5 Questions with Roxane Gay

bad feministIt’s been an action-packed week at City Lights Bookstore, with four events in four days. Our last event this week (Thursday, October 25 at 7PM to be precise) stars none other than Roxane Gay, author of the highly praised book of essays, Bad Feminist, and a novel, An Untamed State.

As with all our 5 Questions posts, the questions are the always the same.

Who: Roxane Gay’s writing has appeared in Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, West Branch, Virginia Quarterly Review, NOON, The New York Times Book Review, Bookforum, Time, The Los Angeles Times, The Nation, The Rumpus, Salon, The Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy culture blog, and many others. She is the co-editor of PANK and essays editor for The Rumpus. She teaches writing at Eastern Illinois University. Her novel, An Untamed State, has been published by Grove Atlantic. Bad Feminist appears from HarperCollins.

Event: Thursday, October 25, 7PM in the main room. “An Evening with Roxane Gay” – she will discuss her book of essays, Bad Feminist, and likely read from them.

About the Book: Bad Feminist is a collection of essays spanning politics, criticism, and feminism from one of the most-watched young cultural observers of her generation, Roxane Gay.

roxannegay“Pink is my favorite color. I used to say my favorite color was black to be cool, but it is pink—all shades of pink. If I have an accessory, it is probably pink. I read Vogue, and I’m not doing it ironically, though it might seem that way. I once live-tweeted the September issue.”

In these funny and insightful essays, Roxane Gay takes us through the journey of her evolution as a woman (Sweet Valley High) of color (The Help) while also taking readers on a ride through culture of the last few years (Girls, Django in Chains) and commenting on the state of feminism today (abortion, Chris Brown). The portrait that emerges is not only one of an incredibly insightful woman continually growing to understand herself and our society, but also one of our culture.

Bad Feminist is a sharp, funny, and spot-on look at the ways in which the culture we consume becomes who we are, and an inspiring call-to-arms of all the ways we still need to do better.

City Lights: If you’ve been to City Lights before, what’s your memory of the visit?

Roxane Gay: I haven’t been to City Lights in many years, but I remember the eclectic
selection of books. That is always the mark of a great bookstore for me, to see that the booksellers have diverse and interesting literary tastes.

CL: If your book had a soundtrack, what would it be?

RG: “Come Pick Me Up” by Ryan Adams; “Have a Heart” by Bonnie Raitt; “#1 Crush” by Garbage; “I Am a Woman” by Helen Reddy; “Flawless” by Beyoncé; “Primtime” by Janelle Monae; “Age of Consent” by New Order; “Left Ey3” by Kreayshawn; “Pour It Up” by Rihanna; “Bad Girls” by M.I.A.; “All Those Girls” by Jolie Holland; “Danger” by Erykah Badu

CL: What’s the first book you actually finished reading?

RG: Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

CL: If you weren’t a writer, what might you do?

RG: I’ve always wanted to be an emergency room physician.

CL: Name a few things you’d require if stranded on a desert island for an undefined period of time (and, yes, no wifi).

RG: I would only need one thing, one person really, and she knows who she is. I also wouldn’t mind some Diet Cherry Pepsi and my books and a Monopoly set.


For more Roxane, check out her website and definitely follow her Twitter feed. For more info about this event and all the other fantastic ones happening this fall, go to the City Lights events page.

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