Melissa Lozada-Oliva on “Candelaria”

“I wanted to explore miscommunications between families, and I wanted to explore how deep sisterly love really goes.”

Writing Latinos, from Public Books, features interviews with Latino (a/x/e) authors discussing their books and how their writing contributes to the ever-changing conversation about the meanings of latinidad.

Melissa Lozada-Oliva is a New York–based author who grew up in Boston and calls herself a “Guatelombian” writer—half Guatemalan, half Colombian. We had a lively conversation about her second novel, Candelaria—an intergenerational family drama set during the apocalypse. Lozada-Oliva’s book explores the fraught but loving relationships between three sisters, their mother, their grandmother, and their connections, both real and imagined, with their Guatemalan homeland. It offers deep insights into Latina/o/x/e family dynamics, and is laugh-out-loud funny. Candelaria and Lozada-Oliva’s first novel, Dreaming of You: A Novel in Verse, were both published by Astra House. A former slam poetry performer, she has also written a collection of poems called Peluda. Look out for Candelaria’s paperback publication this fall!




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Writing Latinos is a production of Public Books. The show’s host is Geraldo Cadava, co-editor-in-chief of the magazine, and show’s producer is Tasha Sandoval. Our theme music is “City of Mirrors” by Dos Santos.



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Featured image: Courtesy of Melissa Lozada-Oliva