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Marisel Vera in conversation with Alyssa Vera Ramos, "Taste of Sugar"

Join us for a mother/daughter discussion of Marisel Vera's new novel The Taste of Sugar

Vera will be joined by theatre-maker Alyssa Vera Ramos, who also happens to be her daughter!


Event is free, but pre-registration is required. Please RSVP at

About The Taste of Sugar: It is 1898, and groups of starving Puerto Ricans, los hambrientos, roam the parched countryside and dusty towns begging for food. Under the yoke of Spanish oppression, the Caribbean island is forced to prepare to wage war with the United States. Up in the mountainous coffee region of Utuado, Vicente Vega and Valentina Sanchez labor to keep their small farm from the creditors. When the Spanish-American War and the great San Ciriaco Hurricane of 1899 bring devastating upheaval, the young couple is lured, along with thousands of other puertorriqueños, to the sugar plantations of Hawaii—another US territory—where they are confronted by the hollowness of America’s promises of prosperity. Writing in the tradition of great Latin American storytelling, Marisel Vera’s The Taste of Sugar is an unforgettable novel of love and endurance, and a timeless portrait of the reasons we leave home.


Marisel Vera is a Chicago writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. Through her work, Vera explores the particular burdens that Puerto Ricans, on the island and in the diaspora, carry as colonial subjects of the most powerful country in the world. Her latest novel, The Taste of Sugar (Liveright Publishing, June 2020), is a tale of love and endurance on the eve of the Spanish-American War, told through two Puerto Rican families. Vera is also the author of If I Bring You Roses (Grand Central), a story about a Puerto Rican couple who move to the United States during 1950s’ Operation Bootstrap to chase the American Dream in Chicago’s factories.

Alyssa Vera Ramos is a theatre maker, space holder, director, and culture worker dedicated to dreaming a liberated world--and practicing living into that world every chance we get. Over the past decade, she has directed, devised, and co-written many plays (and workshops!) for many audiences throughout Chicago, with tours to Austin, New Orleans, and more. Alyssa is the Artistic Director of For Youth Inquiry (FYI) Performance Company, housed at Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health and creating original, participatory theatre experiences to support the sexual health, rights, and identities of young people. She is also a founding member of femmes of color artistic collective, FEMelanin (documented in Ensemble-Made Chicago and featured at the LTC Sin Fronteras TYA Festival) and an organizer of Swarm Artist Residency, where she focuses on curating healing and racial justice experiences for Midwestern-based artists.


Event date: 
Wednesday, November 18, 2020 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
Zoom (email for link)
The Taste of Sugar: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781631497735
Availability: Special Order- EITHER on our shelves or available to order
Published: Liveright - June 16th, 2020

Events Terms: 
All titles are subject to availability. Prices Subject to Change. Please call (773) 293-2665 to confirm.
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