Strivers and Other Stories” won the the 2016 Washington Writers’ Publishing House fiction prize.  The collection was published on November 1, 2016.

“The feathery touch of these graceful short tales conceals melancholic undertones of helplessness and American class and race divisions.”  -Kirkus Reviews

“If the best fiction aims to dissect social reality, this collection fits in with that long, distinguished, and dazzling tradition.” -Washington City Paper

“Williams writes vividly about the American south, making the region itself a central character in his first collection of short fiction.” -Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C.


Set primarily in the American South between the 1920s and the present day, STRIVERS AND OTHER STORIES explores a range of African-American and other voices reflecting characters striving towards their versions of the American dream.   We meet teachers and doctors, train porters and factory workers, soldiers and musicians; mothers, fathers, children and spouses; mentors and mentees. With a mix of humor and heart, satire and sentiment, this collection captures their everyday struggles for better lives and their hopes for promising futures.

Hi-Res Author Photo
Hi-Res Cover
WWPH Press Release
Author Q&A
Story Summaries
Kirkus Review
Washington City Paper Review

“Strivers is an impressive collection filled with memorable characters pushing against the limits imposed on them—by family, fate, racism, and their own flaws and aspirations. With insight and compassion, Williams offers thoughtful portraits of ordinary lives in these stories; in so doing, he presents a varied and vibrant gallery of Black middle-class life in the South. His prose is smart and subtle, and like his characters, it is fueled by a longing heart.”  -Brendan Short, author of Dream City

“[Strivers and Other Stories]  span the 1920s to the present and generally offer insights into the African-American condition in the United States. They are often set in the South and distilled into elegantly observed little narratives that border on vignettes. For the most part, there are no epic Marches on Washington, police dog riots, or Ku Klux Klan horrors, but rather emotionally intricate, character-driven portraits that typically end with muted epiphanies, quiet even when life-changing.The feathery touch of these graceful short tales conceals melancholic undertones of helplessness and American class and race divisions.”  Kirkus Reviews

“The 15 stories in Strivers are impressive and conjure one social milieu after another, but there are no postmodernist fireworks here. And thank goodness for that—such stylistic posturing would only deflect attention from the main thing: what’s in these people’s hearts and how to make that square (or not) with their world.”  Washington City Paper


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$16.95 Paperback | ISBN: 978-1-941551-11-0 | Publication Date: 11/1/ 2016

To schedule readings, interviews or obtain review copies, please contact:
David Ebenbach

To contact author directly:

Press Kit: 


Reading Events

Enjoyed the opportunities to read from and talk about “Strivers and Other Stories” at some great bookstores in and around Washington, D.C. and at the Lucy Laney Museum in my hometown of Augusta, Georgia. Also thanks to the plucky staff at Washington Writers Publishing house for putting together and allowing me to participate in a panel at the 2017 AWP conference. It was a  fun experience. It takes a lot of energy to read and talk about your work. Much respect to the writers who do this on the regular!

LOGOSaturday, March 18, 2017

Robert Harper Books: Third Saturday Readings
Time: 2:00 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: 6216 Rhode Island Avenue, Riverdale Park, MD 20737


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Politics & Prose Bookstore: WWPH Prize Winners – Poetry and Prose Reading
Time: 1:00 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Location:  5015 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

An honor to read at one of the most storied literary venues in all of D.C.



February 11, 2017

Association of Writers & Writing Programs 2017 Conference – WWPH Panel
Time:  3p.m. – 4:15
Location: Washington Convention Center/ Marriot Marquis, Washington, DC

Small Press, Big City: 45 Years of Washington Writers Publishing HouseWashington Writers Publishing House is a unique literary venture—a cooperative press staffed by previous winners of an annual contest and committed to discovering and promoting diverse voices from the Washington, Baltimore, and Northern Virginia area. Kathleen Wheaton, Robert J. Williams, Patricia Schultheis, David Ebenbach and Melanie Hatter will read from their WWPH books and discuss the workings of a small press.

LCL25annivLOGOFebruary 19, 2017

Strivers and Other Stories – Book Reading and Signing
Time:  3 p.m.
Location: Lucy Craft Laney, Museum of Black History, Augusta, GA

A welcome home reading at the Museum of Black History in Augusta.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Writers’ Center:  WWPH Prize Winners – Poetry and Prose Reading
Time: 2:00 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location:  4508 Walsh St, Chevy Chase, MD 20815



Saturday, November 12, 2016

Sankofa Video, Books & Cafe – “Strivers and Other Stories” Reading and Signing
Time: 2:00 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Location: 2714 Georgia Avenue, Washington, DC 20001 (Across the street from the Howard University)

Can’t say enough about the generosity and support Haile and Shirikiana Gerima provided to make this event happen. It was an amazing experience to read on Georgia Avenue and think about the African-American literary greats who passed along that very way in and around Howard University.