Xochitl Gonzalez and the Art of Traversing Worlds

On the night of the presidential elections in 2016, Xochitl Gonzalez was at the Javits Center in New York City attending an event in support of Hillary Clinton’s presidential nomination. She was talking to “other very liberal, Democratic volunteers” when the subject of Puerto Rico came up. Xochitl, born and raised into a Nuyorican family, was stunned and frustrated when she realized that nobody knew anything about the injustices her family’s ancestral home had gone through. It was then and there that she decided that her first book would be about the experiences of the Puerto Rican diaspora. Xochitl’s debut novel, Olga Dies Dreaming (2021) tells the fictional story of a Nuyorican family from Brooklyn. Olga, the main character of the novel, is an amalgamation of Xochitl’s own life experiences as a daughter of Latino militant activist parents and her career as a wedding planner for wealthy New Yorkers. In this episode of Latino USA, Xochitl sits down with Maria Hinojosa to discuss why she wanted her first book to be so autobiographical but also highly political. And how she decided to leave her wedding business behind to fulfill her dream of writing.

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Latino USA offers insight into the lived experiences of Latino communities and is a window on the current and merging cultural, political and social ideas impacting Latinos and the nation.