Orange Is the New Black star Selenis Levya co-authors a memoir with her trans sister

Many know Selenis Leyva from Orange Is the New Black where she plays inmate Gloria Mendoza. Fewer know that she and her sister, Marizol, co-authored a powerful and informative memoir released a couple of weeks into the Covid-19 lockdown. As it walks us through their coming-of-age and adult lives right up to the present, this joint memoir about self-actualisation explores what is it to navigate the world as an Afro-Latinx trans woman of modest means.

“I learned to read between the lines”: A conversation with Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa

We had the privilege of speaking to a veteran of historical fiction, Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa, whose pioneering novels have put Afro-Latinx history on the literary map. The 2009 hardcover edition of Daughters of the Stone was listed as a 2010 Finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize. In this interview, she tells us more about her inspirations, the power of historical fiction, its demands on the writing process, and her forthcoming novel.

Clap When You Land is a fierce verse novel based on the other 2001 plane crash

Clap When You Land tells the story of two unwitting sisters—Camino in the Dominican Republic and Yahaira in New York—who learn of each other’s existence and their father’s secret double life when he dies in a tragic plane crash. From the colourful houses of the Dominican Republic to the boroughs of New York, this 400-page rich landscape of considered and crafted verse feels majestic in its scope as it covers everything from colourism to how loss makes space for gain.

Daughters of the Stone is a pioneering debut in Afro-Puerto Rican historical fiction

Published in 2009, Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa’s Daughters of the Stone is finalist for the PEN/Robert Bingham fellowship and a pioneering example of recent trends in Black historical fiction. Divided into five sections each named after a new focaliser, this multigenerational tome begins the moment Fela arrives at a Puerto Rican sugar plantation. All these stories culminate in that of Carisa, a disillusioned writer who voyages back to West Africa in order to learn the truth about her people.

Elizabeth Acevedo’s only prose novel is a culinary, coming-of-age delight

With the Fire on High is Acevedo’s first and only prose novel. It tells the coming-of-age story of Emoni, a Puerto Rican-American senior growing up in Philadelphia. A girl of few words who has no patience for the classroom, Emoni's talent is in the kitchen where she makes magic with everything she touches. Drawing inspiration from her background in slam and hip-hop, Acevedo's self-assured voice radiates confidence, and every single word counts.