Quiara Alegría Hudes: TOP TEN BOOKS


American playwright Quiara Alegria Hudes has rightfully received recognition on several occasions throughout her career, which began with studying music composition at Yale (making her the first in her family to enroll in college). In 2007, Hudes’ play Elliot, a Soldier’s Fugue, which she first began to write while studying for her MFA at Brown, became a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama; in 2012, Hudes’ won the Pulitzer for her play, Water by the Spoonful; and perhaps most notably, she wrote the book behind Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning musical, In the Heights. 

Below are Quiara Alegría Hudes’ favorite books, available to purchase individually or as a set.


For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf

Ntozake Shange
This book is an elixir, spirit medicine, and feminine life force. A series of brown girls’ step into the spotlight and testify to central moments in their girlhood. The final pages make me feel reborn each and every time.
Add to cart

The Fire Next Time

James Baldwin
I’d bring James Baldwin’s evergreen “The Fire Next Time,” to my island to remember how elegantly language can portray ferocity, honesty, and uncompromising social criticism.
Add to cart

The Known World

Edward P. Jones
For complete submersion in a novelistic world I’d choose Edward P. Jones’ epic masterpiece, “The Known World.” A universe unto itself, there are terrible moments and beautiful revelations about a black slave owner and the many lives around him.
Add to cart


Leslie Marmon Silko
“Ceremony” is about contemporary Native American characters who need to reconnect with deep past, with ancestral memory.
Add to cart

Just Mercy

Bryan Stephenson
Stephenson’s book on his death penalty exoneration work would help me remember that grace is still possible in the darkest times. There are courtroom and jailhouse scenes that are very moving.
Add to cart

Sonnets for an Old Century

Jose Rivera
A splendid series of vulgar, exuberant, and holy monologues about everyday contemporary life.
Currently unavailable

Collected Poems: Edna St. Vincent Millay

Edna St. Vincent Millay
I’d need poems. I love far too many, and favorites change daily. I’d bring Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “Collected Poems,” for curiosity and a wanderlust heart.
Add to cart

3 Sections

Vijay Seshadri
Poems for contemporary conundrums and shimmering solutions.
Add to cart

Cloud Atlas

David Mitchell
“Cloud Atlas,” combines dystopian sci-fi, spy novel, seafaring tales and more in a good puzzle structure. I especially love the outrageous young wannabe composer and the creepy futuristic use of “soap.”
Add to cart

Kafka on the Shore

Haruki Murakami
For a playful mood, I’d turn to Murkami’s sexual coming of age novel. Bizarre and erotic, sensual and dreamy, this surrealistic page turner includes bibliophile and jazz subplots custom tailored to my nerd-dom.
Add to cart