Publisher Jonathan Marcantoni Seeks Latino Books Outside ‘Usual’ Themes

*This is a profile of a Latino writer/editor based in Colorado. But it’s also a call, of sorts, for Latinos to write about things other than immigration and identity. That’s the box that mainstream publishers have put us in. VL

By Esther J. Cepeda, NBC News (5.5 minute read)

NAME: Jonathan Marcantoni

AGE: 32

HERITAGE: “Boricua de pura cepa” (true Puerto Rican)

HOMETOWN: Tampa, Florida now living in Colorado

OCCUPATION/TITLE: Publisher and author

Jonathan Marcantoni is a Puerto Rican novelist and publisher of the recently created La Casita Grande Editores, an imprint of Black Rose Writing, which specializes in Latino and Caribbean literature. His books “Traveler’s Rest,” “The Feast of San Sebastian,” and “Kings of 7th Avenue” deal with issues of racial politics and corruption in both the Puerto Rican diaspora and on the island. “Tristiana,” due out in 2017, will be his first Spanish-language novel. Marcantoni’s work has been featured in the magazines Warscapes, Across the Margin, Minor Literatures, PANK, and the news outlet Latino Rebels. He holds a B.A. in Spanish Studies from the University of Tampa and a Master of Humanities in creative writing from Tiffin University.

Jonathan Marcantoni is a Puerto Rican novelist and publisher of La Casita Grande Editores, an imprint of Black Rose Writing, which specializes in Latino and Caribbean literature. Jonathan Marcantoni / Jonathan Marcantoni

What sort of stories do you want to enable?

The biggest challenge in the Latino publishing scene is getting stories that go outside of immigration, identity and the American dream narrative, which is what Latino authors are stuck in. It seems like the big publishers feel that if you tell a story it has to include one of these three things because you’re really writing for a white audience. As a result there aren’t so many science fiction, crime or romance novels that are geared towards a Latino audience that kind of stand on their own as genre works.

They do exist but more often than not they’re coming out of the small presses, not the top five publishers – and those top publishers are looking for literary novels, not just stories about life and humanity. They are looking for Latino authors that are telling about their particular identity so you end up getting a lot of the same stories.

Read more stories like this on NewsTaco. >> 

I want to find crazy surrealist novels and Indiana Jones-type novels set in Puerto Rico and I was able to find writers telling stories not expected from Latinos. We give them that space because we’re not bound by the pressure that the publishing industry puts on writers of color to fit narratives that are comfortable for white audiences. We want to give writers an outlet so that they can be different and not have to write stories about where they’re from but that focus on the writer’s imagination and appeal to universal themes.


Esther J. Cepeda is a Chicago-based journalist and a nationally syndicated columnist for The Washington Post Writers Group. Follow her on Twitter, @estherjcepeda

[Photo by Georg Mayer/Flickr]

Subscribe today!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Must Read

U.S. citizen detained overnight by ICE – they thought he was undocumented

Victor Landa July 6, 2017

By Victor Landa, NewsTaco (1.5 minute read)  This is startling news. Up until last night at a dinner conversation I believed that the idea that an American citizen would be […]

DIECIOCHO Podcast: Texas Rep. Rafael Anchia – Trump, Gerrymandering and Money

NewsTaco June 8, 2017

By Victor Landa, NewsTaco (1 minute read, 34 minute listen)  It’s safe to say that the just-ended Texas legislative session was the most acrimonious in memory. We can talk for […]

Vietnam War veteran fears he could be deported

Victor Landa July 7, 2017

*This Vietnam veteran, born in Mexico, was awarded two Purple Hearts and given U.S. citizenship after his service. He’s misplaced his documents and after paying $345 the government wants more […]

Ted Cruz gets an earful in McAllen for July 4

Victor Landa July 5, 2017

*I’m posting this because it was mostly Latinos, organizing, protesting, making their voices heard. Everyone needs to know that Latinos in deep South Texas are standing up. VL By Patrick […]

The moment Florida cops pull over an Afro-Latina and find she’s the State Attorney

Victor Landa July 13, 2017

By Victor Landa, NewsTaco Patrol cops in  Orlando, Florida, stopped a white sedan recently becasue they ran the tags and didn’t get a return, plus, the tint on the windows […]

Henry Cisneros: Why Can’t Americans See Latinos Are Country’s ‘Saving Grace’?

Victor Landa July 7, 2017

*Good question. I think it’s because we’re not the ones telling our story. We need to fight for our narrative. VL By Suzanne Gamboa, NBC News (1.5 minute read)  SAN […]

Remembering Gus Garcia, Mexican-American Civil Rights Pioneer

Victor Landa July 27, 2017

By Raul A. Reyes, NBC News (7.5 minute read)   In his heyday, Gus Garcia cut a dashing figure in Texas legal and social circles. He was a key member […]

A Proposed New Tax, Mainly On Latinos, To Pay For Trump’s Border Wall

NewsTaco May 31, 2017

*This happened yesterday, while the rest of us were mesmerized by the Peckinpahesque implosion of the Trump administration, congress was moving a piece of legislation that would fund the Trumpian […]