Rina Palumbo



My literary fiction is a novel structured as a braided narrative. One story is set in the near future and involves six days in the life of Petra, a scientist working at the Ice Cube Neutrino Laboratory. Based loosely on the life of Marie Curie, this brilliant and accomplished woman finds herself succumbing to radiation sickness at the same time that a very severe storm and a catastrophic event have left her stranded. Accustomed to solving problems, she is pushed to the limits by simply trying to survive. The second storyline is set in present-day Scotland and follows James, a maths teacher at a public school who must return home to place his ailing mother into care while also tasked with cleaning out his childhood home. He is looking for some closure but finds more questions than answers as he begins this process of sorting the things he grew up with while concurrently watching his mother deteriorate. My novel, dealing with love, loss, memory, and how we twist those exact human things into sometimes sublime and other times surreal shapes, is for everyone.


This memoir-in-flash can be considered Winesburg, Ohio, meets  Bastard Out of  Carolina. Like Sherwood Anderson’s literary classic, it adopts an omniscient narrator overseeing, describing, and sometimes commenting on the discrete acts and actors in a small town in the upper Midwest. Like Dorothy Allison’s semi-biographical coming-of-age story, the protagonist is working class and hyper-aware of her environment and inner conflicts. The idea of the “grotesque” as distortion frames the narratives into a whole, the scope of which, while changing with perspective, always remains integrated.


This essay collection is a series of writings that explore the intersection of trauma and radical weight loss surgery. Each of the seven essays corresponds to a layer of skin and a body part. The book centers the female body as a signifier and object and draws inspiration from Roxanne Gay, Melissa Febos,  and Carmen Maria Machado, among others.


I am writing many shorter pieces, ranging from micros of under 500 words to flash (up to 1000 words) fiction, creative non-fiction, and more traditional short stories and essays. I am also experimenting with hybrid writing, such as lyric essays and prose poetry.

I may collect some of these shorter pieces into a chapbook, but in the meantime, I will continue to submit them to literary journals and magazines.