A reading list could never do author Roxane Gay justice. For one thing, she’s incredibly prolific. She writes, edits, teaches and tweets. Within the past few months, she’s garnered acclaim for her intense novel, An Untamed State, and her collection of essays, Bad Feminist. These are just the facts.
I don’t remember discovering Gay’s work. I remember requesting to follow her on Twitter and the elation I felt after receiving her approval. I remember reading her stark personal essays for The Rumpus. I remember reading one my favorite stories of hers out loud to an ex while he listened obligingly. He didn’t love it, but I did. I had never read anything like it in my life. I was obsessed. Her commentary on current events, her appreciation of pop culture, her honesty and nuance—she’s Good, with a capital G.
If you haven’t had the privilege of reading Gay before, let this be a primer. She has written dozens and dozens of essays and short stories, many of which she lists on her website. I’ve included two wonderful recent interviews, a smattering of short stories and more. Longreads recently featured an excerpt from Gay’s novel, An Untamed State. If that doesn’t hook you, nothing will.
1. “Roxane Gay: Meet the Bad Feminist.” (Kira Cochrane, The Guardian, August 2014)
2. “Roxane Gay Will Make You Proud to Be a Bad Feminist.” (Hannah Levintova, Mother Jones, July 2014)
Gay identifies primarily as a writer of fiction. Over the years, she has used different forms to tell powerful stories.
1. “I Am a Knife.” (The Center for Fiction)
2. “Something Sweet for Someone Good to Hold.” (Cobalt Review)
3. “Break All The Way Down.” (Joyland)
4. “Law and Order: The Complete Series.” (FRiGG)
5. “The Shape of My Mouth.” (Night Train)
1. “Bad Feminist.” (VQR)
2. “What We Hunger For.” (The Rumpus)
3. “I Was Once Miss America.” (Bookslut)
5. “Not Here to Make Friends.” (Buzzfeed)
- Commentary on current events for Salon, including the media’s treatment of Trayvon Martin and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Paula Deen’s racism.
- Blog posts that often combine delicious recipes and Gay’s personal life, from her past disordered eating to her love of Los Angeles.
(What’s your favorite thing by Roxane Gay? Comment & tell us.)
Photo: Kelly Writers House