Sarah M. Quesada on “The African Heritage of Caribbean and Latinx Literature”

“This is a book that explores how African history—political history, cultural history, literary history—weighs and therefore haunts some of the stories that we tell ourselves about latinidad.”

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.

In this episode, you’ll hear our interview with Sarah Margarita Quesada about her new book The African Heritage of Caribbean and Latinx Literature, published by Cambridge University Press (2022). We discussed how the writing of Caribbean and Latinx authors–especially Junot Díaz, Achy Obejas, Rudolfo Anaya, and Tomás Rivera–was shaped by their thinking about what Quesada describes as “Latin Africa.” Unlike other Latinx writers I know, Quesada is also trained in African Studies. She argues that we can’t talk about Blackness here in the United States without also taking Africans and Africa—as a place and as an idea—seriously.

Quesada is an assistant professor of romance studies at Duke University. She received her PhD from Stanford University. The African Heritage of Caribbean and Latinx Literature is her first book.




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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.


Featured photograph: Courtesy of Sarah M. Quesada