The purpose of writing is not simply to tell stories, but to tell stories that matter. Francisco Cantú’s stories that matter have propelled him onto the international stage. A former Border Patrol agent who worked throughout the Southwest, Cantú’s borderlands memoir The Line Becomes A River: Dispatches from the Border recounted the horrifying behavior of border agents toward migrants, including dumping out life-saving water in the desert. Haunted by what he saw, Cantú fled the force after almost four years. His book was widely discussed and it landed at the top of several year-end best-of lists and secured a nomination for 2018’s National Book Critics Circle Award. But more importantly, he told a local—and international—story that needed to be told.
2. J.A. Jance
3. Kimi Eisele