West Archive

Writ in Water: Interview with Claire Vaye Watkins

Claire Vaye Watkins, author of the celebrated collection Battleborn and widely acclaimed novel Gold Fame Citrus, talks with me about writing and living the West, conservation and resistance and optimism in the world of Trump, and faith in the "California experiment."

Writ in Water: Interview with Brit Bennett and “The Mothers”

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Brit Bennett talked with me about her new novel "The Mothers," and about the power of place--writing in the West through many communities--"performing California-ness," the weird excitement for wildfire season, forever building piers into the ocean, and In-N-Out burger.

Writ in Water: Reservation Round

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In a space like this, when we talk about genre fiction, we are often talking about its limitations: its conventions, its shallowness, its easy accessibility, its (overly) familiar repetitions, its elastic distance behind the invisible but razor-wired line of the literary.

Writ in Water: The Good Fortunes of Peter Ho Davies

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Peter Ho Davies is the author of two collections, The Ugliest House in the World and Equal Love, and the novel The Welsh Girl. His new novel, The Fortunes, is out this month.

Writ in Water: Yellow Not Mellow

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A sight now common across California: the yellow toilet bowl. Conscientiously curated, it’s a light shade of daffodil, lemon, banana; this is early in the lifespan, the visitors before you healthy and drinking plenty of water.

Writ in Water: Interview with Chris McCormick and “Desert Boys”

This month, I chat with author Chris McCormick, whose terrific debut of linked stories, Desert Boys, follows main character Daley “Kush” Kushner and his friends Robert Karinger and Dan Watts. The book is largely set in the growing desert suburbia of the Antelope Valley, 70-odd miles north of Los

Writ in Water: Son of Salinas

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  Last month, I mentioned John Steinbeck’s famous declaration about the forgetfulness of his beloved Salinas Valley in matters of water and drought. He is fortunate that the valley has not forgotten him. The National Steinbeck Center commands one end of Main Street in downtown Salinas, and a walk

Writ in Water: Storytelling on the Rez

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I ask about water. Water in the West, water in the desert, water that saves and water that kills. Water on a tribal reservation: water for ranches, water for livestock, water hauled hundreds of miles by truck, water for uranium mining, water for ceremonies and legends, water for drinking.