No One Is Coming to Save Us

Stephanie Powell Watts, Kaite Stover
Wednesday, August 12, 2020
6:30 pm

Moved by a meeting with a family unable to accept the loss of a son they hoped would somehow return to them, award-winning author Stephanie Powell Watts drew up the idea for her first novel – a story about the things in our past that haunt us, that continue to call and constrain us from moving ahead. 

It’s a theme explored by F. Scott Fitzgerald in what might be the great American novel, The Great Gatsby. Watts drew from its general structure and mood in her book No One Is Coming to Save Us, though it’s not a retelling. “Imagine The Great Gatsby set in rural North Carolina, nine decades later, with desperate black people,” she says.  

Watts, an associate professor English at Lehigh University who earned her Ph.D. from the University of Missouri, discusses her work, which effectively explores Gatsby’s thematic cracks and crevices and has drawn wide critical praise.  She is joined by Kaite Stover, the Library’s director of readers’ services, in the public conversation. 

Watch the online presentation live at