(Canceled!) John Larison discusses Whiskey When We're Dry

(Canceled due to weather) John Larison discusses his new novel Whiskey When We're Dry

Friday 9/14, 6:30 p.m.


From a blazing new voice in fiction, a gritty and lyrical American epic about a young woman who disguises herself as a boy and heads west.

In the spring of 1885, seventeen-year-old Jessilyn Harney finds herself orphaned and alone on her family’s homestead. Desperate to fend off starvation and predatory neighbors, she cuts off her hair, binds her chest, saddles her beloved mare, and sets off across the mountains to find her outlaw brother Noah and bring him home. A talented sharpshooter herself, Jess’s quest lands her in the employ of the territory’s violent, capricious Governor, whose militia is also hunting Noah—dead or alive.

Wrestling with her brother’s outlaw identity, and haunted by questions about her own, Jess must outmaneuver those who underestimate her, ultimately rising to become a hero in her own right. Told in Jess’s wholly original and unforgettable voice, Whiskey When We’re Dry is a stunning achievement, an epic as expansive as America itself—and a reckoning with the myths that are entwined with our history. Through his complex and emotionally vibrant ensemble of characters, Larison deftly widens the cast of the American epic, and by exploring those perspectives usually overlooked in our traditional stories of the West, he paints a broader picture of who we are as a nation today, making Whiskey When We're Dry a unique and powerful addition to the literary canon.


John Larison earned an MFA from Oregon State University in 2007. During the eight years he was writing Whiskey When We're Dry, he worked as a fly-fishing guide, a college writing instructor, and a freelance contributor to outdoor magazines. He lives with his family in rural Oregon.




Praise for Whiskey When We're Dry

Whiskey When We’re Dry is the story of a surprising heroine. In her search for home and family, orphaned Jessilyn Harney rides out on a lonely quest, and invents herself anew. Narrated in a voice cobbled out of slang and sagebrush, Larison’s novel is a vivid and fast-paced frontier saga.”
—Kate Manning, author of My Notorious Life


“Larison gifts Jess with a strong voice to narrate her own story…. his western epic has wide appeal”


“Told in Jessilyn’s hard-hitting voice, [WHISKEY WHEN WE’RE DRY] has the resonance of a high lonesome ballad.”
Library Journal


“An orphan girl straight out of a Gillian Welch song, betrayed in every way imaginable by the brutality that ‘won the West,’ is left no way to hew a family or honor but to become a virtuoso cross-dressed killer of Manifest Destiny’s men. As Jessilyn Harney takes on the great lies and liars with lyrical violence, her voice takes flight, becoming a sustained, forlornly beautiful, mind-bending aria for our age.”
—David James Duncan, author of The River Why
Event date: 
Friday, September 14, 2018 - 6:30pm
Event address: 
752 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
Whiskey When We're Dry Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735220447
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Viking - August 21st, 2018