Named one of the National Book Foundation’s 5 Best Writers Under 35, Watkins made a dazzling debut with the stories of Battleborn, which won the Story Prize and appeared on numerous Best of the Year lists. Her first novel is a vivid, gritty love story set in a drought-stricken southern California of the near future. While most residents of the Central Valley relocate to government camps, Luz and Ray refuse to be corralled; survivors, they rely on instinct, looting, and any means necessary to get by. Then they encounter a child, hear rumors of a visionary dowser, his followers, and a colony, and the stakes get higher, sending the trio on an uncertain trek in search of better conditions.
Watkins will be in conversation with Annie McGreevy, author of the novella Ciao Suerte, and a senior lecturer at Ohio State.