As part of a in-house cultural series in honor of Black History Month (in February), young fiction writer Danielle Evans stopped by NPR headquarters to read from her debut book, Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self. She read from the short story, "Wherever You Go, There You Are," which follows a displaced woman recently out of a serious relationship, and a short road trip she takes to visit a rock star ex-boyfriend, accompanied by her impressionable teenage cousin.
Evans' writing is funny, sad, often colloquial (in a charming way) and capricious. She manages to capture moments of truth without browbeating, and to speak in the voice (and slang) of today's youth without losing any sophistication.
Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self was named a best book of the year by NPR's Alan Cheuse, and Evans chose her own favorite "outsider" books for NPR in December. She is currently based in Washington, D.C., where she teaches writing at American University and is currently hard at work on her first novel.
Enjoy the reading — and read the full story — below.