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On the Road to Hollywood

New initiative seeks to bring more Hispanic books to the silver screen

En español | While writer Raul Ramos y Sanchez says the details are Hollywood confidential, he reports meeting with major studios about turning his book into a movie. He credits this coup to winning a Latino Books Into Movies Award sponsored by the nonprofit Latino Literacy Now.

See also: Summer flicks with a Latino twist.

Film strip with each frame containing the cover of a Latino book that has been or could be turned into a movie

— Photo: iStockphoto

Last year, Ramos y Sanchez explains, he posed for a photo with the organization's president, Edward James Olmos, upon winning the Action and Adventure category for America Libre, a dystopian novel about immigration.

"One of the studios saw that photo and was willing to look at my work," says Ramos y Sanchez, 61, who lives in Dayton, Ohio. "That was a huge advantage, and that wouldn't have happened if I hadn't won."

The Latino Books Into Movies Awards, offered in seven categories, will be handed out for the second time on October 8, 2011, during the Los Angeles Latino Book & Family Festival at California State University, Los Angeles.

For the past 14 years, Latino Literacy Now has bestowed awards to writers while holding more than 60 book festivals around the country. The organization, which seeks to encourage regular reading, estimates 25 percent of the country does not read regularly.

Kirk Whisler, who developed the festivals with Olmos, conceived the new Books Into Movies Award so Latino books could gain greater recognition on the big screen. In the film industry, he says, "They get mounds of stuff that they never open. I thought, 'What would help attract attention?'"

Next: Giving Latino writers more exposure. >>

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