Artist In Focus: Derek Palacio, Author

Author and Professor Derek Palacio Speaks on His Upcoming Novel Series

Derek Palacio is an 2021-2022 Artist Support Grant Recipient.

Author Derek Palacio grew up listening to his family members reminisce about their experiences in Cuba. Hearing stories from his father, Palacio was inspired to learn more about Cuba and build his own connection. Palacio’s first novel, The Mortifications, follows the story of Soledad through her life as a Cuban immigrant in the US. Palacio has received high praise for The Mortifications and how he tells the powerful story of Latin Americans.

With the success of his 2-16 novel, Palacio has begun work on a four-volume novel series. The series will follow Cuban-American Olympic swimmer, Daniel Flood, competing in the 1990s. Throughout the story, Flood faces challenges as a professional athlete and internal battles with personal identity. The series uses themes of Cuba and family to tell the story of Daniel Flood and others around him. Palacio is expected to finish the first draft of his new novel in late summer 2022 through a residency at the Ragdale Artist Colony in Chicago, Il.

 “This is newer and more complicated terrain for my work, expanding further on the complex ideas of the Cuban American experience I dramatized in my first novel,” says Palacio when comparing his current project to The Mortifications. Since The Mortifications was published in 2016, Palacio has visited Cuba and developed a different perspective of Cuba. Palacio describes his upcoming projects as a “departure from his earlier works” in that he wants to reflect on his decision to visit Cuba and his connection with his heritage. In addition to his personal growth as a writer, Palacio’s participation in the Ragdale Artist Colony granted him opportunities to network and collaborate with other contemporary authors. This immersive experience allowed Palacio to focus solely on his writing and flesh out the fine details of his plot, characters, and thematic elements.

When he’s not working on his novels, Derek Palacio teaches English Literature at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He received his Bachelor of Arts in English from College of Holy Cross and his Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (Fiction) from The Ohio State University. Through his work as an author, Palacio hopes to use his work to inspire his own children, students, and the local Greensboro community.

For more information about Derek Palacio and his upcoming projects, visit his website. The Mortifications is available for purchase online.

To donate to the ArtsFund and support local artists like Derek Palacio, click here.