Melinda Palacio

This author appeared at the 2012 festival. Please view the list of authors appearing at this year's festival or see our suggestions for similar authors below.

Melinda Palacio at the 2012  Texas Book Festival

There’s another stark contrast between San Francisco and Chandler, Arizona other than the weather. One is Isola’s now, while the other is her past and future. In Melinda Palacio’s Ocotillo Dreams, Isola leaves the comfort of San Francisco to enter the dry heat of the Arizona desert to sort through her deceased mother’s belongings. Hoping to find answers, Isola is met with not only the complex memory of her mother but issues that she didn’t care to think about. After having a startling encounter with a migrant worker named Cruz, the relationship that is just set in motion is destined to end in turmoil. She is a literary professor and he’s just trying to make it day by day.  Is Isola really like her mother and willing to risk everything for illegal immigrants she just met? Can she really trust those who claim to know her mother? Set amidst the infamous immigration sweeps in Arizona in the late Nineties, Ocotillo Dreams humanizes the illegal immigration controversy. It resonates with the political turmoil taking place nationwide. In her debut novel, Palacio weaves illegal immigration into a story of finding your true purpose. Filled with love, heartbreak, humor, and unexpected twists, Ocotillo Dreams delivers on a subject that has recently resurfaced. Palacio grew up in South Central Los Angeles and holds two degrees in Comparative Literature. She is a 2007 PEN Center USA Emerging Voices Fellow and 2009 poetry alum of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. Ocotillo Dreams won the 2012 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award. She now lives in Santa Barbara and New Orleans.

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