Esmeralda Santiago

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Esmeralda Santiago (born May 17, 1948) is a Puerto Rican author and former actress.


  • My own ancestors. I come from poor, landless peasants who left no records. And so I began to read the story of Puerto Rico, and the more I read the story the more I realized I would never find my own ancestors, but I could make my imaginary ancestors. And so the book emerges as a result of my trying to create them, to create the people that might have been.
  • At a certain point, I gave up on the idea that I’m not enough for other people…You are enough for you if you believe that you are enough for you. Whatever they say — you’re not Latina enough, or feminine enough or smart enough, you know ... just say ‘fuck you.’ That’s their problem.
  • I thought, 'I have been through this process before’…When I was 13 years old I came from Puerto Rico to the United States not knowing any English. What I did at that time was I went to the public library, and I would go to the children’s book section where there would be alphabet books and everything would be illustrated. So it was very easy to connect the words to the images. I said, ‘I’m just going to do the same thing. If I did it once before, I can do it again.’

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