We Are Taking Only What We Need
In a strong debut, Watts chronicles in 10 stories the lives of black North Carolinians who come from or lived near the "dark houses on tangled dirt roads on the fringes of the county." …The kind of love found in the Carolina hills — and in these stories —
— Publishers Weekly
Stephanie Powell Watts offers an impressive debut that promises only wonderful work to come. Read your way to the line "these dogs didn't bother to bond with us, but stuck out their paws not to shake hands but so we could slit their wrists and get it the hell over with — then continue reading to the book's end. So much current fiction has an unreal, "made-up" tone that could exist only in someone's awfully fanciful imagination. Watts shows us people, real souls like the people we sit next to on the bus, people who live down hall, people who could be relatives.
— Edward P. Jones
This debut collection is stunningly pitch-perfect; these voices will remain alive in your head long after you've shut the cover of We Are Taking Only What We Need. Each story seems, at the same time, to be a breath of fresh air and an instant classic. There is nothing skimpy or faint-hearted in this collection; the stories are full-bodied and whole-hearted. Stephanie Powell Watts writes with spunk, eloquence, and grace."
— Marly Swick
The characters in each of these carefully wrought stories are richly delineated, and leap from the page. Real people who live in real places, with voices that are unforgettable. From quirky Sheila who works as a phone operator at the dog registry to the young narrator in the gorgeously bleak title story discovering her father’s mistakes, Stephanie Powell Watts writes with a penetrating eye for the extraordinary moments in the lives of ordinary people. As I read, I found myself holding my breath.
— Alyce Miller
Stephanie Powell Watts teaches at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Her work has appeared in the Pushcart Prize and Best New Stories from the South anthologies, as well as Oxford American, New Letters, African American Review, and elsewhere.
Winner of the "2012 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award." Read more about Stephanie's accomplishments at:
John F. Kennedy Library/News Release;
PEN New England;
Charlotte Observer (The Reading Life) and
Winner of the "Pushcart Prize," article on Dr. Watts — No shortage of praise for Watts’ prose