MAY 6-9

Like warm breezes from the Gulf, los Latinos are coming to Washington. The Latino Literary Festival opens Tuesday with a reading by poet Naomi Ayala, novelist Esmeralda Santiago, and nonfiction writer Marjorie Agosin. A Chilean exile now teaching at Wellesley, Agosin reads from Tapestries of Hope, Threads of Love, a collection about women who encode their hand-stitched arpilleras with horror stories from Gen. Pinochet’s mad reign. Cuban-American poet Pablo Medina reads Wednesday with Colombian-born Maurice Kilwein Guevera, who writes a surprising lot about rats in Poems of the River Spirit. Two local writers, novelist Mario Bencastro and Quique Aviles, who has written about immigrants trading the bloodshed of civil war-torn El Salvador for the urban violence of Washington, read Thursday with Puerto Rican poet Jack Agueros and Norma Cantu, author of Canicula/Snapshots of a Childhood en la Frontera, about life growing up in the Tex-Mex badlands. Readers of Face of an Angel, a rambling, funny novel about a Mexican waitress discovering the secrets of the people she serves, can join Chicana novelist Denise Chavez (pictured) and poet Martin Espada, best known for Imagine the Angels of Bread, for a Friday reading and discussion on “Latinos and the Publishing Industry.” For those who have only read Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabel Allende or—lord help you—seen the movie Like Water for Chocolate—the Latin Literary Festival is a much-needed baptism. Readings begin at 7 p.m. at the Arts Club of Washington, 2017 I St. NW. FREE. (202) 331-7282. (Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa)