LaToya Watkins

We are thrilled to be hosting LaToya Watkins on September 22nd at 6:00 pm. She will be in conversation with Lori Feather about her new book, Perish. 


“Bear it or perish.” Those are the words Helen Jean hears that fateful night in her cousin’s outhouse that change the trajectory of her life.

LaToya Watkin’s towering debut novel, PERISH (Tiny Reparations Book, August 23, 2022), is the summer fiction title from Tiny Reparations Books. Spanning decades, it tracks the choices Helen Jean—the matriarch of the Turner family—makes thanks to that covenant, and the way those choices have rippled across generations, from her children to her grandchildren and beyond.

Told in alternating chapters that follow four members of the Turner clan: Julie B., a woman who regrets her wasted youth and the time spent under Helen Jean’s thumb; Alex, a police officer grappling with a dark and twisted past; Jan, a mother of two, who yearns to go to school and leave Jerusalem, Texas, and all of its trauma behind for good; and Lydia, a woman whose marriage is falling

apart because her body can’t seem to stay pregnant, as they’re called home to say goodbye to Helen Jean, their mother and grandmother.

The family’s reunion forces them all to confront their past, their fears, and unearths long-kept secrets, leading each member of the family to ask themselves important questions about who is deserving of forgiveness and who bears the cross of blame.

Steeped in Texas—where Watkins is from—with stirring, evocative prose, PERISH offers a nuanced look into Black communities. Exploring the effects of inherited trauma and intergenerational violence, Watkins tackles themes like family, legacy, home, class, and race, as well as the intricacies of family and the ways bonds can be made, maintained, or irrevocably broken.

LaToya Watkins’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in A Public Space, The Sun, McSweeney's, Kenyon Review, and The Pushcart Prize Anthology—and as the co-director of the Jack Jones Literary Arts Retreat, LaToya Watkins is already immersed in the literary world. Now with PERISH, Watkins—a talent who cannot be ignored—launches a career as a novelist. In her letter to readers on the next page, Watkins details her path to writing this staggering, challenging, and immersive story.

Heart-wrenching and beautifully written, PERISH looks straight into the eye of suffering, abuse, and the toll it takes on the human spirit. In doing so, Watkins finds the glimmering hope of breaking free from repeating patterns to create a life of new possibilities.


About the Author

LaToya Watkins’s writing has appeared in A Public Space, The Sun, McSweeney's, Kenyon Review, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, and elsewhere. She has received grants, scholarships, and fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, MacDowell, Yaddo, Hedgebrook, and A Public Space (she was one of their 2018 Emerging Writers Fellows). She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Dallas. PERISH is her debut novel.

Thursday, September 22nd, 6:00PM
Event address: 
5600 W Lovers Ln Suite 142
Dallas, TX, TX 75209

            

Perish: A Novel

By LaToya Watkins

Perish: A Novel By LaToya Watkins Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780593185919
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tiny Reparations Books - August 23rd, 2022

Perish: A Novel By LaToya Watkins Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780593185919
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tiny Reparations Books - August 23rd, 2022

Homepage Blurb: 
We are thrilled to be hosting LaToya Watkins on September 22nd at 6:00 pm. She will be in conversation with Lori Feather about her new book, Perish.