I have been keeping track of all speculative fiction published by Latin American/Latinx/Chicano writers published in 2018 in English. Caveats: I asked people to submit their own work and added works I knew were coming out, however this may not constitute the entirety of all works. I did not look at graphic novels or comics. However, I think this is useful information.
In 2017, Latinx authors published 38 short stories. In 2018, the numbers dipped to 27. Part of this is because 9 of the stories recorded in 2017 belonged to a single book, the anthology Latin@ Rising. We are publishing less, not more. This is one of the problems with single-issue efforts or projects. In theory, they would be a stepping stone and a chance for increased visibility for the creators. Sometimes that’s the case, but other times it is just a blip which then fades.
The majority of all stories were published in small/indie venues. 8 were published by professional or large magazines. These magazines were: Strange Horizons, Clarkesworld, The Dark, Apex and Podcastle.
I am an editor at The Dark, which publishes horror. As I noted last year, we seldom get any submissions from Latinx writers. That changed this year and we did publish 2 Latinx authors during the year (and a writer from the Caribbean, which I’m not including in this count as I do not know if they identify as Latin American). One of the stories published by The Dark this year is a translation from Spanish to English commissioned by the magazine. It’s also worth noting that The Dark produced a special Spanish language issue in the Fall. The Dark is going to continue translating a modest amount of stories from Spanish into English next year, which may help bring some Latin American and Hispanic writers to the attention of short fiction readers. However, this alone will not solve our issues in the field, especially considering that The Dark specializes in horror fiction and as you can see most Latinx writers cluster around the fantasy genre.
In 2017, Latinx writers published 17 novels. In 2018, that number remained the same (17). Writers seemed to be appearing in large presses (10) slightly more often than small/indie presses (7).
Most of these novelists are writing fantasy or magic realism. 4 wrote science fiction and only 1 wrote horror. This seems to be the usual trend.
Most writers are penning YA and Middle Grade books (12). This is not surprising. YA and Middle Grade seems to be the publishing sector which is more interested in diverse books. However, this is bound to cause issues in the future. For one, does that mean adult books do not get to have diverse themes nor authors? Second, this also means writers may all be coalescing around a single category (YA, fantasy) and it will eventually become much more competitive.
If Latinx authors can only be found writing fantasy YA and Middle Grade books, what does mean for our future?
Latinx constitute about 17% of the total US population but continue to be severely underrepresented in the field of speculative fiction. We still have a lot of room to catch up, especially in the adult novel field and in genres other than fantasy. We’re also not appearing in huge numbers in magazines.
I’ll be trying to track this data again in 2019, so enter your info.
Image above: Mexican singer/actor Jorge Negrete in full charro outfit.