Entertainment

Sandra Cisneros Is Getting The Honor She Deserves For Her Impact On International Literature

Mexican-American writer Sandra Cisneros is widely regarded as one of the most influential novelists of her time. Works like “The House on Mango Street” and “Woman Hollering Creek” are celebrated and considered some of the most important pieces of contemporary literature. For her great impact on writing, Cisneros is set to be the recipient of the prestigious PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature on February 26 at the New York University Skirball Center for the Performing Arts in New York.

Sandra Cisneros’s stories of working-class people and the Mexican-American experience has made her one of the most celebrated novelists.

Cisneros will become just the third author ever to win the literature award, after Syrian poet Adonis in 2017 and Irish novelist Edna O’Brien in 2018. The award has been given annually since 2016 to living authors whose work is written in or translated into English.

“She is regarded as one of the most significant modern-day contributors to Chicano literature, often exploring the theme of dual identity in Mexican and Anglo-American cultures,” PEN America said in a statement. “Cisneros has not only changed the world of international literature, she has expanded American literature to include the Americas beyond the United States, inspiring a new era of Latinx writers we see emerging today.”

Cisneros started her writing career back in 1980 and has inspired countless voices since.

“It’s astonishing, I truly don’t feel that I’ve arrived at where I want to be yet. I feel that I’m just getting started,” Cisneros said in an interview with the LA Times. “What an honor. I’m so thrilled to get this award from them.”

The 64-year-old author was born in Chicago and made her literary debut in 1980 with the poetry book “Bad Boys.” However, it was the novel “The House on Mango Street” that put her name on the map. Released in 1984, it introduced the world to the struggles of a teenage Latina growing up in Cisneros’ hometown of Chicago. The novel made Cisneros one of the most revered novelists during the 80’s in a time where Chicano voices were emerging in literature.

Cisneros would move to San Antonio shortly after “The House on Mango Street” was published and lived there for almost 30 years. She is currently living in the Mexican town of San Miguel de Allende. She told the LA Times her move from the U.S. to Mexico was made to get away and get some solitude. “I really needed to find a house with a good wall around it, and some place that I could retreat and recharge, and I find that here in Mexico.”

Few authors have properly shined a light on the complex perspective of a Latino growing up in America like Cisneros has.

Judges Alexander Chee, Edwidge Danticat, and Valeria Luiselli praised Cisneros’s work and contributions to the literary world. Fans of her work also took to social media to express how much her work has had on their lives.

In a sign of good faith, Cisneros says she is planning to use to buy a house for her employees with $50,000 cash prize the PEN/Nabokov Award comes with. “I’m so happy to be able to do this,” she said. “I just love them, and they are my family here, my spiritual family, and I always wanted to buy them a house and now I can.”

For Cisneros, the honor was never being given awards. It was always being able to share her story and give perspective to the Latin experience few ever read about. Her books continue to inspire countless readers today and cultivate the next generation of emerging writers.


READ: 25 Inspiring Books Written About Latinas You Should Be Reading For Women’s History Month

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This Month, Isabel Allende Is Releasing a Memoir and HBO Is Releasing a Mini-Series Based on Her Life

Fierce

This Month, Isabel Allende Is Releasing a Memoir and HBO Is Releasing a Mini-Series Based on Her Life

Photo via Getty Images

March is a busy month for Isabel Allende. The most successful Spanish-language author of all time released a new memoir, “The Soul of a Woman”, on March 2nd. On March 12th, HBO released a mini-series based on her life entitled “ISABEL: The Intimate Story of Isabel Allende”.

Both of these projects focus on the unifying themes of Isabel Allende’s life. How she has defied the patriarchy, bucked expectations, and pursued her dreams while the odds were against her.

The HBO mini-series, entitled “ISABEL: The Intimate Story of Isabel Allende”, covers a lot of ground. From Allende’s childhood in Chile, to the chaotic years of her uncle’s assassination (who happened to be Chile’s president), and her subsequent flight to Venezuela.

The series will also touch on different phases of her life. Her career as a journalist for a progressive feminist magazine. Dealing with her all-consuming grief when her daughter died in 1992. Publishing her first novel–“House of Spirits”–in 1982.

A scene from the trailer of “ISABEL” sums up the hurtles that Allende had to overcome to create a career for herself in the male-dominated world of publishing. “They are going to raise the bar because you’re a woman,” her agent tells her bluntly. “You’ll have to work twice as hard as a man in order to obtain half the prestige.”

Allende’s memoir, “The Soul of a Woman“, on the other hand, reflects on her life through a distinctly feminist lens.

Her publisher describes it as “a passionate and inspiring mediation on what it means to be a woman.” And it doesn’t appear that Allende is shying away from the label of “feminist”. One of the first sentences of her book states: “When I say that I was a feminist in kindergarten, even before the concept was known in my family, I am not exaggerating.”

Despite being 78-years-young, Allende’s beliefs–about feminism, freedom and intersectionality–are incredibly modern. Throughout her lengthy press tour, Allende has been candid about the life experiences that have shaped her beliefs–mainly how witnessing her mother’s suffering at the hands of her father contributed to her “rage against chauvinism.”

Today, Allende remains incredibly in touch with the progressive issues of the moment, like the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements.

“In patriarchy, we are all left out: women, poor people, Black people, people with disabilities, people with different sexual orientations,” she recently told PopSugar. “We are all left out! Because it divides us into small groups to control us.”

Above all, Allende believes that we all–especially women–should recognize that we have many of the same goals and dreams. And we’re stronger when we’re united. “Talk to each other — women alone are vulnerable, women together are invincible,” she says.

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Latinas Are Sharing Important Book Reading Clubs And Favorite Reads

Fierce

Latinas Are Sharing Important Book Reading Clubs And Favorite Reads

There’s a reason why, in the age of television and Youtube, books continue to be read, loved, and adored by readers: when it comes to stories, books elevate the imagination in a way that can engage all of the senses. In times like these, where so many of us are in isolation and feeling alone, reading can, fortunately, do so much for the soul, and being apart of a book club (even if it is on Zoom) can help bring excitement to the monotony of our daily lives.

Fortunately, FIERCE Latinas are recommending book club suggestions as well as reads.

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The list below will surely fit the bill for all of your reading desires and help you get over any type of boredom you might have.

This club reading a Hollywood drama.

Amazon

“We actually have a book club called Pasando Páginas! We are currently reading the Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.” – hijasunidas


@cafeconlibros_bk is reading Little 🔥Everywhere 12.27!” –boardroombombshell

“I started a book club last year and while it’s small, our reads are mighty.” –steezplz


“I just finished “Clap When You Land.” I was never impressed by Acevedo until this book. It blew me away. She focuses more on trauma and grief in adolescence and it’s pretty damn near perfect. HIGHLY recommend.”- abbeyliz7

This club only reading books by Latinas.

Amazon.com

“I started a book club with friends this year. We only read female authors from Latin America. So far, my favorites have been “Delirio” by Laura Restrepo and “Los recuerdos del porvenir” by Elena Garro.” –merimagdalen

“Always Running by Luis J Rodriguez was the first Chicano book I have ever read!!!!!” –valeriec01

This book club introducing readers to Chicano literature.

Amazon.com

“Always Running by Luis J Rodriguez was the first Chicano book I have ever read!!!!” valeriec01

“Visionaries a Private Reading Group for BIQTPOC hosted by @femmegoddessco.” –moniii_xoxo

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