5 Mexican Authors That You Need on Your Bookshelf

May 5th is Cinco de Mayo and we want to take a moment to celebrate Mexican authors. Click here to see who some of our are favorites are!

Recommendations
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Mexico has produced some of the most talented and influential authors in the world, all with unique viewpoints and captivating stories. These writers often explore aspects of the Mexican identity, from its rich history and culture to modern political and social issues such as violence and poverty. Here are five Mexican authors who definitely belong on everybody’s bookshelves for their gripping stories and extraordinary writing styles.

1. Silvia Moreno Garcia

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IMAGE VIA THE BOOKSELLER

Born in Mexico but now based in Canada, Silvia Moreno Garcia is known for blending horror, fantasy, surrealism, and historical fiction into one-of-a-kind novels. Mexican history and folklore are also the backdrops of many of her works, from the political landscape of Mexico City in the 1970s to adventures with the Mayan God of death. Garcia hopes that people will use her books to discover more about Mexico:

Nobody should use my book as an encyclopedia, but so many people know so little about Mexico, and have such stereotypical images and a limited conception of the country, its history and its people, so hopefully when I write about it they acquire something more expansive and eclectic.

Garcia, in New Internationalist

Moreno’s books are exciting and engaging, and anyone who appreciates genre-bending will enjoy her works.

Selected Works: Mexican Gothic, Velvet Was the Night, The Daughter of Doctor Moreau

2. Octavio Paz

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IMAGE VIA THE POETRY FOUNDATION

Octavio Paz may be one of the most prolific Mexican authors ever. Paz was an activist, journalist, poet, and essayist. Paz is known for his political and social commentary, literary critiques, and poetry. He is a major figure in the Latin American literary boom of the 1960s and 1970s. Although his work has been labeled “international,” Mexico is still the heart of many of Paz’s works. Paz deeply believed that Mexico had much to offer the rest of the world in terms of art and philosophy, and his body of work absolutely proves it.

“This is perhaps the most noble aim of poetry, to attach ourselves to the world around us, to turn desire into love, to embrace, finally what always evades us, what is beyond, but what is always there – the unspoken, the spirit, the soul.”

Octavio Paz, The Other Voice: Essays on Modern Poetry

Selected Works: Sunstone, The Labyrinth of Solitude, Alternating Current

3. Fernanda Melchor

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IMAGE VIA THE PUNCH MAGAZINE

The Guardian has labeled Fernanda Melchor “one of Mexico’s most exciting new voices.” Melchor takes an unflinching look at violence in her native city of Veracruz. Her novel Hurricane Season tells the story of a woman murdered by her lover and dissects the culture of femicide, homophobia, and misogyny in rural Mexico. She has been compared to Truman Capote and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, amongst other prolific authors. Her work is provocative, challenging, and thought-provoking, so anyone who wants to engage in difficult social issues should definitely pick up one of her books.

People there are known for being very happy, very friendly, yet it’s a site of immense violence. For me, it was fascinating to grow up in a place with so much history.

Melchor, interview with The Nation

Selected Works: This is Not Miami, Hurricane Season, Paradis

4. Benjamin Alire Sáenz

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IMAGE VIA TEXAS MONTHLY

Benjamin Alire Sáenz is a Mexican-American author known for his young adult novel Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. His stories not only explore sexuality and gender but Mexican-American identity as well. He often explores the complexities of being between two cultures and embracing one’s heritage. His stories are beautifully crafted and deeply impactful. Plenty of young, queer Mexican-American readers will be able to relate to his characters.

That we all belong to each other. That we’re all connected. That life is a gift and even if we are a very small part of the universe, we still matter. There is no “I”. There is only a “we”. We exist only in relation to one another. I’d like my readers to take away the message that it is up to us to make the world a better place. We are citizens of the world and we need to take that citizenship seriously.

Benjamin Alire Saenz, interview with Pop-Culturalist

Selected Works: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World, Sammy & Juliana in Hollywood

5. Laura Esquivel

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IMAGE VIA RADIO BILINGUE

Laura Esquivel is best known for her magical realism novel Like Water for Chocolate, which centers around traditional Mexican recipes corresponding with events in the protagonist, Tita de la Garza’s, life. Esquivel’s other novels also explore aspects of Mexican history and culture, such as modern Mexican politics or the Spanish conquering the Aztecs from the perspective of a young Nahua woman. Her works offer a deep understanding of Mexican culture and history while also exploring broader themes such as love and loss.

[Words] cling to the very core of our memories and lie there in silence until a new desire reawakens them and recharges them with loving energy. That is one of the qualities of love that moves me most, their capacity for transmitting love. Like water, words are a wonderful conductor of energy. And the most powerful, transforming energy is the energy of love.

Laura Esquivel

Selected Works: Like Water for Chocolate, Swift as Desire, Malinche: A Novel


Still interested in Latinx literature? Check out this article to get recommendations for books surrounding the Day of the Dead.

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