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Meet Author Stephanie Powell Watts

Stephanie Powell Watts-Author of the Week

If you are a homebody then you know there is nothing like a good book, a glass of wine and a comfortable spot to get things poppin’. As reading is fundamental, so is reading a good author, or better yet a great author. Well, if you are waiting for a new book from your favorite author, give Stephanie Powell Watts books a try, you won’t be disappointed.

Stephanie Powell Watts was born and raised in Lenoir, North Carolina. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and her PhD from the University of Missouri. She now lives with her husband and son in Pennsylvania where she is an associate professor of English at Lehigh University. In 2012, Stephanie won the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence for her debut story collection, We Are Taking Only What We Need. And in 2013, she was named one of the Best Summer Reads by O: The Oprah Magazine. Her short fiction has been included in two volumes of the Best New Stories from the South anthology and honored with a Pushcart Prize.

Powell Watts’s stories explore the lives of African Americans in fast food and factory jobs, working door to door as Jehovah’s Witness ministers, and pressing against the boundaries of the small town, post-integration South. Her debut novel, No One Is Coming to Save Us, follows the return of a successful native son to his home in North Carolina and his attempt to join the only family he ever wanted but never had. As Mrs. Powell Watts describes it, “Imagine The Great Gatsby set in rural North Carolina, nine decades later, with desperate Black people.”

Both Stephanie Powell Watts story collection and novel can be purchased on Amazon and read through Kindle. Here is a brief synopsis of Stephanie Powell Watts award winning books!

No One is Coming to Save Us


JJ Ferguson has returned home to Pinewood, North Carolina to build his dream home and to woo his high school sweetheart, Ava. But he finds that the people he once knew and loved have changed, just as he has. Ava is now married, and wants a baby more than anything.

The decline of the town’s once-thriving furniture industry has made Ava’s husband Henry grow distant and frustrated. Ava’s mother Sylvia has put her own life on hold as she caters to and meddles with those around her, trying to fill the void left by her absent son. And Don, Sylvia’s undeserving but charming husband, just won’t stop hanging around.

JJ’s newfound wealth forces everyone to consider what more they want and deserve from life than what they already have—and how they might go about getting it. Can they shape their lives to align with their wishes rather than their realities? Or are they resigned to the rhythms of the particular lives they lead?

We Are Taking Only What We Need Stories

We Are Taking Only What We Need: Stories (Art of the Story) by [Stephanie Powell Watts]


The ten stories in this resonant collection deal with both the ties that bind and the gulf that separates generations, from children confronting the fallibility of their own parents for the first time to adults finding themselves forced to start over again and again.

In “Highway 18” a young Jehovah’s Witness going door to door with an expert field-service partner from up north is at a crossroads: will she go to college or continue to serve the church?

“If You Hit Randall County, You’ve Gone Too Far” tells of a family trying to make it through a tense celebratory dinner for a son just out on bail. And in the collection’s title story, a young girl experiences loss for the first time in the fallout from her father’s relationship with her babysitter.

Startling, intimate, and prescient on their own, these stories build to a kaleidoscopic understanding of both the individual and the collective Black experience over the last fifty years in the American South.

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