The veins of Latin America have been drained for almost six centuries now. First, it was the European crowns of Spain and Portugal who happened to stumble upon our lands. With their flashy gadgets and their weapons of destruction they demolished our culture, attempted to eradicate our traditions, massacred our men and raped our women. After many generations of mestizos like me, our land finally expelled the white conquerors, just to have one hundred years of armed conflicts between ourselves; a society that has never known liberty was bound to turn on itself. The moment some sort of elusive peace arrived, the late 19th century also arrived, and with it came the imperialistic power of Western Europeans and North Americans, who used their technological advances, strong military forces and financial superiority to not only extract our resources but also to prevent us from any development or use of upright force. To this day, many developing countries are forced to adhere to the will of more developed governments who use their dystopian force to keep it that way, allowing their corporations to ravage our markets without having any care for our people or for our nature.
Andrés F. Arévalo
Over the last century, Argentina has produced some of the most influential writers in the literary universe, placing the Argentinian culture on exhibition to the whole world. From household names like Victoria Ocampo and the great Jorge Luis Borges to rule breakers like Julio Cortázar and Alejandra Pizarnik, Argentinian literature has always been known to push the limits of what we understand as prose, drag around reality and take the readers to the darkest corners of the human soul. And the latest generations are no different, especially with figures like Mariana Enríquez.
Throughout literary history, we’ve seen numerous authors delve into other occupations outside of writing. However, there are few like Cristina Reyes. Originally born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, Reyes has not only published several volumes of poetry, but has also had a successful career in pageants and in Ecuadorian politics. As a pageant contestant, Reyes came in as a runner-up in ‘Miss Ecuador,’ and eventually went on to compete in one of the major international pageants, ‘Miss Earth.’ As a politician, Reyes has held multiple positions in different branches of the government, including representative for the national assembly for the Social Christian Party.
From the many female literary talents that Mexico has produced in the last few decades, the public eye has failed to acknowledge one of its greatest fiction talents — Fernanda Melchor. Melchor was born in Veracruz, where she also got her journalism degree before becoming a novelist. Although she has works published in prestigious journals like “The Paris Review” and has published four books, she had her first breakthrough with “Temporada de Huracanes” (2017), which was shortlisted for the International Booker Prize and won the Haus der Kulturen der Welt.
In the last two years, a new name has forced itself into the contemporary Hispanic poetry canon and the world feminist literature, gaining speed and acclaim like nobody else: Luna Miguel. Originally born in Alcalá de Henares, Spain, Miguel quickly jumped into the Spanish writing scene with her work as a journalist, editor and director in several publishing houses and magazines. However, she is most widely recognized for her poetry collections, gaining fame all throughout Latin America and Spain. Some of her collections include “Poetry is not dead” (2010), “Poesía masculina” (2021) and “Pensamientos estériles” (2011).
In hundreds of years of Latin American literature, the male-dominated canon has kept the character of women as an accessory and a servant, following sexist and conservative values instilled by the Catholic church.Even in this last decade, with Latin American conservatism having been discarded, and especially with the “Latin Lover” stereotype, women are judged and not allowed to have a perception and manifestation of their own sexuality.
Since the turn of the century, like every other entertainment industry, the literary publishing world has experienced drastic shifts towards massification. The appearance of mass publication, overexposure to advertisements and the ever-growing power of social media have redefined public preferences on books. Literary blockbusters — books that are “notably expensive, effective, successful, large, or extravagant,” per Merriam-Webster — have risen to prominence, with negative implications for the future of writing and literature.
“Hay un ruido que no logro, que nunca he logrado identificar: un ruido que no es humano o es más que humano.” (“There is a noise that I cannot, that I have never been able to identify: a noise that is neither human nor more than human.”)