FIGHTING IN THE SHADE by Sterling Watson

FIGHTING IN THE SHADE is the newest novel by the Eckerd College Writers’ Conference: Writers in Paradise co-director, Sterling Watson, and will be published this summer by Akashic Books!

“A brilliant, fearless look at the savage rites of passage that exist in the fraternity of American sports. A book as gripping and unforgettable as any in recent memory.” —Dennis Lehane, author of Mystic River and editor of Boston Noir

 “The story of what it means to be a man in our culture is an important, vital narrative and it has found one of its best chroniclers in Sterling Watson. This is a powerful, beautifully written book about attitudes and practices that we want to believe are safely in the past. Instead, as Watson reminds us, corruption and cruelty survive through their uncanny ability to take on new shapes.”–Laura Lippman, author of I’d Know You Anywhere     

“Sterling Watson’s Fighting in the Shade is an unflinching novel about loyalty and manhood. Like Pat Conroy’s The Lords of Discipline, it is simply unforgettable.”–Ann Hood, author of The Red Thread

 “Sterling Watson’s polished prose carries this coming-of-age story smoothly from the enthralling to the unsettling, from the poignant to the disturbing, leaving the reader in emotional knots. An uncompromising look at sports, secrets, sexuality, and the SouthÊthat makes a commentary on relationships ranging from personal to universal.”–Michael Koryta, author of The Ridge

Starred review for FIGHTING IN THE SHADE in Publisher’s Weekly:

High school football mixes with Faust in this blitz of a novel from Watson (The Calling). Billy Dyer is the new kid in town at his Florida high school during the mid-1960s. He’s also a talented football player who brings an element of violence to the game, and during a perverse hazing ritual, Billy refuses to endure humiliation and busts his way out with the same force he brings to his football playing. The ensuing fight has dire consequences: Billy is kicked off the team, but, more significantly, during the melee, he badly hurts one of his teammates. With the team now shorthanded and losing, the school’s boosters beg Billy to come back to the team, and out of concern for his mother–recently divorced from Billy’s alcoholic lawyer father, and none too well-off–Billy negotiates a price and becomes a star, but at what cost? Meanwhile, Billy’s father may be in on some dodgy dealings with a shady character who has an interest in the team, and, more pointedly, in Billy. The novel avoids slipping into morality tale excess as it spins out a big Dennis Lehane–like story of society, opportunity, and consequences, revealing Watson as an accomplished storyteller. (Aug.)

Book signings and events for FIGHTING IN THE SHADE:


Book Signing

Event Time: 3:00pm – 6:00pm


Haslam’s Book Store

2025 Central Avenue

St. Petersburg, Florida 33713

For further information about the signing, please contact Haslams’ Book Store.

Haslam’s Phone Number:
(727) 822-8616

Haslam’s Event Website:


Book Signing, Reception, and Conversation with Dennis Lehane

Event Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm


The Mysterious Bookshop

58 Warren Street

New York, NY 10007

More Info:

*Dennis Lehane, editor of Boston Noir, presents Sterling Watson’s book launch party and reception. Complimentary wine, beer, and hors d’oeuvres will be served.

For further information about this event, please contact The Mysterious Bookshop.

The Mysterious Bookshop Email:

The Mysterious Bookshop Phone:

The Mysterious Bookshop Events Website:


Book Signing, Reception, and Conversation with Dennis Lehane

Event Time: 7:00pm – 10:00pm


Newtonville Books

296 Walnut St

Newton, Massachusetts
*Dennis Lehane, editor of Boston Noir, presents Sterling Watson’s book launch party and reception.

For further information about this book signing, please contact Newtonville Books.

Newtonville Books Phone:

Newtonville Books Website:


St. Petersburg Times Festival of Reading

Event Time: 10:00am – 4:00pm


140 Seventh Avenue South

Bayboro Harbor

St. Petersburg, FL

More details to come!

For more information about the St. Pete Times Festival of Reading, please visit:


Miami Book Fair International


Miami Dade College – Downtown Miami, Florida
Exact date, time, and location of panel and signing TBA.

For more information about the Miami Book Fair, please visit:

Sterling Watson is the author of six novels, including The Calling, Sweet Dream Baby, and Weep No More My Brother, which was nominated for the Rosenthal Award given annually by the National Academy Institute of Arts and Letters. His short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Prairie Schooner, the Georgia Review, the Los Angeles Times Book Review, the Michigan Quarterly Review, and the Southern Review. He is director of the Creative Writing Program at Eckerd College and holder of the Peter Meinke Chair in Literature and Creative Writing.

FIGHTING IN THE SHADE is available via:


Barnes & Noble

Akashic Books

Follow the news about FIGHTING IN THE SHADE on the Sterling Watson Books page on Facebook.


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