush and ex-best friend before transferring to Slayton Catholic, Yami has new priorities: keep her brother out of trouble, make her mom proud, and, most importantly, don’t fall in love. Granted, she’s never been great at any of those things, but that’s a problem for Future Yami. 

The thing is, it’s hard to fake being straight when Bo, the only openly queer girl at school, is so annoyingly perfect. And smart. And talented. And cute. So cute. Either way, Yami isn’t going to make the same mistake again. If word got back to her mom, she could face a lot worse than rejection. So she’ll have to start asking, WWSGD: What would a straight girl do? 

Told in a captivating voice that is by turns hilarious, vulnerable, and searingly honest, The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School explores the joys and heartaches of living your full truth out loud.

Born and raised in Arizona, Sonora Reyes is an author of middle grade, young adult, and adult fiction, and the founder of #QPOCChat.

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