María Dolores Gonzales said that her book, written in Spanish, English and Spanglish, was put on the shelves independent of publishing firms. The literary community in Albuquerque is very rich, Gonzales said, but the community often lacks diverse representation.
Gonzales – a retired UNM professor – attended Books on the Bosque’s Local Author Palooza on July 15. She taught within the Spanish and Portuguese department before authoring “Atop the Windmill I Could See Forever” – a bilingual memoir that details her childhood in the southwest.
“I’m trying to see – where is the Hispanic community? Where are the Hispanic writers? Where are the Latino writers? I think that is a big void in the literary world,” Gonzales said.
Books on the Bosque – a local bookstore – held a Local Authors Palooza where all purchases went directly to the authors. Up to 15 booths of authors selling their work were set up for customers to browse.
Renowned author Tony Hillerman left behind an extensive legacy in New Mexico as a white writer, however there is very little representation of Hispanic writers despite New Mexico having a large Hispanic population, Gonzales said.
As a Hispanic and Spanish-speaking writer, Gonzales said that she hopes her book will work to open the door for others within her community.
“I hope to be recognized in the city of Albuquerque,” Gonzales said. “I am self-published. If (writers) haven’t been published with a large publishing house, then they aren’t known.”
Part of the Local Author Palooza was to give writers and their books more exposure, Desiree Condit, manager of Books on the Bosque, said. The goal of the event is not specifically about promoting local authors, but supporting them.
“I know a lot of these people work really hard to get their books on the shelves, and it’s heartbreaking whenever they come in and we have 60 people on a waitlist trying to do the same thing,” Condit said. “So this is all just about trying to get them out there … trying to support what they do.”
Jordyn Redd, bookstore staff member, said the store works to create community with local authors. The store provides them the physical space to talk about their work and strengthen one another in their creativity, Redd said.
“I think it’s really important to have a tight-knit community between these authors because, a lot of the time with the writing process, people feel alone,” Redd said.
The events that Books on the Bosque hosts gives the authors visibility and allows them to connect with other local authors as well as the Albuquerque literary community in general, Redd said.
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“Having events that allow them to talk to each other, truly sit down and support one another, gives them the opportunity to get their names out there and into the world,” Redd said.
Kelsa Mendoza is the copy editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @kelsar4in.
Kelsa Mendoza is the copy editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org on Twitter at @kelsar4in.