Contemporary American Authors Lecture Series
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The Marygrove Conservancy proudly presents feminist cultural critic Roxane Gay as the thirty-second guest in the Contemporary American Authors Lecture Series. Dr. Gay will deliver the Bauder Lecture via Facebook at 7:00 pm on Friday, April 23, 2021. This event is free and open to the public.


Roxane Gay’s fiction and nonfiction reflect “passionate opinions” and offer “willful provocations” about race, gender, and the human body.  She is the author of two books of short stories, Ayiti (2011) and Difficult Women (2017); a novel, An Untamed State (2014); The New York Times best-selling essay collection, Bad Feminist (2014); and the provocative memoir, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body (2017). In a collaboration with poet Yona Harvey, Gay produced the Marvel comic book, Black Panther: World of Wakanda (2016).  Dr. Gay is also the editor of Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture (2018) and The Best American Short Stories, 2018 (2018). Her stories and essays have appeared in A Public Space, McSweeney’s, Tin House, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, Virginia Quarterly Review, Oxford American, Prairie Schooner, and The Nation, and in Best American Mystery Stories 2014, Best American Short Stories 2012, and Best Sex Writing 2012.  She is a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times and from 2015 to 2018 was a columnist for Guardian US.


Katy Waldman in Slate says that Gay “filters every observation through her deep sense of the world as fractured, beautiful, and complex.” Publishers Weekly asserts, “Whatever her topic, Gay’s provocative essays stand out for their bravery, wit, and emotional honesty.” Writing in The New York Times, Carina Chocano regards Hunger as “an intellectually rigorous and deeply moving exploration of the ways in which trauma, stories, desire, language and metaphor shape our experiences and construct our reality.” In the New Republic, Rafia Zakaria calls Hunger “A work of staggering honesty” that is “poignantly told.”  And in The Seattle Times, Moira Macdonald describes it as “a memoir that’s so brave, so raw it feels as if she’s entrusting you with her soul.”

Gay has received the 2015 Pen Center USA Freedom to Write Award, a 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts, a 2018 Eisner Award, and two 2018 Lambda Literary awards. Born in Omaha, she attended high school in New Hampshire at Phillips Exeter Academy and then studied at Yale University, Vermont College of Norwich University, and the University of Nebraska, Lincoln before completing a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Technical Communication at Michigan Technological University. She has held faculty positions at Eastern Illinois, Purdue, and Yale Universities.


The Contemporary American Authors Lecture Series

Now in its thirty-second year, the Contemporary American Authors Lecture Series is an annual event bringing a nationally known African American author to our campus for a public lecture and class session or conversation. Through the generous support of corporate donors, foundations, advertisers, friends, Marygrove College alumni and Board of Trustees members, and the Lillian and Donald Bauder Endowment, the series has remained free and accessible to the entire metropolitan Detroit community. To date, nearly 10,000 people have attended the Friday night public readings to hear outstanding writers share their work.

The Contemporary American Authors Lecture Series and Defining Detroit, a program of the Institute for Detroit Studies at Marygrove, have brought to Detroit audiences the recipients of eleven MacArthur “Genius” Grants, nine National Book Awards, eight Guggenheim Fellowships, six Pulitzer Prizes, five Pushcart Prizes, three Emmy Awards, and one Man Booker Prize. In addition, the two series have welcomed three U.S. Poets Laureate and one Presidential Inaugural Poet.