I wrote a book and I think you’d love it—it’ll drop on March 19, 2019 from Riverhead Books.



“Washington debuts with a stellar collection in which he turns his gaze onto Houston, mapping the sprawl of both the city and the relationships within it, especially those between young black and brown boys…Washington excels when he gets playful with his narration, like the Greek chorus of “Alief,” in which the residents of an apartment complex acknowledge their role in an affair and its disastrous ending. And in the best stories, such as “South Congress,” “Waugh,” and “Elgin,” Washington captures the dual severity and tenderness of the world for young people. Washington is a dynamic writer with a sharp eye for character, voice, and setting. This is a remarkable collection from a writer to watch.”

—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“Washington write scenes to live in and dialogue that’s practically audible on the page, giving his standout first book a novelistic arc and a defiantly satisfying ending.”


“This eagerly awaited short-story collection, excerpted in The New Yorker to much fanfare, depicts its author’s hometown of Houston with empathy, tragedy, and exceptional specificity.”

—Entertainment Weekly, “The 50 Most Anticipated Books of 2019”

“In his debut collection, Washington keeps a narrative spotlight on Houston, exploring the lives that make up its many communities with captivating prose.”

—LitHub, “Most Anticipated Books of 2019”

 Washington’s debut collection, set in his hometown of Houston, has been preceded by a cacophony of buzz.”

—The Huffington Post, “61 Books We’re Looking Forward to Reading in 2019”

 “Washington is a talented essayist—his writing on Houston for Catapult and elsewhere are must-reads—and Lot is a glowing fiction debut…Washington has a keen eye and ear for these moments of desire and drama. His terse sentences punch and pop, and there’s room for our bated breath in the remaining white space.”

—The Millions, “The Great 2019 Book Preview”

“This dazzling debut collection of stories is set in Houston, Texas, and allows readers peeks into the lives of myriad city-dwellers, each representing a different, brilliant aspect of this many-faceted city. Washington’s stories offer an unflinching look at a part of America that many people don’t understand—or care to understand. But Washington’s generosity, empathy, lack of sentimentality, vibrancy, and lyricism make it clear that these people, that Houston, is America, in all its messy, complicated, heartbreaking, life-affirming glory.”

—Nylon, “The Best Books to Read in 2019”

“This debut collection set in the ethnically rich immigrant communities around Houston is gloriously alive linguistically.”

—AM New York, “New Novels to Read in 2019”

 “For those who spent their childhood Sundays at church, Lot is a symbol of God’s capriciousness; for those who didn’t, the word can refer to a quantity, a space, a fate—it depends on the context. The ambiguity and flexibility of the title suits these tales of struggle. As they navigate the bigotry that is so ingrained in American culture and fight against the infinite indignities and frustrations that are inevitable to poverty, these characters experience suffering on a biblical scale. And yet, every story speaks to the tenderness that survives even in harsh, unforgiving places. Lot is divine, a stunning debut that distinguishes Bryan Washington as the voice after the fire.”

—Powell’s Staff Pick