Austin author Gabino Iglesias unabashedly pushes for diversity and change in the publishing world

Like many industries, there is a huge gap in diversity in publishing with only 6% of the industry identifying as Hispanic, but the numbers haven’t stopped Austin author Gabino Iglesias.

His latest book, The Devil Takes You Home, is a horror novel tackling topics such as racism and the healthcare system. It was written during the pandemic and right after Iglesias lost his teaching job.

His casita, a family home, is located in East Austin in the popular Mueller neighborhood. Not having enough space for a library, Iglesias made sacrifices to make room for his passion.

“I took the car out and built this space,” Iglesias says as he enters his two-car garage. “Those are the ones I’ve been in.”

Shelves of books line the walls where most people hang bikes or lawn equipment.

Iglesias says his journey to becoming a full-time author was not easy, he faced many rejections before his recent success with The Devil Takes You Home.

“It was a selection for book club of the monthselection for Apple book of the month, it’s an editors choice at Amazon, New York Times made a profile which was awesome, talking about my journey as a writer and my trip to Austin where it all really started. I didn’t write in English until I moved here in 2008,” says Iglesias.

But the Puerto Rican native hasn’t given up on his mother tongue.


“Each of my books contains, a poquito de Español, and a bit of English because, you know, así es como nosotros lo hacemos, so you can’t leave that behind and few people are fans of that they hate the mix it up because it makes them a little uncomfortable even though it’s the second most spoken language in the world!” says Iglesias, describing the interchangeable style of writing he puts into his books. “[My] answer to [the complaints] is thanks for checking out the book and we’re in the United States of America so it’s time you learned some Spanish.”

Iglesias is shameless himself, despite urges to change his authenticity.

“Someone told me it’s a really complicated name, Gabino Iglesias, it’s a really complicated name.” Iglesias recalls the beginning of his career as an author. “[They said] for the purposes of your writing, you should consider adopting a name with fewer vowels.”

But his recent success proves there’s no need to change who he is.

“I talked about otherness, cultural differences, ideological, psychological and linguistic barriers and borders and all this anger, all this grief is found in each of my books, in particular [The Devil Takes You Home] because I was very scared and very angry, so it’s not a mid-level book, it’s not for kids, it’s hard to digest,” Iglesias says.

Its real subjects, written in the midst of a pandemic and global racial reckoning.


“In my case, with some of the racism and anger at the healthcare system and all that, [writing] it was therapy for me,” says Iglesias. He remembers the pandemic shutdowns and the emotions that went through him with his wife and young son.

“I sit here and work through all my emotions, past and present, and then I’m lighter and I’m happier and you know I can go through my day in a much better mood,” Iglesias said.

Igelsias’ book, The Devil Takes You Home, received seven offers from publishers and was sold at auction.

The cover is on a billboard in New York and Sony Pictures has chosen the novel to work on a film, directed by the Cuban filmmaker Alejandro Brugues.

Iglesias is currently working on his next book and filming for The Devil Takes You Home.

Lola R. McClure