Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An isolated mansion. A chillingly charismatic aristocrat. And a brave socialite drawn to expose their treacherous secrets. . . .

From the author of Gods of Jade and Shadow comes “a terrifying twist on classic gothic horror” (Kirkus Reviews) set in glamorous 1950s Mexico. “It’s Lovecraft meets the Brontës in Latin America, and after a slow-burn start Mexican Gothic gets seriously weird” (The Guardian).

After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find—her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.

Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.

Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.

And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: LATINX YOUNG ADULT LITERATURE

Label Me Latina/o: Special Issue Summer 2021

Special Issue Editors:

Trevor Boffone, University of Houston

Cristina Herrera, California State University, Fresno

(artwork: The Nostalgic Wind of the Castaway (Same Sand, Different Island) by Marcos Martinez)

This special issue of Label Me Latina/o invites submissions that consider Latinx Young Adult Literature published in the twenty-first century. In recent years, the field of Latinx YA literature has exploded with new imprints specifically dedicated to the field, such as Piñata Books from Arte Público Press and mainstream publishers such as Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, as well as Lee and Low Books, that have consciously made efforts to publish Latinx texts. Despite the achievements of award-winning authors, such as Elizabeth Acevedo, Guadalupe García McCall, Meg Medina, Margarita Engle, Matt De La Peña, Benjamin Alire Sáenz, etc., scholarship on Latinx literature has overwhelmingly ignored texts written for younger audiences. Esteemed journals on the study of children’s literature have published few scholarly articles examining Latinx YA texts. As the Latinx population in the United States approaches becoming the majority by 2043, the need for scholarship centered on Latinx young adult writing has become more pressing. While recent edited volumes have offered much necessary critical intervention, such as Voices of Resistance: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Chican@ Children’s Literature; Nerds, Goths, Geeks, and Freaks: Outsiders in Chicanx and Latinx Young Adult Literature; and Latino/a Children’s and Young Adult Writers on the Art of Storytelling, scholarship still remains largely absent in mainstream children’s literary studies and Latinx studies journals.

In response to this, we invite critical and creative manuscripts as well as interviews with YA authors that engage with the following themes that may include, but are not limited to:

  • Outsiders in YA texts
  • Pedagogy/teaching YA writing in the “adult” college classroom
  • Queerness and sexuality in YA writing
  • Gender in YA writing
  • Blackness and Indigeneity in YA literature
  • Representations of reading/writing/science/math/art in children’s and YA writing
  • Comparative analysis of multiple Latinx and YA texts
  • Disability in YA writing
  • Bullying and violence
  • The Politics of YA Publishing
  • Critical perspectives of authors, such as Elizabeth Acevedo, Lilliam Rivera, Pam Muñoz Ryan, Guadalupe García McCall, Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Meg Medina, Rigoberto Gonzalez, Juan Felipe Herrera, Margarita Engle, Matt De La Peña, Adam Silvera, and others

Scholarly submissions should be between 12-30 pages, double-spaced, 12 point font and should follow the MLA Style Manual. Please use End Notes rather than Footnotes and place page numbers in the upper right hand corner.

Original, unpublished submissions in Microsoft Word (PC compatible format) should be sent electronically to Visiting Editors Cristina Herrera at cherrera@csufresno.edu and Trevor Boffone at trevor.boffone@gmail.comas well as to both the co-editors: Kathryn Quinn-Sánchez at ksanchez@georgian.edu and Michele Shaul at shaulm@queens.edu (please put the phrase “Label Me Latina/a submission Special Issue Summer 2021” in the subject line).

We do accept simultaneous submissions of creative works. Scholarly articles under consideration should not be submitted elsewhere.

Deadline for the Summer 2021 special issue: January 30, 2021.

Please include the following information in the body of the email:

Full name

Institutional Affiliation

Telephone number

Email address

Regular mail address

Title of the submission

A brief biography to be included with publication should your submission be selected.

Please make sure that the actual manuscript bears no reference to the author’s name or institution.

Label Me Latina/o is an academic journal and as such follows the parameters of definitions set by the academic community. In that community when we refer to Latina/o/x Literature, we are referring to writers of Latin American heritage that live and write in the United States. These can be first generation Latino or fifth but they live and work here in the U.S. Some of these writers write in Spanish, others write in Spanglish like the Nuyorican poets and many of them write in English with a little Spanish thrown in (or not). Scholarly essays should address the work of these writers. The authors of these scholarly essays may be of any ethnicity or nationality. Creative works should be authored by writers who self-define as Latina/o/x and live and write in the United States.

Label Me Latina/o is indexed by the MLA International Bibliography, is listed in the MLA Directory of Periodicals and is a member of Latinoamericana: Asociación de revistas académicas en Humanidades y Ciencias Sociales. Our articles are discoverable on EBSCOhost research databases. ISSN 2333-4584

Interview with Benjamin Alire Sáenz

This is an incredible interview between Yago S. Cura and Benjamin Alire Sáenz for Reforma. Check it out here.

Benjamin Alire Sáenz is a celebrated American poet and novelist. He has written for children, teens, and adults. His accolades include the 1992 American Book Award for Calendar of Dust, the 2013 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction for Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club, and the 2013 Pura Belpré Award for Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe which this interview discusses.


Cura: How did you “raise” [as characters] Aristotle and Dante to be such great young men? What did you do to raise them?

Alire Sáenz: I think… it’s… it’s… my characters are much more virtuous than I am… they’re just two kids that… before they get screwed up, they have enough self in them to reflect and to listen to people, listen to the right people. You know, Ari is a much better person than he gives himself credit for and Dante, oh, we don’t see Dante’s faults because we only see him through Ari’s eyes, so we think Dante is beautiful because Ari thinks he’s beautiful, and we see him through his eyes, so Ari… they both are, they’re good young men, and they’re lucky because they’ve been raised by good families and they are allowed to, and they are really loved, their parents love them and they’re decent people and they raised decent sons.

Cura: And they make mistakes [Dante and Ari’s parents] and they address those mistakes and, you know the thing that really surprised me, I love how at the end Ari’s father says it’s okay, “I’ve noticed these things, let’s talk.”

Cura: Do you think Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe would make an enjoyable graphic novel? What features of the novel might be untranslatable, do you think, graphically? And then, what features of the novel might a graphic novel faithfully represent?

Alire Sáenz: Well, I think a graphic novel could fill in what’s not there.

Cura: Okay.

Alire Sáenz: I think that what is there as a novel is, should be there. No more, no less. But, I think if you can do a graphic novel, and then you can imagine, you can write things that aren’t there, and you can write up a lot of bus scenes, for instance, what they talk about, who they see on the bus, because we know they went on the bus.

Cura: Right.

Alire Sáenz: We can have other conversations that they did not have in the book that you can make up… You could have lots of scenes that you can add to that and make it into a kind of graphic novel which might be interesting. And you know… When Dante gets beat up, that’s off-screen…

 

I know Spanish and I can write in it, with more difficulty than I write English. English is my dominant language. Spanish is my first language, but English is my dominant language because it’s the language of my education.

Cura: Gloria Anzaldúa, who I’m so happy people are reading a lot more now, says that Chicano Spanish is a living language, and that it’s a language for people who are neither Spanish nor live in a country in which Spanish is the first language. My question is, could you talk a little bit about how you decided to use what language when you write? Maybe it’s a hackneyed kind of question, but there’s so much, it’s so rich in language.

Alire Sáenz: Well, you know, I know Spanish and I can write in it, with more difficulty than I write English. English is my dominant language. Spanish is my first language, but English is my dominant language because it’s the language of my education.

Cura: That’s right.

benjamin alire and cover art of his book

Alire Sáenz: But, I like to use more Spanish actually, because I use more Spanish. But, Ari and Dante wouldn’t use more Spanish, for instance. Then, in my Hollywood book [Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood] the kids use much more Spanish, because they would.

Cura: Right.

Alire Sáenz: Their circumstances. But also, as a writer, even if my language is a little bit, you know, I could bring my language abilities in Spanish pretty neck-and-neck with my English ones, but… This is, in America, they published your books in English.

Cura: Right.

Alire Sáenz: And if I write in Spanish, why would anybody in Mexico want to publish someone that’s not from their country? They barely can publish their own writers. Why would they publish me if I’m writing in Spanish? It’s about the market, as well. And that kind of decided for me.

Alire Sáenz: But Spanish, it will always be, I always, I use Spanish in my poetry. I use, I always use Spanish. It’s like my Latin. It’s my holy language.

Cura: Took the words…

Alire Sáenz: And I don’t translate anything when I write in Spanish. If I use it in dialogue then you still understand it because if someone asks a question in Spanish then they answer it in English. You’ll get it.

Alire Sáenz: Some people did complain and said to me, “I don’t like it, there’s so much Spanish.” And I said, “Well, there’s nothing, you haven’t missed anything.”

Cura: Right.

Alire Sáenz: You know? Except for-

Cura: If you read carefully-

Alire Sáenz: Except for, you know that people speak Spanish and you need to know that. Well, maybe, and maybe if they shouldn’t do all that, well, that’s too bad because people don’t need your permission to speak in any language in this country. And people speak all kinds of languages. When they first came here, they spoke Yiddish, the Jewish, they spoke Yiddish. Some people still do. And Italian and all of them, you know? It adds to the richness and the texture of this country and…

Cura: What does that mean for politics of language in the U.S.? If we’re leading the charge of hybridization?

Alire Sáenz: Well we don’t call it that. We just call it… Impurity. We were impure, we were products of the… [La Malinche] was a traitor. She was a translator. She betrayed her own people and she was his mistress and we are the children of the marriage of the conqueror and the conquered. And so, and that means that we are impure and so we come from… even a rape, if you will.

Alire Sáenz: We are children of that and therefore we are, it makes no sense for us to speak of any kind of purity on any level. Either genetically or culturally the indigenous meets the European and creates something new altogether that has elements of both. And that’s the way it is when two cultures clashing may… They change each other. We changed Spanish here. In the new world, we speak differently than in Spain.


Sergio Troncoso remembers groundbreaking writer Rudolfo Anaya and great friend Rudy Anaya

Last week after hearing about Rudy Anaya’s death at 82, I reread his novel, “Bless Me, Ultima,” in homage to him, but also to take me back to why he was so important to me as a writer and mentor.

As a young man, I remember turning the pages of “Bless Me, Ultima” in the Main Reading Room of the El Paso Public Library, next to a big window on Oregon Street. I was constantly looking up, astonished at what was on the pages. What first surprised me was the questioning of Catholicism and Ultima’s faith and courage. The curandera reminded me of my abuelita, who lived in El Segundo Barrio on Olive and St. Vrain streets. The llano of rural New Mexico took me to Ysleta, where my family had built their adobe house next to horse farms and cotton fields. The irreverence of Antonio Juan Márez y Luna’s friends — the snickering in pews during catechism classes, the impromptu races against the Vitamin Kid on dusty streets, the fights and challenges among boys to determine a pecking order — well, to me, that was South Loop School, San Lorenzo Avenue, and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Ysleta.

For the first time as a reader, I saw myself in literature. I was reading about my community, or a version of it, and the exciting story also probed the moral and philosophical questions that burned in my mind. I stared out the window and at the sky and held this precious book in my hand and said to myself, “This is how I want to be a writer.”

From that moment on, I read Rudolfo Anaya’s short stories, his memoir about traveling in China, his essays about the Chicano homeland, “Alburquerque,” the Sonny Baca detective novels. When my children were born, I gave them “The Farolitos of Christmas: A New Mexico Christmas Story.” But “Bless Me, Ultima” was still my favorite.

Then years later, after my first book was published, I was in my apartment in New York City, and the phone rang. The caller claimed he was “Rudy Anaya,” and I laughed. I thought it was my friend Rigoberto González who was messing with me. “No, this is really Rudy Anaya, and you’ve won the Premio Aztlán.” I collapsed in my chair, put my head on my desk, and mumbled an incoherent thank-you about how much he had mattered to me as a writer. I was having trouble breathing. One way or another, I would go to Albuquerque to meet him.

The man and mentor who became “Rudy” to me was even more important than the great writer I had known as “Rudolfo Anaya.”

In New Mexico, I met Rudy and his wife Patricia, and they invited my wife Laura and me to their home. Rudy and I began a correspondence that lasted years: We exchanged new books, I sent him Christmas cards of my boys, he sent me articles about New Mexico, and we wrote about the connections we shared and our familias. Last year Rudy wrote me a note when he discovered a new essay of mine in New Letters: “Ysleta Lives! Puros coyotes chasing jackrabbits en el desierto. My childhood much like yours in Santa Rosa, NM. Mi gente pobre but with positive values they passed to us. ¡Andale! ¡Dale gas!”

The man I knew as Rudy Anaya was kind and generous, especially with younger writers. He took the time to know you and possessed a great capacity for empathy. By now I’ve known dozens of writers, and too many of them can never see beyond their egos or their destructive machismo. Not Rudy. He always stood humbled by his place and grateful to serve his community. The work of Rudolfo Anaya the writer will always endure as path-breaking literature about Chicanos and our communities in the Southwest. But Rudy Anaya the person should not ever be forgotten either: a man of good character who came from los de abajo, who never forgot who he was, and who showed those values to the next generation.

Sergio Troncoso is most recently the author of “A Peculiar Kind of Immigrant’s Son” (Cinco Puntos Press). He is a resident faculty member of the Yale Writers’ Workshop and president of the Texas Institute of Letters.

New Book: Freedom, We Sing by Amyra León

FREEDOM, WE SING | Picture Book

by Amyra León; Illus. by Molly Mendoza (Flying Eye Books)

As powerful as it is beautiful, Freedom, We Sing is a lyrical picture book designed to inspire and give hope to readers around the world. Molly Mendoza’s immersive, lush illustrations invite kids to ponder singer/songwriter Amyra León’s poem about what it means to be free. It’s the perfect book for parents who want a way to gently start the conversation with their kids about finding hope in these very tense times we are living in.

CfP: Latinx Identities and The Journal of Interdisciplinary Humanities

Fall 2020: Latinx Identities

Abstract Due: August 15, 2020

The Journal of Interdisciplinary Humanities invites abstracts on the status of academic research and interest regarding individuals and communities that identify as Latinx, for consideration in a special issue focused on Latinx identities. This scope of this special issue is intended to be broad and inclusive of diverse methodologies, theories, and approaches. Below are listed some possible topics that may be addressed in the abstracts:

 

  • Race and ethnicity
  • Identity formation and the media
  • Transnational activism/resistance and the media
  • Movements and flows of people and diasporas: local, regional, national, and international
  • Technological and digital presences
  • Media, citizenship, and belonging
  • Immigration and Family
  • Naming Latinx communities
  • Latino subjectivities and experiences in academia
  • Afro-Latinidades and Indigenous Latinidades / non-mestizo Latino identities
  • Histories of race and racialization
  • Cross-racial coalition-building
  • Intra-group tensions, regionalism, ethno-nationalism
  • Latino histories in the curriculum
  • Latina feminisms
  • Recovering Latino histories/identities
  • Neoliberalism, immigration, and labor
  • The end of the wet foot, dry foot policy
  • Latinx religiosity and spirituality, contemporary and historical
  • Latinx representation in the US Census
  • Latinx political participation and engagement
  • Urban planning and gentrification
  • Latinx art, literature, music, media, and culture

 

The list included above is meant to give a sense of the types of scholarship that will be included in the special issue. The deadline for abstract submission is August 15, 2020 and decisions on publication will not be made until the full drafts are in and have been peer reviewed. The guest editors will invite full texts by August 31, 2020; the full drafts will be due on February 15, 2021. The review process for all submissions will be double-blind.

The abstracts should be 400 to 500 words in length. A brief autobiographical blurb should accompany the abstract.

The guest editors of this special issue are Dr. Bonnie Lucero (lucerobo@uhd.edu), Dr. Orquidea Morales (moraleso@oldwestbury.edu), and Dr. Ed Cueva (cuevae@uhd.edu). Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Contact Info:

The guest editors of this special issue are Dr. Bonnie Lucero (lucerobo@uhd.edu), Dr. Orquidea Morales (moraleso@oldwestbury.edu), and Dr. Ed Cueva (cuevae@uhd.edu). Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

La Mano del Destino Comics

In answering a question from a reader, I came across a comic series worth sharing. Called La Mano del Destino, this story follows a former luchador-turned-vigilante. Expect Mesoamerican myth, Lucha Libre, and lots of action! These are written by Jason González, who is a hell of an illustrator as well.

If you’re interested, you can check them out here: http://store.acmeprints.com/castle-and-key-publications/comic-books/

New Book: East of East The Making of Greater El Monte by Romeo Guzman, et. al.

Romeo Guzman’s and his colleague’s East of East: The Making of Greater El Monte (Rutgers University Press, 2020) is an edited collection of thirty-one essays that trace the experience of a California community over three centuries, from eighteenth-century Spanish colonization to twenty-first century globalization. Employing traditional historical scholarship, oral history, creative nonfiction and original art, the book provides a radical new history of El Monte and South El Monte, showing how interdisciplinary and community-engaged scholarship can break new ground in public history.

East of East tells stories that have been excluded from dominant historical narratives-stories that long survived only in the popular memory of residents, as well as narratives that have been almost completely buried and all but forgotten. Its cast of characters includes white vigilantes, Mexican anarchists, Japanese farmers, labour organizers, civil rights pioneers, and punk rockers, as well as the ordinary and unnamed youth who generated a vibrant local culture at dances and dive bars.

You can listen to a podcast interview here: https://newbooksnetwork.com/romeo-guzman-east-of-east-the-making-of-greater-el-monte-rutgers-up-2020/

New Book in September: Unforgetting: A Memoir of Family, Migration, Gangs, and Revolution in the Americas by Roberto Lovato

An urgent, no-holds-barred tale of gang life, guerilla warfare, intergenerational trauma, and interconnected violence between the United State and El Salvador, Robert Lovato’s memoir excavates family history and reveals the intimate stories beneath headlines about gang violence and mass Central American migration, one of the most important, yet least-understood humanitarian crises of our time–and one in which the perspectives of Central American in the United States have been silenced and forgotten.

The child of Salvadoran immigrants, Roberto Lovato grew up in 1970s and 80s San Francisco as MS-13 and other notorious Salvadoran gangs were forming in California. In his teens, he lost friends to the escalating violence, and survived acts of brutality himself. He eventually traded the violence of the streets for human rights advocacy in wartime El Salvador where he joined the guerilla movement against the U.S.-backed, fascist military government responsible for some of the most barbaric massacres and crimes against humanity in recent history.

Roberto returned from war-torn El Salvador to find the United States on the verge of unprecedented crises of its own. There, he channeled his own pain into activism and journalism, focusing his attention on how trauma affects individual lives and societies, and began the difficult journey of confronting the roots of his own trauma. As a child, Roberto endured a tumultuous relationship with his father Ramón. Raised in extreme poverty in the countryside of El Salvador during one of the most violent periods of its history, Ramón learned to survive by straddling intersecting underworlds of family secrets, traumatic silences, and dealing in black-market goods and guns. The repression of the violence in his life took its toll, however. Ramón was plagued with silences and fits of anger that had a profound impact on his youngest son, and which Roberto attributes as a source of constant reckoning with the violence and rebellion in his own life.

In Unforgetting, Roberto interweaves his father’s complicated history and his own with first-hand reportage on gang life, state violence, and the heart of the immigration crisis in both El Salvador and the United States. In doing so he makes the political personal, revealing the cyclical ways violence operates in our homes and our societies, as well as the ways hope and tenderness can rise up out of the darkness if we are courageous enough to unforget.

 

https://bookshop.org/books/unforgetting-a-memoir-of-family-migration-gangs-and-revolution-in-the-americas/9780062938473?fbclid=IwAR0FJjLBT29xyDBCd4GvZ5RNpbf7wnt6EuOZ5_6LQSburTvIxpcPH3BZoqE

CfP: HISTORIES AND CULTURES OF LATINAS: SUFFRAGE, ACTIVISM AND WOMEN’S RIGHTS

CALL FOR PAPERS

HISTORIES AND CULTURES OF LATINAS: SUFFRAGE, ACTIVISM AND WOMEN’S RIGHTS

 

The Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Board invites submissions for publication in a refereed volume on the histories and cultures of Latinas. We welcome submissions from archivists, community members and activists, critics, historians, librarians, linguists, scholars and theorists who recover, preserve and make available the histories and cultures of US Latinas up to the 1980s.

The volume will have five chronological/thematic sections:

  • Digital Humanities
  • History, collections and archives, folklore and oral histories
  • Print culture and periodicals, literature and theatre, visual representation and style
  • Curriculum development and pedagogical approaches, bilingualism and linguistics, education, language and translation, library and information science
  • Methodological and theoretical approaches to recovered histories and cultures

Topics of engagement include, but are not limited to: colonial literature and history, the Latino Nineteenth Century, la voz del pueblo, representation of Latinas in popular culture, beyond borders and languages, community and activism, Latina memory, Latina agency, social and political roles, suffrage and feminism, food and labor, modernism, nationalism, revolution and identity.

SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS, STYLE AND LENGTH

Criteria for inclusion: 1) relevance to the histories and cultures of US Latinas up to the 1980s, 2) challenges to western-centrism and patriarchy, 3) analytical studies of recovered authors and texts.

Submissions under consideration for the volume must employ the author-date citation method along with other documentation formats in accordance with the MLA Handbook.  Submissions must conform to a word count of some 5000-6000 words or 20-25 pages in length, in English or Spanish.

TIMELINE AND SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

To be considered for publication, papers must be submitted as a Word digital document via email, including author’s name, professional affiliation, contact information and title of the article to both editors Montse Feu (mmf017@shsu.edu) and Yolanda Padilla (ypadilla@uw.edu) by August 30, 2020. After the peer-review process, and upon acceptance of selected papers, authors will receive revision requests by December 15, 2020.

Revised and completed papers along with any needed illustrations and figures (including any required permissions) should be finalized and sent to the co-editors by March 15, 2021. Expected publication date: September 2021.