Why I write: I write first and foremost, because the stories I grew up reading bore no resemblance to my personal reality. They did not tell of the lines in my grandmother’s face or my father’s broken hands or the smell on my grandfather’s skin when he came home from the cane fields. Nowhere did I see the many hues of my cousins’ complexions or hear the music of the Caribbean or the sound of my mother’s voice when she called me mamita or nena.
I write because those images will not allow me to be silent. I write my stories because somewhere there is a black Puerto Rican girl child trying to find herself in the mirror of American letters and I want to make sure she finds her reflection there.
My Work: The duality of being Black and Latina in urban America today is central to much of my work. Many of my shorter pieces are grounded in realism and reflect this duality. My longer narratives deal with the long voyage from Africa to urban America via Puerto Rico and are heavily influenced by West African mystical symbology and 20th Century Latin American magical realism.
Publications and Prizes
Daughters of Stone (Macmillan, 2014)
Short listed for the PEN America Bingham Fellowship, 2010; Bronx Council on the Arts BRIO awards, Bronx Council on the Arts Literary Fellowship