No One Is Coming to Save Us

Winner of the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work – Debut Author
Nominated for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction
A Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick, Spring 2017
Entertainment Weekly‘s 13 Books to Read in April
Bustle‘s 11 Best Fiction Coming Out in April
The Millions’ Most Anticipated Books in April’s 25 New Novels You Won’t Be Able to Put Down
Nylon‘s 10 Best Books to Read in April

The Great Gatsby brilliantly recast in the contemporary South: a powerful first novel about an extended African-American family and their colliding visions of the American Dream.

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? No One Is Coming to Save Us is a revelatory debut from an insightful voice that combines a universally resonant story with an intimate glimpse into the hearts of one family.

On Sale Now in Paperback with cover art by Amy Sherald, painter of Michelle Obama’s official portrait for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, as well as E-Book and Audiobook


“A skillful riff on The Great Gatsby… Watts writes about ordinary people leading ordinary lives with an extraordinary level of empathy and attention….The ways in which No One Is Coming to Save Us intersects with and veers away from Fitzgerald’s familiar plot can be very rewarding… Every departure can be seen as a sly comment on what it means to be a person of color in today’s America…. The novel’s intricately plotted relationships pay off satisfyingly in its final chapters.” —New York Times Book Review (read full review)

“Watts is so captivating a writer. She’s unusually deft with dialogue…[The novel is] conveyed in a prose style that renders the common language of casual speech into natural poetry, blending intimate conversation with the rhythms of gossip, town legend, even song lyrics…An indelible story.” —Washington Post (read full review)

“Watts, with her knowing touch and full-bodies prose, delivers a resonant meditation on life and the comfort both in dreaming and in moving forward.” —USA Today (read full review here)

The Great Gatsby is revived in an accomplished debut novel…Watts spins a compelling tale of obsessive love and dashed dreams…Watts’ gently told story, like Fitzgerald’s, is only superficially about money but more acutely about the urgent, inexplicable needs that shape a life.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Watts’ lyrical writing and seamless floating between characters’ viewpoints make for a harmonious narrative chorus. This feels like an important, largely missing part of our ongoing American story. Ultimately,Watts offers a human tale of resilience and the universally understood drive to hang on and do whatever it takes to save oneself.” —Booklist

“Stephanie Powell Watts’s inspired reimagining of the novel long regarded as the American masterwork of the twentieth century gives soul, body, and voice to those left out of Scott Fitzgerald’s vision of the American dream… bold, brilliant, and timely. It is just what contemporary American fiction needs.” —Sigrid Nunez, author of The Last of Her Kind and Sempre Susan

“A grand debut novel full of characters who come into a reader’s mind and heart and never leave. Stephanie Powell Watts is a writer of wondrous skill, imagination and sensitivity, and No One Is Coming to Save Us is a beautiful testament to that.” —Edward P. Jones

“Rich with wry and poignant observations on human nature, family, and black experience in America. A powerful-and, in today’s world, necessary -perspective on the American dream and the possibility of beginning again.” —Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You

“There is wisdom, vital and profound, on every single page of this novel. It’s a story about home—what it means to leave and whether you can return, and how it is people in the end who are its beating heart. Absolutely luminous.” —Cristina Henríquez, author of The Book of Unknown Americans


We Are Taking Only What We Need

Whiting Award in Fiction
Winner, Ernest J. Gaines Award
Finalist, Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award
Finalist, Chautauqua Prize
Finalist, John Gardner Fiction Prize
Finalist, ForeWord Book of the Year, stories
Finalist, Best Books, stories
Recommended, New Yorker
Best books of the year, O Magazine

In these powerfully rendered, prizewinning stories, working-class African Americans across the South strive for meaning and search for direction in lives shaped by forces beyond their control

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. With We Are Taking Only What We Need, Stephanie Powell Watts has crafted an incredibly assured and emotionally affecting meditation on everything from the large institutional forces to the small interpersonal moments that impress upon us and direct our lives.

On Sale Now in a new Paperback edition with cover art by Amy Sherald, painter of Michelle Obama’s official portrait for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, as well as an E-Book