LaToya Watkins

Writer, US

LaToya Watkins was born in Texas (USA). Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in A Public Space, The Sun, McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, West Branch, Ruminate Magazine, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, and elsewhere. She is Kimibilo Fiction fellow and has received support from the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Hedgebrook, and Omi Arts. She received a PhD in Aesthetic Studies from the University of Texas at Dallas. She is co-director of the Jack Jones Literary Arts Retreat. LaToya lives and writes in Dallas, Texas.

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Like Animals

While in residency at the Camargo Foundation, LaToya Watkins, whose work is most often concerned with how Black Americans function in the world that has been created for them, worked on a story collection in which she explores how displaced characters navigate worlds, sometimes foreign and sometimes familiar, to them. Watkins is interested in how characters take these pre-created worlds and make them their own and how others respond to their blackness in such worlds. Watkins pays careful attention to language, culture, socio-economic status, education, familial relationships, ideas of “home”, and identity in most of her work, but the stories in this collection are largely threaded together by three unifying themes: identity and sense of self, language, and displacement. The collection largely focuses on the Black displaced experience in various American settings, but while in Cassis, the author worked on two stories set in France.

LaToya Watkins was in residence at the Camargo Foundation in 2020, as part of the Core Program.

Les Carnets de Camargo

To cope with lockdown due to the covid-19 situation in France, we have encouraged our current residents to share their experiences, and so the collaborative project, Les Carnets de Camargo, was born. Visual, written, and spoken testimonies invite us into the residents' lockdown, on the banks of the Mediterranean, hovering between dreams and reality, between illusions and disillusion. As Les Carnets de Camargo also aims at being a bond for our community, through reflection and exchange, these creations will eventually be the testimony of this unprecedented moment.

"Artist residencies are meant to offer some disconnection from the world, but there is usually something familiar for artists to return to in the end. The world around us changed—shut down so quickly and I wanted to capture the panic created by the unknown ahead of us."(LaToya Watkins)

You can read LaToya Watkins' story entitled Return here.