Press ReleaseLocal Libraries LIT to host author and cultural critic Roxane Gay virtually on April 29

Local Libraries LIT (Listen, Initiate, Talk) will host Roxane Gay, award-winning author, professor, editor, and social commentator, during a unique hour-long online program featuring a reading and opportunity to interact. The program will begin at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom, on Thursday, April 29, and reservations are required. The program is free to the public and donations are welcomed, but not required.

Roxane Gay’s writing is unmatched, and widely revered, and has garnered international acclaim for its reflective, no-holds-barred exploration of feminism and social criticism.  With a deft eye on modern culture, she brilliantly critiques its ebb and flow with both wit and ferocity.  

Words like “courage,” “humor,” and “smart” are frequently deployed when describing Gay. Her collection of essays, Bad Feminist, is universally considered the quintessential exploration of modern feminism. NPR named it one of the best books of the year and Salon declared the book “trailblazing.” Her powerful debut novel, An Untamed State, was long listed for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize.  In 2016, she won the Paul Engle Prize presented by the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature. In 2017, Gay released her bestselling memoir, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, which was called “Luminous…intellectually rigorous and deeply moving” by The New York Times. She also released her collection of short stories, Difficult Women. The Los Angeles Times says of the collection, “There’s a distinct echo of Angela Carter or Helen Oyeyemi at play; dark fables and twisted morality tales sit alongside the contemporary and the realistic…”

In 2018, she released Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture, a valuable and searing anthology edited by Gay; it has been described as “essential reading” and a “call to arms” by its readers. In 2020, Roxane released Graceful Burdens, an incisive collection of funny, enraging, and hopeful stories of women’s empowerment and escape, as well as a graphic novel called The Sacrifice of Darkness. She has several books forthcoming and is also at work on television and film projects.

Gay co-hosts Hear to Slay with Tressie McMillan Cottom – a podcast with an intersectional perspective on celebrity, culture, politics, art, life, love, and more. She is also a contributing op-ed writer for The New York Times, was the co-editor of PANK, and formerly was the non-fiction editor at The Rumpus. Her writing has appeared in McSweeney’s, The Nation and many other publications. She was the first Black woman to ever write for Marvel, writing a comic series in the Black Panther universe called World of Wakanda. Roxane fronts a small army of avid fans on social media and when she finds the time, she dominates the occasional Scrabble tournament.

How to register

Registration is open until 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 29 at

While the event is free and open to the general public, financial contributions will be welcomed to support local libraries and to fund future programs in this series. 

Questions? Contact:

Patty McCarthy, Iowa City Public Library Development Office Coordinator

Local Libraries LIT (Listen, Initiate, Talk) introduces thought-provoking writers to community members in a unique partnership between the public libraries in Coralville, Iowa City, and North Liberty, and the University of Iowa Libraries with support from The Tuesday Agency. The goal of Local Libraries LIT is to fuel conversations and actions to grow more inclusive communities.

Roxane Gay