Nancy Mercado


New York, NY
New York US

Author's Bio

Nancy Mercado is the recipient of the 2017 American Book Award for Lifetime Achievement. She was named among the Frederick Douglass 200 on the bicentennial of Douglass' birth. She also received the Arturo Alfonso Schomburg Award from the Association for Equality and Excellence in Education. The editor of the first Nuyorican Women Writers Anthology Volume I and Volume II published in Voices e/Magazine, a Hunter College City University of New York online literary journal, Mercado serves as a board member for The Before Columbus Foundation, an assistant editor for and a guest curator for the Museum of American Poetics.

During the height of the COVID pandemic in December 2020, Mercado established and chaired the Miguelabration Committee; an organizing vehicle created to pay tribute to the founder of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Miguel Algarín. The committee successfully organized and held a groundbreaking social media event featuring poets and artists from around the world via Zoom. Ten New York City premiere arts organizations, including City Lore and the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, joined forces to simultaneously broadcast a six-hour social media mega event live. 

Over the years, Mercado has presented her work throughout the US and abroad for institutions including but not limited to, the Whitney Museum, the University of Nantes, France, the Society for the Study of Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States (MELUS), the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference (AWP), The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Poetry Festival and in Havana, Cuba where poet Roberto Fernandez Retamar invited her to present her work at Casa de las Americas cultural institute. Mercado has also appeared in premiere venues throughout New York City such as The Public Theatre, Town Hall, The Nuyorican Poets Cafe, and Symphony Space among others.

The creator and Guest Editor of Phati’tude Literary Magazine’s issue, ¿What’s in a Nombre? Writing Latin@ Identity in America, Mercado also worked for eleven years as an editor of the acclaimed underground literary and art publication Long Shot; serving as the journal’s editor-in-chief for one of those years. She is the author of: It Concerns the Madness (Long Shot Productions), Las Tres Hermanas (Casita Maria), and the editor of If the world were mine (ASPIRA, International Youth Organization, The Leaguers Inc., The Newark Housing Authority, and FOCUS). Her poetry, fiction, and essay writings have been extensively anthologized.

Mercado’s theatre and playwriting career includes working for ten years as the Artistic Director of the Young Life Theatre Group; a young adult theatre group based in New Jersey and funded by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. During this time she authored and directed seven theatre plays: Palm Trees in the Snow, Chillin, Forever Earth, It is I Stay Alive!, Planet Earth, Alicia in Project and (coauthored with the renowned writer, Pedro Pietri), and AWAY. Her plays have been produced in such venues as the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC). AWAY was commissioned by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of an AIDS awareness and prevention campaign for young women of color. Made accessible to any US theatre company or community group, it has been produced by various theatre companies and community groups in English and Spanish throughout the country and in Puerto Rico.

Mercado has been featured on National Public Radio's: All of It, The Talk of the Nation, and on the PBS NewsHour Special, America Remembers 9/11. She was also featured on NYCNext, a program providing a series of live artistic pop-up events throughout New York City during the COVID pandemic. Profiled in Latino Leaders Magazine, the publication declared her, one of the most celebrated members of the Puerto Rican literary movement in the Big Apple.

More recently, Mercado edited a special memorial tribute celebrating the life of Miguel Algarín. The tribute features over sixty writers and artists nationwide and is published in KONCH Magazine.

Nancy Mercado continues to present her work as a featured poet and conference panelist. She received her Ph.D. from Binghamton University, SUNY, and is currently an Associate Professor in New York City.

Publications & Prizes

The BreakBeat Poets Vol 4 Latinext (Haymarket Books, 2020)
Latina Outsiders Remaking Latina Identity (Routledge, 2019)
Estrellas en el Fuego (Rogue Scholars Press, 2014)
Looking Out Looking In: Anthology of Latino Poetry (Arte Público Press, 2013)
Breaking Ground: Anthology of Puerto Rican Women Writers in New York 1980-2012 (Editorial Campana, 2012)
Powwow, American Short Fiction from Then to Now (, 2009)
Kiss the Sky: Fiction & Poetry Starring Jimi Hendrix (Paycock Press, 2007)
Bowery Women: Poems (YBK Publishers, 2006)
In the Arms of Words: Poems for Tsunami Relief (Foothills Publishing, 2005)
U.S. Latino Literature Today (Longman/Pearson, 2004)
From Totems To Hip-Hop: A Multicultural Anthology of Poetry Across the Americas, 1900-2002 (Thunder's Mouth Press, 2003)
Poetry After 9/11: An Anthology of New York Poets (Melville House, 2002)
Identity Lessons: Contemporary Writing About Learning to be American (Viking/Penguin, 1999)
ALOUD, Voices From The Nuyorican Poets Café (Henry Holt, 1994)
It Concerns the Madness (Long Shot, 2000)
Black Renaissance Noire
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phati'tude Literary Magazine
Prizes won: 

Clark Fellowship of Binghamton University- SUNY

More Information

Gives readings: 
Travels for readings: 
Identifies as: 
American, BIPOC, Latino/Latina/Latinx, Mixed-Race, Multicultural, Puerto Rican
Prefers to work with: 
Fluent in: 
English, Spanish
Please note: All information in the Directory is provided by the listed writers or their representatives.
Last update: Jul 02, 2023