The Millions

Bryan Washington’s Houston Is a City of Multitudes

Bryan Washington’s debut collection is an ode to his native Houston and a meditation on what it was like to grow up queer and black in such a white, conservative state. His stories address issues of masculinity, race, socioeconomic status, and sexuality. Each story is set in a specific part of the sprawling city, which, over the course of the book, takes on a life of its own, becoming something of a character.

Prior to publishing Lot, Washington racked up a series of serious bylines ranging from traditional heavyweights like The New York Times, The Paris Review, and The New Yorker to new media outlets like Buzzfeed and Catapult. In every Washington piece there is a sense of tenderness, fortitude, and unguarded honesty.

I spoke with Washington about how his fiction developed over the years and what makes Houston such a character both in his collection as well as in real life.

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