Letras Boricuas Fellows 2022
2021 & 2022 Fellows
Francisco Font Acevedo
Francisco Font Acevedo was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Puerto Rican parents, on September 15, 1970. He grew up in Rincón, Puerto Rico, the country where he lived until July 2018. Since then, he has lived in exile in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he assumes the border identity of being a Puerto Rican islander who neither assimilates nor wishes to assimilate to the equivocal category of Latino. On that side of the Atlantic, he works as an interpreter and writes fiction. His most recent publications are Santurce, un libro mural (in collaboration with the artist Rafael Trelles, Fundación Puertorriqueña de las Humanidades, Puerto Rico, 2020) and La troupe Samsonite (Folium, Puerto Rico, 2016). At present, he aspires to complete his next book. His writing is inspired by “what results from personal and other people’s memory, dreams, the hybridity of cultural identities, the occupation and eviction of humanized spaces, nomadism and exile, human dignity and misery, and what I do not know.” About Letras Boricuas, Francisco shares that “receiving this fellowship means for me an opportunity to have a greater financial stability to complete my next book.”
Claudia Acevedo-Quiñones nació el 19 de enero de 1988 en Hato Rey, Puerto Rico, y se crio entre Guaynabo y Río Piedras. Es escritora y poeta, y vive en Brooklyn, Nueva York desde 2006. Su trabajo como escrita se enfoca en origen, etimología, sueños y la diáspora. Fue finalista del Premio de Poesía Phillip Booth en 2019. Sus poemas, cuentos cortos de ficción y no ficción han sido publicados en The Brooklyn Rail, wildness, Ambit Magazine, Radar Poetry, entre otros. En 2019 obtuvo una maestría en escritura creativa y literatura de Stony Brook University, donde también impartió clases de poesía a estudiantes subgraduados. Su primer libro, The Hurricane Book, será publicado en 2023 por Rose Metal Press. El panfleto Bedroom Pop fue publicado por dancing girl press en 2021.
Claudia Acevedo-Quiñones was born January 19, 1988 in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico, and was raised in Guaynabo and Río Piedras. She is a writer and a poet, and has lived in Brooklyn, New York since 2006. Her work as a writer is focused on origins, etymology, dreams, and the diaspora. She was a finalist for the Phillip Booth Poetry Award in 2019. Her poems, short fiction and non-fiction stories have been published in The Brooklyn Rail, wildness, Ambit Magazine, Radar Poetry, among others. In 2019, she obtained a Master’s degree in Creative Writing and Literature from Stony Brook University, where she also taught poetry to undergraduate students. Her first book, The Hurricane Book, will be published in 2023 by Rose Metal Press. The pamphlet Bedroom Pop was published by dancing girl press in 2021.
Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro
Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro nació en octubre de 1970 en Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, y se crio en el barrio Amelia y en la costa de Cataño. Actualmente vive en Carolina. Es investigadora, narradora, poeta y profesora. Es Catedrática Auxiliar y Escritora Residente de EDP University. En 2007 fue seleccionada por el Hay Festival como parte del grupo inaugural Bogotá39. Fue premiada por el Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña (ICP) en 2015 y 2012, y el Premio Nacional del Instituto de Literatura Puertorriqueña en 2008. Es fundadora y directora de la Cátedra de Mujeres Negras Ancestrales. Entre sus obras están: Las negras (2012), ganador del Premio Nacional de Cuento PEN Club de Puerto Rico en 2013, su libro Animales de apariencia inofensiva, Libro del año 2015 y su libro Ojos de luna, Libro del año 2007. Publicó con la Editorial Egales de España los libros lésbicos Caparazones (2010), Violeta (2014) Lesbianas en clave caribeña (2015) y TRANScaribeñx (2017, premio PENClub de Puerto Rico 2018). En 2016 recibió el Premio Escritora del Año en Literatura Queer del Centro Comunitario LGBT de Puerto Rico. En 2021 recibió el PEN Club Puerto Rico National Short Story Award y el Instituto de Literatura Puertorriqueña National Creative Award por Calle de la Resistencia. También recibió el galardón mayor por el PEN International por Afrofeministamente. Dirige las campañas educativas #PeloBueno #SalasdeLecturaAntirracista y #EnnegreceTuProntuario. En 2022 se convirtió en escritora independiente para el proyecto ¡Listos a jugar! Storybook, de Plaza Sésamo.
Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro was born October 1970 in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, raised in the barrio Amelia and in the Cataño coast. She currently lives in Carolina. She is a researcher, narrator, poet, and professor. She is a Guest Lecturer and Resident Writer at EDP University. In 2007, she was chosen by the Hay Festival as part of the inaugural Bogotá39 group. She received an award from the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture (ICP, for its Spanish initials) in 2015 and 2012, and the National Award from the Institute for Puerto Rican Literature in 2008. She is a founder and director of the Cátedra de Mujeres Negras Ancestrales. Her work includes: Las negras (2012, National Story Award from the PEN Club of Puerto Rico 2013), Animales de apariencia inofensiva (Book of the Year in 2015), and her book Ojos de luna (Book of the Year in 2007). She also published, with Editorial Egales de España, the lesbian-themed books Caparazones (2010), Violeta (2014) Lesbianas en clave caribeña (2015) and TRANScaribeñx (2017, PEN Club de Puerto Rico 2018 award). In 2016, she received the Writer of the Year in Queer Literature Award from the LGBT Community Center of Puerto Rico. In 2021, she received the PEN Club of Puerto Rico National Short Story Award and the Institute for Puerto Rican Literature National Creative Award for Calle de la Resistencia. She also received the top award from PEN International for her Afrofeministamente. She leads the educational campaigns #PeloBueno (#GoodHair) #SalasdeLecturaAntirracista (#AntiracistReadingsRooms) and #EnnegreceTuProntuario (#BlackenYourSyllabus). In 2022, she became an independent writer for ¡Listos a jugar! Storybook, from Sesame Street.
Mrinali Álvarez Astacio
Mrinali Álvarez Astacio was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on January 12, 1973. She is a visual artist, illustrator, and author. She studied Fine Arts at Columbus College of Art and Design in the USA and has a master’s degree in Children’s Book Illustration from Cambridge School of Art in the UK. She has published books with the publishing house of the University of Puerto Rico as an author and illustrator, for some of which she received the Latino Book Awards and the Publisher’s West Award. She has exhibited her illustration works in Galleria Piazza San Marco; Venice, Italy; and at Coningsby Gallery and Candid Gallery in London. In 2017, she received the mention of Highly Commended Artwork in the Macmillan Prize for Children’s Book Illustration competition. In 2016, she was one of three winners at the Beginning, Middle, and End competition of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators-British Isles, in London, UK. Her illustrated artist books were featured at the Norwich Artist Book Fair and Gallery Above in Linton. Her most recent publication is Piecitos de bebé (Baby feet, Editorial Destellos, Puerto Rico, 2021). About being named a Letras Boricuas Fellow, Mrinali points out that “receiving this fellowship means for me a recognition of my work as an author-illustrator. It boosts my motivation, and it is an aid that will significantly support my plans, especially to finish my doctorate in children’s book illustration at Cambridge School of Art in the UK.
Cezanne Cardona was born in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, on January 28, 1982. He is a writer, teacher, and columnist. In 2018, he received the Premio Nuevas Voces and in 2019 the Premio Nacional del Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña for his book of short stories Levittown mon amor (Ediciones Callejón, 2018). Some of his short stories have been published in various anthologies and adapted to the theater. Currently, he is an opinion columnist for the newspaper El Nuevo Día and teaches Comparative Literature courses at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. Cezanne draws inspiration from images and phrases. He dreams of describing a future goal or plan. He says that being named a Letras Boricuas Fellow means “a great honor” to him.
Kattia Chico nació en San José, Costa Rica, de padres puertorriqueños el 14 de octubre de 1969. Se crio en el área oeste de Puerto Rico y reside en San Germán. Es profesora y poeta. Completó un doctorado en el Centro de Estudios Avanzados de Puerto Rico y el Caribe, una maestría en la Universidad de Puerto Rico, recinto de Mayagüez, y bachillerato en la Universidad Interamericana, recinto de San Germán. Publicó los poemarios Mala luz, (Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, 2017) y Efectos Secundarios (Terranova, 2004). Este último fue ganador del Premio Nacional de Poesía 2004 otorgado por el Pen Club de Puerto Rico. Su poesía aparece en portales, antologías, diarios y revistas en Puerto Rico y el extranjero. Ha participado en festivales, talleres y encuentros literarios en Puerto Rico, México, República Dominicana, Boston y Nueva York. Actualmente es profesora de la Universidad de Puerto Rico en Ponce.
Kattia Chico was born in San José, Costa Rica, to Puerto Rican parents, on October 14, 1969. She was raised in the west coast of Puerto Rico and lives in San Germán. She is a professor and poet. She completed a Doctorate at the Center for Advanced Studies of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, a Master’s degree at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez campus, and a bachelor’s degree at the Interamericana University, San Germán Campus. She published the poetry books Mala luz (Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, 2017) and Efectos Secundarios (Terranova, 2004). The latter won the 2004 National Poetry Award from the PEN Club of Puerto Rico. Her poetry appears on websites, anthologies, newspapers, and magazines in Puerto Rico and abroad. She has participated in festivals, workshops, and literary encounters in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Boston, and New York. She is currently a professor at the University of Puerto Rico in Ponce.
Yarisa Colón Torres
Yarisa Colón Torres nació el 1 de marzo de 1977 en San Juan, Puerto Rico, y se crio entre la isla y Nueva York. Reside en Queens, Nueva York. Es poeta, educadora y creadora de libros hechos a mano. Por más de dos décadas ha publicado su poesía de manera independiente. También ha organizado talleres de creación de libros artesanales, y colaborado con artistas visuales, performers, músicos y artesanas en proyectos que giran en torno a la palabra escrita. Entre sus poemarios recientes se encuentran: Enredadera y Colmillo (2019) y Viento Abajo (2022). Se desempeña como instructora adjunta en Bronx Community College, CUNY.
Yarisa Colón Torres was born March 1, 1977 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and was raised in the island and New York. She lives in Queens, New York. She is a poet, educator and creator of handmade books. She has published her poetry independently for more than two decades. She has also organized artisanal book creation workshops and collaborated with visual artists, performers, musicians, and artisans in various projects involving the written word. Among her most recent poetry books are: Enredadera y Colmillo (2019) and Viento Abajo (2022). She also works as an adjunct professor at Bronx Community College, CUNY.
Martín Espada is a poet, editor, essayist, and translator. He was born in Brooklyn, New York, where he was raised, and now lives in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts. A former tenant lawyer, Espada is a professor of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. He is the author of more than twenty books, including Floaters (W.W. Norton, 2021); a finalist for the National Book Award, Vivas to Those Who Have Failed (2016); The Trouble Ball (2011)l and Alabanza (2003). His many honors include the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Shelley Memorial Award, an Academy of American Poets Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He notes one particular influence of his cultural and artistic identity: his father, Francisco Luis (Frank) Espada, a photographer, community organizer, and leader of the Puerto Rican community in New York during the 1960s.About being named a Letras Boricus Fellow, Espada says, “As a poet of the Puerto Rican diaspora, this fellowship means a great deal to me personally and poetically, more than words can say. This fellowship represents the embrace of my Boricua community—so often the beating heart of my poems. In a way, this fellowship brings me full circle: the chance to scatter my father’s ashes in his hometown of Utuado.”
Francisco Félix was born on September 18, 1990, in Río Piedras, Puerto Rico. He grew up in Carolina and Trujillo Alto. He is a writer. He studied Sociology and Hispanic Studies at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras. He published the books of poems Esta Isla (Alayubia, 2019) and Sobre los domingos (La Impresora, 2019). He participated in the La Práctica program of Beta Local in 2019. El Nuevo Día has reviewed his texts, and some of his poems have been translated into English and Portuguese. Other poems have been published in the Low-Fi Ardentía, Demoliendo Hoteles, and Fracas magazines. In his blog, Rumiares Repetidos, he comments on literature. Currently, he lives in western Puerto Rico. Francisco Félix dreams of “devising ways for the exercise of writing and reading to migrate from the few privileged spaces to the community in general. We must recognize the importance of writing in life. Education is the pillar to reform and rebuild a society that has suffered from austerity policies in recent years by government institutions. It’s up to us to work with projects that satisfy the needs of our fellow human beings.” About being named a Letras Boricuas Fellow, Francisco shares that “I am very honored to be part of this award-winning group of Puerto Rican writers. There are immensely talented people in Puerto Rico with a commitment to books and literature. In such turbulent times, being a writer is a challenge to the crisis. I would not have received this opportunity without the support of that community so supportive, committed, and willing.”
Marta Jazmín García
Marta Jazmín García es poeta, artista y académica. Nació el 22 de febrero de 1983 en Adjuntas, Puerto Rico, donde se crio, y vive en Ponce. Cuenta con tres publicaciones de poesía: Luz Fugitiva (Ediciones Callejón, San Juan, 2014), El único refugio son los párpados, (El Taller Blanco Ediciones, Colombia, 2020) y El sitio del relámpago (Ediciones Alayubia, San Juan, 2021). Actualmente completa un doctorado en el programa de Lengua española y sus literaturas, de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid.
Marta Jazmín García is a poet, artist, and academic. She was born on February 22, 1983 in Adjuntas, Puerto Rico, where she was raised, and lives in Ponce. She has three published books of poetry: Luz Fugitiva (Ediciones Callejón, San Juan, 2014), El único refugio son los párpados, (El Taller Blanco Ediciones, Colombia, 2020) and El sitio del relámpago (Ediciones Alayubia, San Juan, 2021). She is currently completing a Doctorate in Spanish Language and its Literature, from the Complutense University in Madrid.
Amina Lolita Gautier
Dr. Amina Lolita Gautier is a fiction writer and a professor. She was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1977 and now lives in Chicago and Miami. She is the author of The Loss of All Lost Things (Elixir Press, USA, 2016) and two short story collections: At-Risk and Now We Will Be Happy. Her stories have been widely published, including in Agni, Boston Review, Callaloo, Cincinnati Review, Glimmer Train, Greensboro Review, Gulf Coast, Joyland, Kenyon Review, Latino Book Review, Los Angeles Review, Mississippi Review, New Flash Fiction Review, Quarterly West, Southern Review, and Triquarterly, among other places. She’s the recipient of the Chicago Public Library Foundation’s 21st Century Award, the Eric Hoffer Legacy Fiction Award, the Phillis Wheatley Book Award in Fiction, and two International Latino Book Awards. She also received the PEN/MALAMUD Award for Excellence in the Short Story in 2018. Gautier is inspired to write by “The opportunity to show and tell the truth of one’s actions, which is often a more honest form of truth than mere facts.” About being named a Letras Boricuas Fellow, Gautier said, “Winning this fellowship means that there are numerous ways to be Boricua and that all the ways are valid yet different pathways to a beautifully complex identity. For me, this fellowship welcomes me home.”
Sergio Gutiérrez was born in Caguas, Puerto Rico, on September 14, 1986. This novelist and short-story writer currently lives in Oberlin, Ohio. In 2017, the Hay Festival selected him as part of Bogotá39, a list of 39 promising writers from the continent under 39. Two years earlier, in 2015, the Festival de la Palabra de Puerto Rico recognized him with the Premio Nuevas Voces, given to young Puerto Rican authors. His second novel, Dicen que los dormidos, won the National Novel Prize awarded by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture in 2012. His most recent publication is Los dias hábiles (Destino, México, 2020). Sergio is inspired to write by “the strange matter of our day-to-day life, or by reading (history or literature) as a way to energize the present.” About being named a Letras Boricuas Fellow, he said, “it means the opportunity to create a space within my daily responsibilities from which I will be able to finish a long novel that I have been working on in recent years.”
Amanda Hernández was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on December 22, 1990. She is a poet, editor, and co-director of La Impresora. She studied Literature and Cultural Management at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. Amanda has independently published the following projects: Entre tanto amarillo (2016), El momento de las cosas (2017), Estrategias atómicas (2018). In 2019, she edited Memoriza: poemas para aprenderse de memoria, a game of “memory” that doubles as an anthology of contemporary Puerto Rican poetry. Her most recent work, La distancia es un lugar, was published by La Impresora in 2020. Amanda is inspired by “what I know, what I’ve lived, those experiences that are difficult to put into words, that attempt of understanding, what affects us, what has happened. It inspires me to know that shared words can create a sense of community, that words can also help define a country, an island.” About what it means to be a Letras Boricuas fellow, Amanda says, “To receive this fellowship means to me the opportunity to continue honoring my profession as a poet and editor. It represents the opportunity to continue dedicating my efforts to my poetic and editorial practice in the context of an island that benefits so much from the sensibilities poetry has to offer.”
Ivelisse Housman nació en 1998 y ha vivido en Puerto Rico, Texas y Virginia, donde reside actualmente. Su trabajo está inspirado en identidades cruzadas como una mujer birracial con autismo. UNSEELIE, su primera novela, será publicada en 2023 por Inkyard Press.
Ivelisse Housman was born in 1998 and has lived in Puerto Rico, Texas, and Virginia, where she currently resides. Her work draws inspiration from mixed identities as a bi-racial woman with autism. UNSEELIE, her first novel, will be published in 2023 by Inkyard Press.
Mónica Alexandra Jiménez
Mónica Alexandra Jiménez is a poet, historian, and Assistant Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, and raised in Houston, she currently lives in Austin, Texas. Her poems and essays have been published in Aftershocks of Disaster: Puerto Rico Before and After the Storm (2019), Society and Space Magazine (2020), sx salon (2020), and WSQ (2019). Her chapbook, Epigenetics, or the Afterlives of Smoke, was longlisted for the Frontier Poetry Chapbook Contest. She is the recipient of a Career Enhancement Fellowship from the Institute for Citizens and Scholars (formerly the Woodrow Wilson Foundation), as well as fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Puerto Rican Studies Association, the Institute for Global Law and Policy at Harvard Law School, and the Summer Institute for Tenure and Professional Advancement at Duke University. Her writing “explores the intersections and legacies of colonialism and violence; familial links and migration (el ‘vaivén’); and the overwhelming weight of debt, both spiritual and metaphysical, as well as, financial.” About being named a Letras Boricuas Fellow, Jiménez says, “As a writer and a scholar, I do the work that I do because I feel called to it, but often with doubts as to its necessity, relevance, or importance. The Letras Boricuas fellowship is confirmation that there is value in the work and in the ideas. It helps me believe that my words can matter and it helps push me to keep thinking and writing.”
José Lee-Borges nació el 6 de septiembre de 1974 en Miami, Florida, pero desde los seis años vive en Puerto Rico. Se crio en Ponce, donde todavía reside. Es historiador, profesor, investigador y escritor. Proviene de una familia multicultural de inmigrantes, de padre chino y madre cubana. Tiene un doctorado en Filosofía de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto de Río Piedras. Ha presentado conferencias en México, España, Canadá, Estados Unidos, Cuba y Puerto Rico. Es autor del libro Los chinos en Puerto Rico, premiado y reconocido por el Instituto de Literatura Puertorriqueña y el Pen Club de Puerto Rico.
José Lee-Borges was born on September 6, 1974 in Miami, Florida, but has lived in Puerto Rico since he was six years old. He was raised in Ponce, where he still lives. He is a historian, professor, investigator, and writer. He comes from a multicultural family of immigrants, son of a Chinese father and a Cuban mother. He has a Doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras campus. He has served as speaker in conferences in Mexico, Spain, Canada, United States, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. He is the author of the book Los chinos en Puerto Rico, which has won awards from the Institute for Puerto Rican Literature and the PEN Club of Puerto Rico.
Natalie Lima nació en Miami, Florida, el 12 de junio de 1986. De ascendencia puertorriqueña y cubana, se crio entre Hialeah, Florida, y Las Vegas, Nevada. Actualmente reside en Indianapolis, Indiana. Es escritora y profesora de escritura creativa en Butler University en Indianapolis. Sus ensayos y trabajos de ficción han sido publicados en Longreads, Guernica, Brevity, The Offing, Catapult, y en las antologías Sex and the Single Woman (Harper Perennial, 2022) y Body Language (Catapult, 2022). Ha sido honrada en Best Small Fictions (2020) y mencionada en dos ocasiones en Best American Essays (2019 y 2020). Ha recibido becas de PEN America Emerging Vooices, Bread Loaf, Tin House, VONA/Voices Workshop, Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, además de una residencia de Hedgebrook.
Natalie Lima was born in Miami, Florida, on June 12, 1986. She is of Puerto Rican and Cuban ancestry, and was raised in Hialeah, Florida and Las Vegas, Nevada. She currently lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. She is a writer and creative writing professor at Butler University in Indianapolis. Her essays and works of fiction have been published in Longreads, Guernica, Brevity, The Offing, Catapult, and in the anthologies Sex and the Single Woman (Harper Perennial, 2022) and Body Language (Catapult, 2022). She has been honored in Best Small Fictions (2020) and mentioned twice in Best American Essays (2019 and 2020). She has received scholarships from PEN America Emerging Voices, Bread Loaf, Tin House, VONA/Voices Workshop, Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, in addition to doing a residency at Hedgebrook.
Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa is a novelist. She was born in Río Piedras, Puerto Rico, raised in New York City, and now lives in the Bronx, New York. Her first novel, Daughters of the Stone (Thomas Dunne Books, 2009), was shortlisted as a 2010 Finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize. Since its publication, the novel has been listed as required reading in more than 20 colleges and universities. The English and Spanish language editions of her second novel, A Woman of Endurance (Spanish title, Indómita) will be released in March 2022. Her writing is inspired by “the unrecognized stories of the past; filling in the blanks left by official historical documents; giving voice to the story of the ordinary people, especially the black people of Puerto Rico.” About being named a Letras Boricuas Fellow, Figuera says, “First of all, I am honored to receive critical recognition from a Puerto Rican panel of judges. It means I succeeded in representing my culture well. Secondly, it will allow me to do more extensive research on the island, visiting every plantation, every source of information, every scholar who can add to my investigations of the past.”
Juan López Bauzá
Juan López Bauzá nació en Ponce, Puerto Rico, el 11 de julio de 1966 y actualmente vive en San Juan. Ha recibido varios prestigiosos galardones, como el premio del Pen Club de Puerto Rico al mejor libro de ficción corta de 1997 por La sustituta y otros cuentos (Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, 1997), su primer libro. Sus trabajos más recientes incluyen: El Mar de Azov (LibrosAC, 2016), El Resplandor de Luzbella, (Editorial Planeta México, 2018) y Barataria, (Editorial Planeta México, 2018).
Juan López Bauzá was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, on July 11, 1966. He currently lives in San Juan. He has received several prestigious awards, such as the PEN Club of Puerto Rico prize for best short fiction book in 1997 for La sustituta y otros cuentos (Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, 1997), his first book. His most recent work includes: El Mar de Azov (LibrosAC, 2016), El Resplandor de Luzbella, (Editorial Planeta México, 2018) and Barataria, (Editorial Planeta México, 2018).
Carmen R. Marín
Carmen R. Marín was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, on February 18, 1975, and raised in Yauco. She currently lives in San Juan. She is a writer, editor, and proofreader; founder of Con Acento; Writing and Creative Writing teacher; and a high school Spanish teacher. Her bachelor’s degree in Hispanic Studies is from the University of Puerto Rico in Mayagüez, and her master’s degree in Spanish is from Binghamton University (State University of New York). She also has courses leading to a doctorate in Hispanic Language and Literature from Stony Brook University (SUNY Stony Brook). She worked as an editor at the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture Publishing House. In 2013, she published her first book, the collection of poems Salvahuidas (Erizo Editorial). Her most recent publications are the poetry book Encamadas (Trabalis Editores, Puerto Rico, 2020) and the hybrid textbook Cosmogonías y otras sales (Editora Educación Emergente, Puerto Rico, 2019). Carmen dreams “of a society where a girl is not afraid to speak, an adolescent is not afraid of losing, and a woman is not afraid of winning.” About being named a Letras Boricuas Fellow, Carmen expresses that “When I say that receiving this fellowship is an immense honor and that it has taken me by surprise, it is not false modesty. The fear of assuming myself speaks. I see myself in an unsuspected mirror, as a writer, as a poet, and as part of a group in charge of perpetuating wonder through words, against so many barriers, against so much carelessness.”
Vanessa Mártir is a writer, educator, and editor. She was born in New York City, raised in Brooklyn, New York, and now lives in Orange County, New York. She is the founder of the Writing Our Lives Workshop and the Writing the Mother Wound Movement. Her essays and writing have been published in NYU’s Latinx Project Intervenxiones, The Guardian, Longreads, The New York Times, The Rumpus, and The Washington Post and were nominated for the Best American Essays series in 2020 and 2021. In 2019, she was awarded the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) Kurt Brown Award in Creative Nonfiction for her essay “Sopa Ministry for the Grieving and Unmothered.” She also is a recipient of a residency at the Pocantico Center. About being named a Letras Boricuas Fellow, Martir says, “Money takes up so much mental and emotional space, as does imposter syndrome, which is especially intense for us BIPOC and colonized people who’ve been taught, directly and subliminally, that we don’t matter, and our stories don’t belong in the world. This fellowship means a group of art lovers and professionals acknowledges the value of my work and wants to see my work out in the world. It puts my worries about money and worth on pause.”
Joserramón “Che” Melendes
Joserramón “Che” Melendes nació en Río Piedras, Puerto Rico, lugar donde todavía reside, el 12 de mayo de 1952. Es poeta, crítico, teorizante, editor, organizador cultural y tallerista. Es autor de Desimos Désimas y La Casa de la Forma, además de los poemarios Calaboso y Senotafio (galardonado con un premio del Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña). Actualmente, están en preparación en Puerto Rico y México dos antologías de su poesía publicada e inédita. Ha editado la teoría literaria y la producción poética de Juan A. Corretjer. Como editor, también ha trabajado la poesía de Francisco Matos Paoli, José M. Lima y Anjelamaría Dávila. Entre sus trabajos recientes están: Antología Isla Escrita, editada por Néstor Rodríguez (Amargord Ediciones, 2018); Josérramón Melendes: Omenaje a Fernández Retamar (Periódico Claridad, 31 jul 2019); la 4ta edición de La Casa de las Formas (Ediciones qeAse, 2020). Su poesía ha sido recogida en la serie q∫21, del que su primer tomo El Fondo de la Máscara recibió el premio del ICP de ensayo. Para Delfín fue galardonado con el premio Pen Club.
Joserramón “Che” Melendes was born in Río Piedras, Puerto Rico, where he still lives, on May 12, 1952. He is a poet, critic, theoretician, editor, cultural organizer, and workshop leader. He is the author of Desimos Désimas and La Casa de la Forma, in addition to the poetry books Calaboso y Senotafio (which won an award from the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture.) Two anthologies of his published and previously unreleased poetry are currently being prepared for publishing in Puerto Rico and Mexico.
He has edited the literary theory and poetic work of Juan A. Corretjer. As an editor, he has also worked on the poetry of Francisco Matos Paoli, José M. Lima, and Anjelamaría Dávila. His most recent work includes: Antología Isla Escrita, edited by Néstor Rodríguez (Amargord Ediciones, 2018); Josérramón Melendes: Omenaje a Fernández Retamar (Periódico Claridad, Jul 31 2019); the 4th edition of La Casa de las Formas (Ediciones qeAse, 2020). His poetry has been compiled in the q∫21 series, from which his first volume, El Fondo de la Máscara, received the ICP essay award. Para Delfín received the PEN Club award.
Luis Negrón was born in Guayama, Puerto Rico, on March 15, 1970. He currently lives in Santurce. He is a writer and bookseller. Claridad and The New York Times have published his work. His book of short stories Mundo cruel has been made into theater and film and published in 18 countries. Its English translation, by Suzanne Jill Levine (Seven Stories, 2013), won the Lambda Literary Award in 2013. In 2017, he published the book of chronicles Los tres golpes (ICP, 2016) and El jardín, a piece of musical theater (Ediciones La Esquina, 2021), went on stage. In 2007, he was a co-anthologist in Los otros cuerpos: Antología de temática gay, lésbica y queer desde Puerto Rico y su diáspora (Tiempo Nuevo, 2007). Luis is inspired to write “by literature itself; only writing can forcefully inspire the need to write.” Luis dreams of a country with democratic access to books. About being named a Letras Boricuas Fellow, Luis says that “it means an unimaginable validation, a debt to rigor, an opportunity to create without the siege of necessity.”
Manolo Núñez Negrón
Manolo Núñez Negrón was born in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, on June 6, 1980, and was raised in San Sebastián. He is a professor of literature and a writer. He studied literature at the University of Puerto Rico, at New York University, and at Harvard, where he received his doctorate in 2010. He was an assistant professor of Hispanic Studies at Wellesley College and Spanish and Comparative Literature at the University of Puerto Rico in Río Piedras. He was a columnist for the Buscapié section of El Nuevo Día and published the short novel Barra china (2010) and two books of stories and a chronicles book. His most recent publication is Burundanga Express (Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, Puerto Rico, 2019). He received the Premio Nuevas Voces from the Festival de la Palabra in 2016. For reasons beyond his control, he has devoted himself to the practice of law. Regarding his literary vocation, Manolo shares that “it may have a lot to do with the cultivation of oral memory, and with the experience of violence and the displacement of individuals. Those of us who grew up in Puerto Rico in the 1990s were citizens of fear. I believe that this imprint – so associated with drug trafficking and social inequality – has left a profound mark on my imagination.” About being named a Letras Boricuas Fellow, Núnez Negrón says that “the great Flamboyan-Mellon fellowship recognizes the complexity of the task of those who write, and gives me, above all, the possibility of enjoying the time necessary to create. Time —not money— is the real reward.”
Urayoán Noel nació el 12 de abril de 1976 en San Juan, Puerto Rico, se crio en Río Piedras y vive en El Bronx, Nueva York. Es profesor, hacedor cultural, poeta, crítico, traductor, performer, artista y escritor. Ha publicado ocho libros de poesía, entre ellos Boringkén (Ediciones Callejón/La Tertulia, 2008), galardonado como Libro del Año por El Nuevo Día, y Transversal (Editorial de la Universidad de Arizona, 2021), reconocido como Libro del Año por la Biblioteca Pública de Nueva York, así como un estudio crítico sobre poesía Nuyorican, In Visible Movement (Editorial de la Universidad de Iowa, 2014), honrado con el Premio de Estudios Latinos de LASA.
Urayoán Noel was born on April 12, 1976 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, was raised in Río Piedras and lives in The Bronx, New York. He is a professor, cultural organizer, poet, critic, translator, performer, artist, and writer. He has published eight poetry books, including Boringkén (Ediciones Callejón/La Tertulia, 2008), which was named as Book of the Year by El Nuevo Día, and Transversal (University of Arizona Press, 2021), which was recognized as Book of the Year by the New York Public Library, in addition to a critical study of poetry Nuyorican, In Visible Movement (University of Iowa Press, 2014), which was awarded the Latino Studies Award from LASA.
Mara Pastor nació en Hato Rey, Puerto Rico, el 26 de marzo de 1980. Radicada en Santurce, es poeta, editora y profesora. Entre sus publicaciones están los libros Poemas para fomentar el turismo (Neutrinos, 2015; Ediciones del Flamboyán, 2022), Arcadian Boutique (UNAM, 2014), Falsa heladería (Aguadulce Ediciones, 2018), Deuda Natal (AZ Press, 2021), traducido por María José Giménez y Anna Rosenwong (Premio Ambroggio 2020 de la Academy of American Poets), y recientemente Las horas extra (La impresora, 2022). Sus poemas han sido publicados en las revistas Latin American Literature, World Literature Today, Círculo de poesía, Periódico de poesía y Gatopardo, entre otras. Obtuvo su bachillerato en Estudios Hispánicos en la Universidad de Puerto Rico, su maestría en la Universidad de Notre Dame y el doctorado en la Universidad de Michigan, Ann Arbor. Además, fue investigadora postdoctoral de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Actualmente, es líder académica del Programa de Bachillerato y Maestría en Escritura Creativa de la Escuela de Arte, Diseño e Industrias Creativas de la Universidad del Sagrado Corazón.
Mara Pastor was born in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico, on March 26, 1980. A resident of Santurce, she is a poet, editor, and professor. Her published work includes: Poemas para fomentar el turismo (Neutrinos, 2015; Ediciones del Flamboyán, 2022), Arcadian Boutique (UNAM, 2014), Falsa heladería (Aguadulce Ediciones, 2018), Deuda Natal (AZ Press, 2021), translated by María José Giménez and Anna Rosenwong (Ambroggio Award 2020 from the Academy of American Poets), and more recently Las horas extra (La impresora, 2022). Her poems have been published in the magazines Latin American Literature, World Literature Today, Círculo de poesía, Periódico de poesía and Gatopardo, among others. She obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Hispanic Studies from the University of Puerto Rico, a Master’s degree at the University of Notre Dame, and a Doctorate from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She also served as a post-doctoral researcher at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. She is currently an academic leader for the Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs in Creative Writing for the School of Art, Design, and Creative Industries at Sagrado Corazón University.
Ashley Pérez García
Ashley Pérez García nació en Bayamón, Puerto Rico, el 3 de noviembre de 1993 y se crio en Toa Baja. Es escritora, realizadora de cortometrajes y maestra. Obtuvo su maestría en Literatura en inglés de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto de Río Piedras. Su poemario La divisa fue publicado por La Impresora en el 2021. Su cortometraje Hexegete 1: Prólogo, escrito por Yamil Maldonado Pérez, fue selección oficial del Philadelphia Latino Film Festival y Third Horizon Film Festival 2022. Su trabajo ha sido publicado en el Periódico Claridad, 80grados, y Bright Wall/Dark Room.
Ashley Pérez García was born in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, on November 3, 1993 and was raised in Toa Baja. She is a writer, short film creator, and teacher. She obtained a Master’s degree in English Literature at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras campus. Her poetry book La divisa was published by La Impresora in 2021. Her short film, Hexegete 1: Prólogo, written by Yamil Maldonado Pérez, was an official selection at the Philadelphia Latino Film Festival and at the Third Horizon Film Festival 2022. Her work has been published by Periódico Claridad, 80grados, and Bright Wall/Dark Room.
Margarita Pintado nació el 16 de enero de 1981 en Bayamón, Puerto Rico. Se crio entre los barrios Cerro Gordo y Braulio Dueño de este municipio. Actualmente vive en San Diego, California. Es profesora de lengua y literatura, poeta y ensayista. Estudió periodismo en la Universidad de Puerto Rico y obtuvo su doctorado en español en la universidad de Emory, en Atlanta. Es profesora de lengua y literatura en Point Loma Nazarene University, en San Diego, California. Ha publicado los libros Ficción de venado (2012), Una muchacha que se parece a mí (2016), por el cual recibió el Premio de Poesía del concurso del Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña en el 2015, Proyecto inacabado de la ruina, (2017) y Simultánea, la marea (2022). Escribió junto al poeta cubano Lorenzo García Vega la novela experimental Ping-Pong Zuihitsu (de próxima publicación con Rialta). Editó la antología bilingüe (español- portugués) de los poemas de García Vega Palabras que repito (Ed. Lumme, 2017). Sus poemas han sido publicados en múltiples antologías y revistas. Es reseñista del blog El Rommate y codirectora del espacio de poesía Distrópika.
Margarita Pintado was born on January 16, 1981 in Bayamón, Puerto Rico. She was raised in this municipality’s barrios of Cerro Gordo and Braulio Dueño. She currently lives in San Diego, California. She is a professor of languages and literature, poet and essayist. She studied journalism at the University of Puerto Rico and completed her Doctorate in Spanish at Emory University in Atlanta. She is a professor of language and literature at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California.
Her published books include Ficción de venado (2012), Una muchacha que se parece a mí (2016), for which she received the Poetry Award in a contest held by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture in 2015, Proyecto inacabado de la ruina, (2017) and Simultánea, la marea (2022). She wrote, together with Cuban poet Lorenzo García Vega, the experimental novel Ping-Pong Zuihitsu (pending publication with Rialta). She edited the bilingual (Spanish-Portuguese) anthology of García Vega poems, Palabras que repito (Ed. Lumme, 2017). Her poems have been published in multiple anthologies and magazines. She is a reviewer for the blog El Roommate and co-director of a poetry space called Distrópika.
Juanluís Ramos was born in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, on March 25, 1985. He is the author of the short story books Reyerta TV (Libros AC, Puerto Rico, 2009), for which he won the 2009 National Short Story Prize awarded by the Pen Club of Puerto Rico; and Shadowplay (ICP, Puerto Rico, 2017). In 2017, he received the Premio Nuevas Voces from the Festival de la Palabra. He has published academic and literary works and reviews in local and international magazines. Juanluís is inspired to write by “everyday life; the imaginaries we create; the individual as well as the collective; those experiences that no matter how much we explain them, no one ever believes us.” Receiving this fellowship means for him “support to be able to finish several projects that he has had to interrupt due to the savagery of recent years.”
Jonatan María Reyes
Jonatan María Reyes was born on July 31, 1984, in Santurce, Puerto Rico, and currently lives on Long Island, New York. This poet and screenwriter published the books Data de otro ardor (Verbum, Spain, 2018), Databending (Barnacle, Argentina, 2019) and Lo común también cruje (La Impresora, Puerto Rico, 2020/Herring Publishers, México, 2020). He obtained the XI International Poetry Prize “Gastón Baquero” and was a finalist for several poetry awards. Some of his works have been translated into Italian, Greek, English, French, and Portuguese. He edits the poetry magazine Low-fi ardentía. Regarding his inspiration when writing, Jonatan told us, “I am inspired by my upbringing neighborhood and its streets of the unexpected hustle and bustle; in those who were once my neighbors; in my brief family and their struggle and their way of resisting; in those slippery places that the system tries to reduce; in discarded things that shine in private; in everyday life; in the empty spaces; in insignificant things that vibrate; in the background.” About being named a Letras Boricuas Fellow, Jonatan said, “receiving this fellowship means strength when I feel weakness. It also means hope, relief, freedom, a place to create with even more intensity, as it validates the work that I have been doing for some time. It is a way of reinforcing my art, world, core, struggle, and reality.”
Hugo Ríos Cordero
Hugo Ríos Cordero nació en Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, el 5 de octubre de 1972 y se crio en la costa oeste del país, entre Aguadilla y Aguada. Es escritor, profesor y vocalista de la banda punk Siebenkäs. Regresó a Puerto Rico tras vivir 14 años en Estados Unidos. Estudió su bachillerato y maestría en el Recinto Universitario de Mayagüez de la Universidad de Puerto Rico y obtuvo su doctorado en literatura y cine de la Universidad de Rutgers en Nueva Jersey. Ha publicado tres libros: Marcos sin retratos, por el que obtuvo el premio Puerto Rico Pen Club en 2003, Al otro lado de tus párpados (2006) y A lo lejos el cielo (2010). El relato Plan de dientes en la antología Al Final de la Fila (Editorial APPU, 2021) y Coloso, publicada en The Common junto a un escrito sobre el huracán María, At Night the Wind -ambas del 2018- son algunas de sus más recientes publicaciones.
Hugo Ríos Cordero was born in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, on October 5, 1972 and was raised in the west coast of the island, alternating between Aguadilla and Aguada. He is a writer, professor, and singer for the punk band Siebenkäs. He returned to Puerto Rico after having lived in the United States for 14 years. He completed his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez campus, and obtained his Doctorate in Literature and Cinema at the Rutgers University in New Jersey. He has published three books: Marcos sin retratos, for which he won the Puerto Rico PEN Club award in 2003, Al otro lado de tus párpados (2006), and A lo lejos el cielo (2010). His most recent publications include the story Plan de dientes, which was published in the Al Final de la Fila anthology (Editorial APPU, 2021), and Coloso, which was published in The Common along with his writing about Hurricane María, At Night the Wind, both in 2018.
Ivelisse Rodríguez nació el 31 de diciembre de 1975 en Arecibo, Puerto Rico. Se crio en Holyoke, Massachusetts y vive en Whitsett, Carolina del Norte. Es escritora y editora. Su colección de cuentos cortos Love War Stories fue finalista en 2019 de PEN/Faulkner y en 2018 de Foreword Reviews INDIES. Ha publicado ficción en el Boston Review, Obsidian, Kweli, el Bilingual Review, Aster(ix) y otras pubicaciones. Es editora contribuyente de arte para Boston Review. Fue editora senior de ficción en Kweli y es becada de Kimbilio, además de graduada de Las Dos Brujas y VONA/Voices. Obtuvo una maestría en escritura creative de Emerson College y un doctorado en literatura creativa en inglés de la Universidad de Illinois en Chicago.
Ivelisse Rodríguez was born on December 31, 1975 in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. She was raised in Holyoke, Massachusetts and lives in Whitsett, North Carolina. She is a writer and editor. Her short story collection, Love War Stories, was a finalist in 2019 for the PEN/Faulkner award and in 2018 for Foreword Reviews INDIES. She has published fiction in the Boston Review, Obsidian, Kweli, the Bilingual Review, Aster(ix), and other publications. She is a contributing arts editor for the Boston Review. She was a senior fiction editor at Kweli and is a Kimbilio scholar, in addition to being a graduate of Las Dos Brujas and VONA/Voices. She completed a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from Emerson College and a Doctorate in English Literature from the University of Illinois in Chicago.
Yara Liceaga Rojas
Yara Liceaga Rojas is a poet/writer, artist, educator, cultural worker, and consultant in the art sector. She was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, raised in Dorado, Puerto Rico, and now lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts on the traditional lands of the Massachusetts and Pawtucket people. She is the author of Hacernos el adiós (Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, Puerto Rico, 2019) and the forthcoming bilingual version, translated by Puerto Rican poet Sabrina Ramos Rubén. She is the recipient of the 2021-2022 Boston Neighborhood Fellow from The Boston Foundation, the 2021 The ARTery (25 Artists of Color Transforming the Cultural Landscape) from WBUR, the 2021 Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice Grant [with Mar Parrilla & Luana Morales] from theNew England Foundation for the Arts, the 2020 Cambridge Arts Grant from Cambridge Arts Council, the 2020 Latinx Amplifier from Amplify Latinx, the 2019 Brother Thomas Fellow from The Boston Foundation, the 2019 Run of the Mills Artist Residency from the Boston Center for the Arts, and the 2019 Live Arts Boston Grant from The Boston Foundation. She is inspired to write by “the many wonders hidden in everyday life, the magic of the tiny details that together show a hidden reality” and “poetry’s ability to expose what’s hidden in reality, those truths that are not self-evident.” About being named a Letras Boricuas Fellow, Rojas says, “To receive this fellowship means to me an unexpected, astonishing recognition that will allow me to focus on my next poetry book and the art projects I will create in 2022.”
Bonafide Rojas nació en la ciudad de Nueva York el 8 de octubre de 1977 y se crio en El Bronx, donde todavía reside, aunque pasó parte de su infancia en Levittown, Puerto Rico. Es poeta, músico, artista, performero y maestro. Es autor de cuatro colecciones de poesía: Notes On The Return To The Island (2017), Renovatio (2014), When The City Sleeps (2012) & Pelo Bueno (2004). Fue galardonado con el premio BRIO 2018 de poesía otorgado por el Concejo de las Artes de El Bronx. También participó en Def Poetry Jam, de HBO. Su trabajo ha sido publicado en Kweli Journal: Poets For Puerto Rico (2019), Anamoly Press #25 (2017), Manteca (Arte Publico Press, 2017), Chorus: A Literary Mixtape (MTV Books, 2012), Learn Then Burn Pt’s 1 & 2 (Write Bloody, 2010, 2015), The Acentos Review (2008), The Hostos Review (2005), The Calabash Journal (2003), Role Call (Third World Press, 2002), Bum Rush The Page (Three Rivers Press, 2001) y The Centro Journal (2000).
Bonafide Rojas was born in the city of New York on October 8, 1977. He was raised in The Bronx, where he still lives, although he spent part of his childhood in Levittown, Puerto Rico. He is a poet, musician, artist, performer, and teacher. He is the author of four poetry collections: Notes On The Return To The Island (2017), Renovatio (2014), When The City Sleeps (2012) and Pelo Bueno (2004). He received the 2018 BRIO award for poetry from The Bronx Council on the Arts. He also participated in HBO’s Def Poetry Jam. His work has been published in the Kweli Journal: Poets For Puerto Rico (2019), Anamoly Press #25 (2017), Manteca (Arte Publico Press, 2017), Chorus: A Literary Mixtape (MTV Books, 2012), Learn Then Burn Pt’s 1 & 2 (Write Bloody, 2010, 2015), The Acentos Review (2008), The Hostos Review (2005), The Calabash Journal (2003), Role Call (Third World Press, 2002), Bum Rush The Page (Three Rivers Press, 2001) and The Centro Journal (2000).
Mercy Romero is a writer and professor. She was born in Connecticut, raised in New Jersey, and lives in the Bay Area in California. She received a Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and teaches American Literature and American Studies at Sonoma State University. She is the author of Toward Camden (Duke University Press, 2021) and has published works in publications including Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly (2019) and Capacious: Journal for Emerging Affect Inquiry (2017). Her awards and honors include being named the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture Scholar in Residence and the National Endowment for the Humanities-Ford Foundation Fellow 2021-2022 and receiving the Duke University Press Scholars of Color First Book Award of 2021. She is inspired to write by her “curiosity and love of archival research, people, and language.” About being named a Letras Boricuas Fellow, Romero says, “This fellowship feels like a reminder ‘to keep going.’” She is honored to receive this fellowship in this spirit and in the loving memory of her grandparents, Margarita and Antonio Lopez and Maria Mercedes and Alfredo Romero.
María Teresa Fernández Rosario
María Teresa Fernández Rosario, also known as Mariposa, is an award-winning poet, writer, educator, and activist. She was born in the Bronx, New York, where she still lives. She has performed at numerous colleges and universities throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and abroad, and has been featured on BET, HBO Latino, and PBS. Her poems have been published in numerous magazines and journals, including And Then Magazine, La Repuesta Magazine, and Tribes, as well as in the anthologies, African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle and Song (Library of America, 2020); Conceptualizing Afro Latinidad in AfroLatina/o Literature and Performance; Label me Latina/o Special Issue: Black and Latina; Latinas: Protest & Struggle in 21st Century USA; and Manteca: Anthology of AfroLatin@ Poets. She is the recipient of the 2021 City Artist Corps Award, awarded by the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, and the New York Foundation of the Arts and the 2020-2021 CUNY Adjunct Incubator grant, awarded by The Center for Humanities. She is inspired to write “to create art that documents my personal experience and what we have survived” and “to name what there is to be named, from celebrating our strengths and victories to denouncing the injustices and ongoing violations of our human rights as Puerto Ricans, on the Island and the diaspora.” About being named a Letras Boricuas Fellow, Fernández says, “It is a great honor and deeply humbling to be recognized by my own people.”
Xavier Valcárcel was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on February 13, 1985. He grew up in Loíza, where he lived for 31 years. He is a writer, visual artist, and cultural manager. He studied Fine Arts and Architecture Education at the University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras, where he also completed a master’s degree in Cultural Management and Administration. In 2009, together with Nicole Delgado, he created the guerrilla publishing house Atarraya Cartonera. He has published seven books of poetry, including Cama onda (2007), Palo de lluvia (2010), Restos de lumbre y despedida (2012), El deber del pan (2013), and Fe de calendario (2016). His most recent publication is Aterrizar no es regreso, a personal chronicle (Ediciones Alayubia, San Juan, 2019). He has participated as a guest writer in various conferences, fairs, artistic residencies, readings, and exhibitions in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Mexico, the United States, and Germany. Some of his texts have been translated into English, German, and Portuguese. When talking about his work, Xavier shares that “I have grown up amid the violence and beauty of an archipelago that does not rest or end. From there, my writing is, represents, embodies, reflects multiple identities, the ‘queer’ the Puerto Rican experience, the trapped against the sea, the broken, the dreams of the possible and the impossible, from a voice that is not only one voice but multiple voices at the same time.” About the Letras Boricuas fellowship, Xavier reflects the following: “In a country where literature survives, is known and shines thanks to the tireless effort of the writers’ self-management (not thanks to the state or the institutions), a fellowship like this is a message in support of the work done. In that sense, after years of work, I feel that this fellowship is a recognition that comes as direct financial support to give continuity to my career and my creative production.”
Carlos Vázquez Cruz
Carlos Vázquez Cruz nació en Caguas, Puerto Rico, el 28 de septiembre de 1971, y se crio en San Lorenzo. Actualmente reside en Kalamazoo, Michigan. Es escritor, profesor y músico. Tiene un doctorado en Lenguas Romances de la Universidad de Carolina del Norte en Chapel Hill. Cursó su bachillerato en Educación Secundaria en Español en la Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto de Río Piedras, y su maestría en Bellas Artes con concentración en Escritura Creativa de New York University. Entre sus reconocimientos están el Premio Nuevas Voces otorgado por el Festival de la Palabra de Puerto Rico (2014), la Beca del Banco Santander para la Escritura Creativa en Español (NYU, 2008-2010) y la premiación conferida por el Pen Club de Puerto Rico a tres de sus trabajos narrativos entre los mejores libros publicados en 2006, 2008 y 2012.
Carlos Vázquez Cruz was born in Caguas, Puerto Rico, on September 28, 1971, and was raised in San Lorenzo. He currently lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He is a writer, professor, and musician. He has a Doctorate in Romance Languages from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He completed a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish Secondary Education at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras campus, and his Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at New York University. Accolades he has received include the New Voices Award given by the Puerto Rico Festival of the Word (2014), the Banco Santander Scholarship for Creative Writing in Spanish (NYU, 2008-2010) and PEN Club of Puerto Rico awards for three of his pieces, which were named among the best published books in 2006, 2008, and 2012.
Gisselle Yepes nació el 16 de septiembre de 1998 en Queens, Nueva York, y se crio en El Bronx. Actualmente reside en Bloomington, Indiana, mientras termina su maestría en Poesía de la Universidad de Indiana. Es poetx, escritorx, fotografx, profesorx, cinematógrafx, editorx y estudiante. Sus publicaciones recientes son: On Her Waters Summoning Us to Drown (december magazine’s Premio Curt Johnson de no ficción creativa, otoño 2022), ¿En cuál lengua amas? (Gulf Coast, invierno/primavera 2022), Nuestros Cuerpos, Nuestras Islas, Nuestras Aguas Recordando (poets.org 2021 Vera Meyer Strube Premio de Poesia, 2021).
Gisselle Yepes was born September 16, 1998 in Queens, New York and was raised in The Bronx. They currently live in Bloomington, Indiana, while they pursue their Master’s degree in Poetry at the University of Indiana. Gisselle is a poet, writer, photographer, professor, cinematographer, editor, and student. Their most recent achievements and publications include: “Con sus Aguas”, “On her Waters Summoning us to Drown”, the december magazine’s Curt Johnson award for creative non-fiction, Fall 2022, “en cual lengua amas?” Gulf Coast, winter/spring 2022, “Nuestros Cuerpos, Nuestras Islas, Nuestras Aguas Recordando” poets.org 2021, and the Vera Meyer Strube Poetry Award, 2021.
Haydée Zayas-Ramos nació en Caguas, Puerto Rico, el 3 de septiembre de 1962. Es escritora, promotora de lectura, educadora y gestora del proyecto Vivo del Cuento. Tiene un bachillerato en Psicología de la Universidad Interamericana y una maestría en Administración Pública de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto de Río Piedras. Actualmente trabaja su tesis sobre literatura infantil para el doctorado en Literatura de Puerto Rico y el Caribe en el Centro de Estudios Avanzados. Recibió medalla de plata en los International Latino Book Awards 2022 por La jirafa que no cabía en su cuento (Editorial Destellos). Entre sus publicaciones más recientes está Burbujas de chicle y Los Tres Reyes y sus calzoncillos de colores, obra pautada para salir en Navidad de 2022.
Haydée Zayas-Ramos was born in Caguas, Puerto Rico, on September 3, 1962. She is a writer, reading advocate, educator, and creator of the project Vivo del Cuento. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the Interamerican University and a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras campus. She is currently working on a thesis about children’s literature, in order to obtain a Doctorate in the Literature of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean in the Center for Advanced Studies. She received a silver medal in the International Latino Book Awards 2022 for La jirafa que no cabía en su cuento (Editorial Destellos). Her most recent publications include Burbujas de chicle and Los Tres Reyes y sus calzoncillos de colores, which is scheduled to be published Christmas 2022.
Carina del Valle Schorske
Carina del Valle Schorske is a writer and translator living between New York City and Puerto Rico. Her essays and criticism have been published in many venues including Bookforum, The Believer, The Common, Virginia Quarterly Review, and the New York Times Magazine, where she is a contributing writer. Her cover story on Bad Bunny was featured on CBS, and her essay on the social history of her grandmother’s apartment building in Washington Heights was a finalist for a National Magazine Award. Alongside Ricardo Maldonado, Erica Mena, and Raquel Salas Rivera, she co-edited Puerto Rico en mi corazón, a bilingual anthology of contemporary poetry from both the archipelago and diaspora (Anomalous Press, 2019). She won Gulf Coast’s 2016 Prize for her translations of the Puerto Rican poet Marigloria Palma–an ongoing project. Her debut essay collection, The Other Island, was honored with a Whiting Nonfiction Grant in 2020 and is forthcoming from Riverhead Books.
Jaquira Díaz nació en Humacao, Puerto Rico, y se crio entre este municipio, Fajardo y Miami Beach, Florida. Actualmente vive en Colorado. Es escritora, periodista, profesora y productora. Es autora de Muchachas ordinarias, ganadora de un premio Whiting, una medalla de oro de los Florida Book Awards, finalista de los Premios Lambda Literary, una selección de Indies Introduce de la Asociación Estadounidense de Libreros, una selección de Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers, una selección del Indie Next List, una elección de Library Reads y finalista del premio B&N Discover. Ha escrito para The Atlantic, The Guardian, Time Magazine y T: The New York Times Style Magazine, entre otras publicaciones. Díaz es coproductora ejecutiva de Ordinary Girls actualmente en desarrollo para televisión con FX.
Jaquira Díaz was born in Humacao, Puerto Rico, and growing up, alternated between that municipality, Fajardo and Miami Beach, Florida. She currently lives in Colorado. She is a writer, journalist, professor, and producer. She is the author of Muchachas ordinarias, which won the Whiting award, a gold medal from the Florida Book Awards, was selected as a finalist for the Literary Lambda Awards and the B&N Discover prize, and selected as an Indies Introduce author by the American Booksellers Association, by Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers, by the Indie Next List and by Library Reads.
She has written for The Atlantic, The Guardian, Time Magazine, and T: The New York Times Style Magazine, among other publications. Díaz is an executive co-producer for Ordinary Girls, which is currently being developed for television with FX.
Aracelis Girmay was born and raised in Santa Ana, California. She received a BA from Connecticut College in 1999 and went on to earn an MFA in poetry from New York University. She is the author of the black maria (BOA Editions, 2016), Kingdom Animalia (BOA Editions, 2011), winner of the Isabella Poetry Award and a finalist for the National Books Critics Circle Award, and Teeth (Curbstone Press, 2007). In a statement for the New American Poets series, she says of her work, “I hope the poems are songs sometimes. I want the poems to ask questions. To engage other people. To promote compassion.” Girmay was awarded a Whiting Award in 2015, and the judges’ citation notes that “her project seems to be our deep and ongoing subjectivity, our vulnerability to history, to one another, to desire, and to the belief in something large and lasting that we might belong to. There’s empathy, play, and fearlessness here, and both formal and emotional range.” Girmay is also the author of a collage-based picture book, changing, changing (George Braziller, 2005). She has received fellowships from Cave Canem, Civitella Ranieri, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She teaches and lives in New York City.
Carmen Dolores Hernández
Carmen Dolores Hernández nació el 14 de diciembre de 1942 en San Juan, Puerto Rico. Es investigadora, periodista cultural, crítica literaria y escritora. Posee una maestría en literatura de New York University y un doctorado en Filosofía y Letras con especialidad en Literatura Española de la Universidad de Puerto Rico. Durante cuarenta años (1981-2021) escribió una columna semanal sobre libros en el periódico El Nuevo Día, además de colaborar frecuentemente con artículos sobre temas culturales y entrevistas a escritores. También ha colaborado asiduamente en revistas puertorriqueñas y del extranjero. Ha publicado los siguientes libros: Manuel Altolaguirre, vida y literatura (Editorial de la UPR, 1974); De aquí y de allá. Libros de Puerto Rico y del extranjero (Biblioteca de Autores Puertorriqueños, 1986); Puerto Rican Voices in English. Interviews with Writers (Praeger Publishers, 1997); Ricardo Alegría: una vida (San Juan: Plaza Mayor, 2002); A viva voz. Entrevistas a escritores puertorriqueños (San Juan: Grupo Editorial Norma, 2008); En busca de Isolina. La vida de sor Isolina Ferré. (San Juan: Plaza Mayor, 2014). Ha editado dos libros: Literatura puertorriqueña: visiones alternas (San Juan: Ediciones Puerto y Centro de Estudios Avanzados de Puerto Rico y el Caribe, 2005) y Convocados. Nueva narrativa puertorriqueña (San Juan: Comunicadora Koiné, 2009). Su ensayo “Puerto Rican Literature in the United States” apareció en Literary Cultures of Latin America. A Comparative History Ed. por Mario J. Valdés y Djelal Kadir, (Oxford University Press, 2004). Es miembro de número de la Academia Puertorriqueña de la Lengua Española. Recibió en 2013 un doctorado Honoris Causa de la Universidad del Sagrado Corazón. En 2018 la Fundación Puertorriqueña de las Humanidades la nombró Humanista del Año.
Carmen Dolores Hernández was born December 14, 1942 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She is a researcher, cultural journalist, literary critic, and writer. She has a Master’s degree in Literature from New York University and a Ph.D. in Spanish Literature from the University of Puerto Rico. For forty years (1981-2021), she wrote a weekly column about books for the newspaper El Nuevo Día, in addition to collaborating frequently on articles regarding cultural issues and interviewing writers. She has also assiduously collaborated on magazines both in Puerto Rico and abroad. She has published the following books: Manuel Altolaguirre, vida y literatura (Editorial de la UPR, 1974); De aquí y de allá. Libros de Puerto Rico y del extranjero (Biblioteca de Autores Puertorriqueños, 1986); Puerto Rican Voices in English. Interviews with Writers (Praeger Publishers, 1997); Ricardo Alegría: una vida (San Juan: Plaza Mayor, 2002); A viva voz. Entrevistas a escritores puertorriqueños (San Juan: Grupo Editorial Norma, 2008); En busca de Isolina. La vida de sor Isolina Ferré. (San Juan: Plaza Mayor, 2014).
She has edited two books: Literatura puertorriqueña: visiones alternas (San Juan: Ediciones Puerto y Centro de Estudios Avanzados de Puerto Rico y el Caribe, 2005) and Convocados. Nueva narrativa puertorriqueña (San Juan: Comunicadora Koiné, 2009). Her essay “Puerto Rican Literature in the United States” appeared on Literary Cultures of Latin America. A Comparative History Ed. By Mario J. Valdés y Djelal Kadir, (Oxford University Press, 2004). She is a member of the Puerto Rican Academy for the Spanish Language and, in 2013, received a doctorate Honoris Causa from Sagrado Corazón University. In 2018, the Puerto Rican Foundation for the Humanities named her Humanist of the Year.
Eduardo Lalo is a Puerto Rican writer and artist. He has published the novels La inutilidad, Simone, and Historia de Yuke, and the collections of essays Los pies de San Juan, Los países invisibles, and Intemperie, among other titles. His visual work has been part of fifteen individual exhibitions. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Texas at Austin and at Oxford University in England. He received the prestigious Rómulo Gallegos Prize in 2013 for his novel Simone.
Gegman Lee nació en Río Piedras, Puerto Rico, el 13 de junio de 1990, de padre dominicado y madre puertorriqueña. Creció entre Carolina y Río Piedras. Es gestor cultural, librero y barbero, además de ser uno de los editores más jóvenes y destacados en la isla, tal cual ha sido su carrera poética. Dirige la editorial Alayubia (en la que se encuentran publicados algunes becades) y ha publicado tres poemarios: Nostos (Ed. Callejón, 2015), Elegía a los vencidos (Ed. Callejón, 2018) y Ya no hay extrañeza (Ed. Alayubia, 2021).
Gegman Lee was born in Río Piedras, Puerto Rico, on June 13, 1990, and is the son of a Dominican father and Puerto Rican mother. He grew up in Carolina and Río Piedras. He is a cultural organizer, bookseller, barber, and one of the youngest and most notable editors in the island. His career as a poet has been just as renowned. He manages the publishing house Alayubia (which has published some of the fellowship recipients) and has published three poetry books: Nostos (Ed. Callejón, 2015), Elegía a los vencidos (Ed. Callejón, 2018) and Ya no hay extrañeza (Ed. Alayubia, 2021).
Willie Perdomo is the author of Smoking Lovely: The Remix, The Crazy Bunch, The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon, and Where a Nickel Costs of Dime. Winner of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Cy Twombly Award for Poetry and the PEN Open Book Award, Perdomo was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Poetry Society of America Norma Farber First Book Award. He is co-editor of the anthology, Latínext, and his work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Poetry, The Washington Post, The Best American Poetry 2019, and African Voices. He teaches at Phillips Exeter Academy and was recently appointed New York State Poet Laureate.
Ernesto Quiñonez nació en Ecuador el 14 de agosto de 1969 y se crio en El Barrio, Nueva York. Actualmente vive en Washington Heights, Nueva York, y es escritor, profesor, guionista y ensayista. Su primera novela, Bodega Dreams (Random House) fue catalogada por The New York Times como un “nuevo clásico inmigrante”, que desde entonces se ha convertido en un hito en la literatura contemporánea y es lectura obligatoria en muchas escuelas secundarias y universidades de todo Estados Unidos. Sus ensayos han aparecido en The New York Times, Esquire, Newsweek, Washington Post, El País, Latina Magazine y en otros lugares. Es producto de la educación pública desde kindergarten hasta el City College de Nueva York. Es miembro del Laboratorio de Escritores de Sundance y apareció por última vez en el episodio “Blackout” de PBS American Experience. Su última novela se titula Taina. Actualmente enseña en la Universidad de Cornell.
Ernesto Quiñonez was born in Ecuador on August 14, 1969 and was raised in El Barrio, New York. He currently lives in Washington Heights, New York, and is a writer, professor, screenwriter, and essayist. His first novel, Bodega Dreams (Random House) was named a “new immigrant classic” by the New York Times. It has, since then, become a landmark piece, and is required reading in many secondary schools and universities across the United States. His essays have appeared in The New York Times, Esquire, Newsweek, the Washington Post, El País, Latina Magazine, and other places. He is the product of public education, having attended public school from kindergarten all the way up to his studies at The City College of New York. He is a member of the Sundance Writers’ Lab and appeared in the PBS American Experience “Blackout” episode. His most recent novel is titled Taína. He currently teaches at the University of Cornell.
Félix Joaquín Rivera
Félix Joaquín Rivera is a writer and university professor. He has published La muñeca de chocolate (nonfiction novel, 1995), and La Cripta (short novel, 2021). He has a BA from the University of Wisconsin, Madison; an MA. from Teachers College, Columbia University, New York; and a Ph.D. in Puerto Rican Literature from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. His research and teaching interests are Poetry; Posthumanism; Post dramatic theater; Queer-Postcolonialist-Afrocaribbean theories; and Subjectivity; among others… He has worked as an editor and a journalist. Some writers for whom he has edited are: Luis Felipe Díaz, Hjalmar Flax, Pedro Juan Soto, Myrna Casas, and Mayra Santos.
Ruth Jeannette Sáez Vega
Ruth Jeannette Sáez Vega nació un 4 de mayo y se crio entre Barranquitas y Arecibo, Puerto Rico. Posee un doctorado en Lengua, Lectura y Cultura de la Universidad de Arizona, con subespecialidades en literatura infantil y alfabetización inicial. Ha sido maestra en los niveles preescolar y primario. Como maestra de kindergarten en la Escuela Elemental Laboratorio de la Universidad de Puerto Rico se destacó en la transformación del currículum y las prácticas educativas. Ha laborado en proyectos de transformación docente en Puerto Rico, República Dominicana y Estados Unidos. Es consultora, conferenciante y tallerista en diversos países del Caribe, Norte, Centro y Sur América. En 2006 fundó el Centro para el estudio de la lectura, la escritura y la literatura infantil (CELELI) en la Universidad de Puerto Rico, desde el cual se gestan diversas iniciativas de promoción, investigación y divulgación de la lectura y la literatura infantil. Sáez Vega es Catedrática e investigadora del Programa de Maestría en Lectura, Escritura y Literatura Infantil del Departamento de Estudios Graduados en la Facultad de Educación de la Universidad de Puerto Rico.
Ruth Jeannette Sáez Vega was born on May 4 and raised in Barranquitas and Arecibo, Puerto Rico. She has a Doctorate in Language, Reading and Culture from the University of Arizona, with emphases in children’s literature and early literacy. She has taught pre-school and grade school. As a kindergarten teacher at the University of Puerto Rico’s Laboratory Elementary School, she was recognized for transforming the curriculum and educational practices. She has worked in projects involving instruction transformation in Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and the United States. She has served as consultant, speaker, and workshop leader in multiple Caribbean countries, as well as in North, Central, and South America. In 2006, she founded the Center for the study of reading, writing, and children’s literature (CELELI, for its initials in Spanish) at the University of Puerto Rico, which has created multiple initiatives involving advocacy, research, and the dissemination of children’s literature and reading. Sáez Vega is a lecturer and researcher for the Master’s Program in Reading, Writing, and Children’s Literature at the Graduate Studies Department in the University of Puerto Rico’s School of Education.
Mayra Santos-Febres was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico, in 1966. She studied literature at the University of Puerto Rico and has a Ph.D. from Cornell University. She has been a visiting scholar at Rutgers (1992), Cornell (1994), and Harvard University (2004), as well as the Complutense University in Spain (2013), and Leipzig University in Holland (2005), among others. She co-created the Creative Writing Program for the University of Puerto Rico and founded and directed The Word Festival/Festival de la Palabra, the most internationally recognized Literary Festival in Puerto Rico (2010-2019). Santos-Febres is currently the Principal Investigator for the development of the University of Puerto Rico’s Afro Diasporic and Race Studies Program, which recently received a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for academic diversification. As a writer, Mayra Santos-Febres has won many international prizes and recognitions, such as the Letras de Oro Award (Spain, 1994), one of Radio France Juan Rulfo Awards (1998), and the Premio Primavera Award, Spain (2011) for her novel Nuestra Señora de la Noche. She has published the poetry collections Anamú y manigua (1990), El orden escapado (1991), Boat People (1994), Tercer Mundo (2004), Lecciones de renuncia (2021), and Huracanada (2018). Her short story books include Pez de vidrio y otros cuentos, El cuerpo correcto, Un pasado posible y Mujeres violentas. She has also published the novels Sirena Selena vestida de pena (2001), Cualquier miércoles soy tuya (2002), Fe en disfraz (2009), Nuestra Señora de la noche (2006), and La amante de Gardel (2015).
Xavier Valcárcel de Jesús
Xavier Valcárcel de Jesús nació en San Juan, Puerto Rico, el 13 de febrero de 1985. Se crio en Loíza y actualmente vive en la ciudad capital. Es escritor, artista visual y gestor cultural. Estudió Educación en Bellas Artes y Arquitectura en la Universidad de Puerto Rico en Río Piedras, donde también completó una maestría en Gestión y Administración Cultural. En 2009, creó junto a Nicole Delgado la guerrilla editorial Atarraya Cartonera. Ha publicado siete poemarios, entre ellos, Palo de lluvia (2010); El deber del pan (2013); Fe de calendario (2016); y Helio (2022). En 2019 publicó Aterrizar no es regreso, una crónica personal. Ha participado como escritor invitado en diversos encuentros, ferias, residencias artísticas, lecturas y exhibiciones en Puerto Rico, República Dominicana, Colombia, México, Estados Unidos y Alemania. Algunos de sus textos han sido traducidos al inglés, alemán y portugués. En 2021 fue parte del grupo inaugural de becados de Letras Boricuas.
Xavier Valcárcel de Jesús was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on February 13, 1985. He was raised in Loíza and currently lives in the island’s capital. He is a writer, visual artist, and culture creator. He studied Fine Arts and Architecture Education at the University of Puerto Rico in Río Piedras, where he also completed a Master’s degree in Cultural Management and Administration. In 2009, in conjunction with Nicole Delgado, he created the guerrilla publishing house Atarraya Cartonera. He has published seven poetry books, among them: Palo de lluvia (2010); El deber del pan (2013); Fe de calendario (2016); and Helio (2022). In 2019, he published Aterrizar no es regreso, a personal story. He has been featured as a guest writer in multiple events, fairs, artistic residencies, lectures, and exhibits in Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Mexico, the United States, and Germany. Some of his pieces have been translated to English, German, and Portuguese. In 2021, he was selected as part of the first group of Letras Boricuas Fellows.