Georgina Herrera was born in Jovellanos, the capital of Matanzas Province, Cuba. She began writing when she was nine years old, and when she was 16 her first poems were published, in such Havana periodicals as El País and Diario de la Tarde. As Miriam DeCosta-Willis has noted, "Many of her later poems capture the pain and loneliness of her growing-up years", during which she endured poverty, an absent father and the death of her mother when she was 14.
Aged 20, Herrera moved to Havana in 1956, and worked as a domestic; it was in the homes of her wealthy employers that she met writers, who encouraged her to publish. Early in the Cuban Revolution she became involved with the "Novación Literaria" movement, and began working as a scriptwriter at the Cuban Institute for Radio and Television.
She married the novelist Manolo Granados, and they had two children, though later divorced.
Her first poetry collection, G.H. appeared in 1962, since when she has published several books, characteristically using themes that centre on gender, Afro-Cuban history, and the African legacy: Gentes y cosas (1974), Granos de sol y luna (1974), Grande es el tiempo (1989), Gustadas sensaciones (1996), Gritos (2004), África (2006), and Gatos y liebres or Libro de las conciliaciones (2010). Although best known as a poet, Herrera has also worked as a scriptwriter for radio, television and film. With Daisy Rubiera she has co-authored a memoir entitled Golpeando la memoria: Testimonio de una poeta cubana afrodescendiente (Ediciones Unión, 2005).
According to dissident journalist Jorge Olivera Castillo: "A recurring theme in her work reveals a commitment to her race regarding the avatars of their current existence and a past that is also filled with stigmas.... It is also important to point out that she was part of the repressed Grupo El Puente literary and publishing group, which in the 1960s attempted to create a space for art and literature beyond the confines of officialdom. This caused her to be marginalized, as happened with almost all of the group’s members. Yet, despite the obstacles...Georgina Herrera did not opt for exile or silencing her woes. She persevered in her desire to defend her principled position—and she won."
Herrera has won much recognition both in Cuba and abroad. Her work has been translated into various languages and is included in the anthologies Breaking the Silences: 20th Century Poetry by Cuban Women (ed. Margaret Randall) and Daughters of Africa (ed. Margaret Busby). She is also a contributor to Afro-Cuban Voices: On Race and Identity in Contemporary Cuba, edited by Pedro Perez Sarduy and Jean Stubbs.
A bi-lingual Spanish/English collection of Herrera's work, entitled Always Rebellious/Cimarroneando: Selected Poems (published by Cubanabooks, a US-based non-profit company specialising in Cuban women's literature), won the 2016 International Latino Book Award for Best Bilingual Poetry Book. Herrera has said of the collection, whose title references maroons, Africans who escaped from enslavement in the Americas: "The inspiration for the book was my life experiences, it is a definition of me."
- G.H. (Ediciones El Puente, 1962)
- Gentes y cosas (Ediciones Unión, 1974
- Granos de sol y luna (Ediciones Unión, 1974)
- Grande es el tiempo (Ediciones Unión, 1989)
- Gustadas sensaciones (Ediciones Unión, 1996)
- Gritos (Torre de Papel, 2004)
- África (Ediciones Manglar y Uvero, 2006)
- Gatos y liebres or Libro de las conciliaciones (Ediciones Unión, 2010)
- with Daisy Rubiera, Golpeando la memoria: Testimonio de una poeta cubana afrodescendiente (Ediciones Unión, 2005)
- Always Rebellious/Cimarroneando: Selected Poems (Cubanabooks, 2014, ISBN 978-0-9827860-6-2). Translated from the Spanish by María Rodríguez-Alcalá, Juanamaría Cordones-Cook, and Alexander Cordones Cook.
- "Georgina Herrera Cardenas" at AfroCubaWeb.
- "Georgina Herrera", Cubanabooks, Chico, California State University.
- Justin Johnson, "Fresno States welcomes Afro-Cuban poet Georgina Herrera", The Collegian, 6 March 2016.
- Miriam DeCosta-Willis (ed.), "Georgina Herrera", Daughters of the Diaspora: Afra-Hispanic Writers (pp. 137–175), p. 137.
- Carole Boyce Davies, Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora: Origins, Experiences, and Culture, Volume 1, ABC-CLIO, 2008, p. 64.
- "Cimarroneando/Always Rebellious: A Bilingual Poetry Reading and Talk by Award Winning Afro-Cuban poet Georgina Herrera", Department of Spanish and Portuguese, The University of Texas at Austin.
- Paula Sanmartin, Black Women as Custodians of History: Unsung Rebel (M)Others in African American and Afro-Cuban Women's Writing, Cambria Press, 2014.
- Jorge Olivera Castillo, "Georgina Herrera: A Genuine Cimarron", Angel Fire.
- "Child Asleep", "Cradle" and "That Way of Dying", translated by Kathleen Weaver, in Margaret Busby, Daughters of Africa, 1992, pp. 469–70.
- Nnedimma Okorafor, "Afro-Cuban Voices: On Race and Identity in Contemporary Cuba" (review), Edofolks.com.
- Marilyn Bobes, "Cubanabooks: A Non-Profit Publisher of Cuban Women", Havana Times, 20 July 2015.
- Ilana Masad, "Cuban Women Are Finally Being Published in the US", Broadly, 2 November 2015.
- "Always Rebellious/Cimarroneando: Selected Poems by Georgina Herrera", SPD.
- "International Latino Book Awards" (PDF). 2016-09-09. Retrieved 2017-11-05.
- Sarah Strausser, "Georgina Herrera shares more than just poetry", The Orion, 24 February 2016.
- "Georgina Herrera Cardenas" at AfroCubaWeb
- "Georgina Herrera Reads Her Poetry --filmed and directed by Juanamaría Cordones Cook". YouTube video.
- "Interview with Cuban Poet Georgina Herrera" (video), Cubanabooks Press, 24 September 2014.
- "Georgina Herrera Cardenas" at AfroCubaWeb