Derek Updegraff was born in the Bay Area of northern California but grew up in San Diego. He earned B.A. and M.F.A. degrees from California State University, Long Beach, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Missouri, Columbia. His primary areas of study were fiction writing, poetry writing, linguistics, and medieval literature, but he has increasingly become a generalist and enjoys reading and teaching literature from any time or region. He began teaching at the college level in 2005 with stints at universities in southern California and the Midwest. In 2021 he relocated to the Southeast to direct the undergraduate creative writing program at Anderson University, where he is an Associate Professor of English.

He is the author of the novel Whole (2024), the short story collections Pup! et cetera (2020) and The Butcher’s Tale and Other Stories (2016), and the poetry and translation collections Paintings That Look Like Things (2018), The Edge Where Atlas Stands (2008), and Between Pit Stops at Late-night Diners (2008). His short stories, poems, and translations have appeared in dozens of literary journals, including The Carolina Quarterly, Christianity & Literature, The Classical Outlook: Journal of the American Classical League, Fiction International, The Greensboro Review, The Los Angeles Review, Metamorphoses, the minnesota review, North Dakota Quarterly, Notre Dame Review, The Saturday Evening Post, The Southampton Review, and Tikkun. His essays on Old English literature have appeared in Oral Tradition, Pacific Coast Philology, and Texas Studies in Literature and Language, and he is a contributing writer for the Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Medieval Literature in Britain.

A big fan of lakes and trees, he happily resides in upstate South Carolina with his wife, their three daughters, and a menagerie of dogs, cats, chickens, and—he hopes one day—goats.