K. L. Barron


I am a writer of place: poetry and prose. My prize-winning fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction has been published in New Letters, The Bennington Review, Little Balkans Review, terrain.org, ChickenBones (Library of Congress), among others, and in several anthologies. I teach writing and literature at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas and live and write in the Flint Hills.

My debut novel Thirst came out 15 November from Sea Crow Press.

I was drawn to tell this story because of my personal experience of living in the desert village of Tchin-Tabaraden, Niger among the nomads for a couple of years and have never forgotten it. I wanted to set a story there because of the high contrast, dominating landscape and to shine a light on and capture some of the nomads’ endangered traditional culture on the page before it disappears much as the Native Americans’ did.

Betrayal forces a young woman to flee a relationship and forge a new life in one of the most brutal landscapes in the world only to become involved with the threatened breakup of an entire culture where everyone must find a way to survive.

A diverse cast of displaced westerners and local nomads converge in this story of love, personal and cultural identity, and what it takes to survive. Despite the distraction of an ex-lover stalking the main character to a remote village on the edge of the Sahara, the surprising confession of her best friend, a complicated relationship with and uncertain identity of a woman posing as a man who regularly shows up in her village selling cigarettes, the threat of the local djinn, and a corrupt government, the main character eventually adapts to the culture and her job while recognizing her part in the threatened dissolution of a nomadic culture before everything comes undone.

“Deftly written and crafted.”

Mark Sullivan, best selling author of The Last Green Valley

Thirst will haunt you. Set in a space so remote and uniquely fascinating that every page brings new cultural revelations, this novel introduces western readers to Niger’s Tuareg people with deep compassion. K. L. Barron has created a multicultural cast of unforgettable characters whose personal quirks and vulnerabilities lead to both joyous and tragic consequences, but the most powerful character is the desert itself. As beautiful and ruthless as a god, the Sahel shapes survival into a form of worship.

Aimee Liu, author of Glorious Boy

“Every page made me want to read more.”

Laura Moriarty, author of The Center of Everything

Every book purchased includes a dollar donation to Rain for the Sahel and Sahara partnering with rural & nomadic people in Niger through access to education and opportunity

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