PILSEN — When writer Diana Pando was a teen, she remembers ditching high school and hopping the 62 Archer bus so she could get her copy of “The Vampire Lestat” signed by author Anne Rice.
"That was the first writer I ever met. I knew I wanted to be a writer but at the time we didn’t have access to those things. I had no idea that Latina writers even existed," Pando said.
Pando's love for fiction ultimately led her to be one of the founding members of Proyecto Latina, a reading and writing series which focuses on the voices of Latina women.
And, after seven years of collecting essays and art from Latina women of all ages, last year, writer Paloma Martinez-Cruz approached Pando about getting the work published.
The idea behind the book, “Rebeldes: A Proyecto Latina Anthology” is simple, Pando said.
“We want to make sure Latina women in the city and the Midwest are generating new work. Sometimes, even though we’re here, we remain invisible,” she said.
The anthology — a collection of stories and art from 26 Latina women — debuts Monday evening from 6:30-9:30 p.m. at Pilsen’s Meztli Gallery (2005 S. Blue Island Ave.)
The book launch reception is free and open to the public. Copies of the anthology will be available for $10 (cash only) and proceeds from the sales will go towards paying featured writers to read their work at the Proyecto Latina Reading Series.