Arte Latino Now - Meet the Writers

ARTE LATINO NOW  is an initiative of the Center for Latino Studies at Queens University of Charlotte that seeks to highlight Latino artists living and working in the United States. Meet the Writers is the product of students who independently interviewed Latino authors about their life and work.

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Sarah Rafael García

Sarah Rafael García is a young Latina writer, presenter, daughter, sister, and role model. In her path to becoming who she is today, she has worked hard to overcome the many obstacles that life had brought her. She graduated from Texas State University with a major in Applied Sociology and a minor in Spanish. Currently, she is attending Texas State University as a Fiction MFA student studying creative writing. Through her writing she aspires to promote cultural awareness, community empowerment, and global sharing. Not only is she a successful woman but she uses her talents as a writer to help mold young students. She is definitely a great role model for everyone. Read More

Chris Gonzales

Chris Gonzales’ favorite author who is no longer alive is Borges, mostly for his sheer imagination. His favorite living author would be a toss-up between Junot Díaz and Colson Whitehead as he admires their freedom of language. He has no favorite genre or theme in his writings or literature, but is specifically interested in Latino/a literature and narrative theory. He likes an in-your-face kind of character narrator that is telling you about his or her life—and perhaps the life of someone else. He also thinks character narrators are far more interesting than third-person narrators because of their fallibleness. Read More

Kase Johnstun

Latino author Kase Johnstun is from Utah but currently resides in Manhattan, Kansas where he teaches English at Kansas State University. He has an abrupt style of writing and loves to write about family, culture, and humor. He is currently writing a novel on the birth defect Craniosynostosis. Read More

Lyndsey Lefebvre

Lyndsey Lefebvre was born in Orange, California and grew up in Anaheim, California. She was raised by her grandmother for most of her childhood. Lefebvre attended Fullerton College then transferred to California State University and majored in English. She is now an English teacher of various levels. She also enjoys writing poetry and describes her writing style as “cheeky”. Read More

Rita Martin

Dr. Rita Martin has written numerous poems, short stories, plays, and literature reviews throughout her life. Her works have been published in several journals and newspapers all over the world. She has published eight books of poetry, a collection of short stories, and several theatrical works such as Flores no me pongan, which has been performed in Miami for the past two consecutive years. From Miami to Cuba, her works have inspired numerous writers, actors, poets, readers and those of her own Hispanic heritage to believe in their art. Upon interviewing Rita Martin, her passion for love, family, country and art becomes undeniable. Rita Martin is a voice for so many Latino-Americans by expressing her emotions and culture through art. She remains true to her Cuban heritage by writing in her mother tongue and paying respect through recognition of her country and her historical upbringings in her work. She holds a doctoral degree and is a professor of Spanish language and Hispanic culture at Radford University in Virginia. Read More

Maria Mayobre

Maria Mayobre was born in Caracas, Venezuela in 1976. She enjoys cooking, traveling, and writing. She received her Masters in Communication and Education at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain. In 2008, she received a certificate in film screenwriting at Emerson College in Boston where she was also granted first prize for her screenplay Not Like Mom. Maria has had two of her short films, Amber Alert and Marry Me, awarded and published by and she is now working on a short film called Millet which is to be released this year. Maria currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts. Read More

Kurma Murrain

Kurma Murrain was born July 14, 1970 in Bogota Colombia. She lived a meager existence with her mother father and brother. Kurma was left alone much as a child and because of this has always been independent. Kurma also discovered her love of acting and writing poetry from an early age. After working very hard in Colombia, Kurma was able to move to the United States. She settled down in Charlotte North Carolina where she works as a Math and ESL teacher for a high school in the area. Kurma also pursues her writing career spending much time writing poetry that is inspired by the world around her. The experiences that she has had in her life add strength and passion to her work. Read More

Gisela Norat

Born in Havana, Cuba, Gisela Norat focuses on a lot of Latina and Latin American issues and authors which are very relatable to her. She grew up with her only sister in Union City after leaving communist Cuba via Spain. At first, she arrived in Manhattan where her father was working. His boss offered him an equal partnership in the business which required the family to move to Union City. She had very hard working immigrant parents and she herself went on to be hard working in school, completing many degrees at different universities and colleges. Currently, Gisela Norat lives in Decatur, Georgia and is a professor at Agnes Scott College. She also raises a daughter in Georgia which has had a great influence over Gisela Norat. She writes about the different lives each has experienced growing up and writes about the complications of her daughter growing up. Her daughter had great difficulty with learning Spanish and this frustrated Gisela Norat enough to write about it. Much of Norat’s writing is academic and focuses on Latina and Latin American women writers. Her non-academic writing has been inspired by a desire to leave her daughter a legacy of her heritage and family history. Read More

Sandra Ramos O’Briant

Sandra Ramos O’Briant was born in New Mexico in 1949, in her grandparents’ home. When O’Briant was a young girl, she had two distinct lives: the life of a daughter of married parents and the life of a daughter of divorced parents. After graduating high school, she attended UNM as a Liberal Arts major. She later graduated from Arizona State University with a Master’s in Secondary Education. O’Briant was relatively successful in the business world, but decided that she longed for a more creative alternative and she began her career as a writer. She is not fluent in Spanish but has had many experiences with the language both in the classroom, abroad, and in her grandmother’s home. Sandra Ramos O’Briant is a woman who is captivated by the dream world. What used to be a “bad habit” that threatened her ability to be successful in school is now a way for her to connect the working of her brain with a tangible piece of work to be shared with the masses. O’Briant is inspired by the work of Isabelle Allende, a woman famous for her use of passion in all her works. O’Briant is not bound by a single genre, but enjoys reading a plethora of various materials. She describes her own writing style in one word: eclectic. Her favorite themes are those of survival, especially if the protagonist is a woman. O’Briant originally became a writer in order to challenge herself and now has one novel and twenty-two short stories published. Read More

Roberto Carlos Ortiz

Roberto Carlos Ortiz is a New Orleans-based writer, video maker, and independent scholar. His inspiration comes from random places, something he observes and hears makes him wonder and remember. Writing about human relationships is what he loves, fleeting moments and telling gestures. He spends a lot of his time watching films and reading about them. Read More

Rafael Ortiz Calderón

Rafael Ortiz Calderón is a writer, teacher, and researcher. His passions stem from language, especially Spanish and Spanish Literature. He was born in Tehuixtla, México, obtained his early education in Cuernavaca, México and obtained his higher education at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. He moved to the United States in the 1980´s, without any knowledge of the English language. He continued to teach in Chicago and opened his own language school to teach Spanish to professionals and adults and obtained his BA in Spanish at Northeastern Illinois University. He is working on his PhD at Michigan State University. Read More

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