Literary nonprofit Latinx in Publishing has launched a new initiative, the Writers Mentorship Program, which is aimed at offering unpublished and/or unagented writers who identify as Latinx "the opportunity to strengthen their craft, gain industry knowledge, and expand their professional connections by working directly with experienced published authors who identify as Latinx."
The first group of mentors for the program, which began on February 1 of this year and is slated to run through October 31, is comprised of 11 authors: Monica Brown, author of Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos; Paola Capó-García, author of Clap for Me That’s Not Me; Katrina Carrasco, author of The Best Bad Things; Lulu Delacre, three-time Pura Belpré Award Honoree and author/illustrator of Luci Soars; Christina Diaz Gonzalez, author of The Red Umbrella; Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, author of Children of the Land: A Memoir; Gabino Iglesias, author of Coyote Songs; Toni Margarita Plummer, author of The Bolero of Andi Rowe; Ruben Quesada, poetry editor at AGNI and author of Revelations; Sabrina Sol, author of Delicious Temptation; and Francisco X. Stork, author of Disappeared. The 2020 class of mentees are: Julianne Aguilar, Gustavo A. Barahona-López, Camille Corbett, Yesenia Flores Diaz, Brigid Martin, Aline Mello, Brenda Miller, Ofelia Montelongo, Jordan Pérez, Angela Pico, and Andrew Siañez-De La O.
“When you look around your local bookstore or library, Latinx books only make a fraction of what is being published today,” said Sophia Jimenez, codirector of the mentorship program. Carolina Ortiz, the program's other codirector, added: “It is our goal to bridge the gap and help new rising Latinx voices find the support they need within their own community by connecting them with published Latinx authors, who will be the people best equipped to understand their stories and perspectives.”
Mentors and mentees will coordinate their own schedules, and are required to work together for at least one hour per month over the course of the 10-month program, the nonprofit said. The program was announced shortly after the controversy surrounding Jeanine Cummins's American Dirt put issues surrounding under-representation of the Latinx community in the publishing industry at the forefront of national conversation.