Bestselling Puerto Rican author, Esmeralda Santiago, writes for survivors of Hurricane Maria
Award-winning Puerto Rican author, Esmeralda Santiago, will be at the Mark Twain House in Hartford on Wednesday to discuss her new novel "Las Madres." Santiago is known for her impactful coming-of-age stories about being a Latina in the United States.
"Las Madres" follows a multigenerational group of women in Puerto Rico who end up stuck on the island during Hurricane Maria and have to survive the aftermath of the hurricane’s devastation.
Santiago wanted to tell this story for Puerto Ricans impacted by the hurricane, both on and off the island. It’s a story that resonates for the community in Hartford and Connecticut at large. An estimated 13,000 Puerto Ricans came to the state in the aftermath of the hurricane.
There will be generations of people who will be traumatized by what they experienced and she wanted to write for them, Santiago said.
“Historians and meteorologists can give us the statistics and tell us what happened, but they can’t tell us how people felt. As a writer, I can,” she said. “It gives me more latitude to explore and remind people that Hurricane Maria wasn’t just a historical event, it wasn’t just a meteorological phenomena, it happened to people.”
Santiago encourages her readers to attend the event because she says she learns a lot from the questions they have.
“It informs you as a writer whether your intentions are coming across or whether or not your themes are being understood,” she said.
The event will include a Q&A with Ricardo Alberto Maldonado, the first Latino executive director of the Academy of American Poets. Admission to the event includes a copy of "Las Madres" for ticket holders to pick up at the event.