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Contributor Spotlight on Roxane Gay

by Dan Froid

Roxane Gay could be anywhere right now. She’s been almost everywhere lately. Earlier this year, Nolan Feeny wrote in a review of An Untamed State, “Let this be the year of Roxane Gay.” And that seems to be ever increasingly the case. This year, she released an essay collection, Bad Feminist (Harper Perennial), as well as her debut novel, An Untamed State (Grove Atlantic). Both books have enjoyed impressive reviews and equally impressive sales; they’ve both had spots on the New York Times bestseller list, and Bad Feminist recently entered its seventh printing. (How often does that happen to a two-month-old book that Amazon classifies under “Women Writers” and “Feminist Theory”?) In addition to her latest successes, Gay also has a formidable online presence. She’s wildly popular and prolific on Twitter, where, among other things, she live-tweets Barefoot Contessa (a few days ago: “Ina is playing taste testing games w/ her friends. Quietly sadistic. I like it.”). She currently recaps Outlander for Vulture. She also keeps a regular blog, where she often weaves personal reflection into narratives of her adventures in cooking. And soon Roxane Gay will have her own vertical at The Toast—called The Butter—which will feature cultural criticism and personal essays.

Most recently, Gay’s short story “The Year I Learned Everything” was listed as notable in Best American Short Stories 2014. That story was originally published in the spring 2013 issue of Prairie Schooner; read an excerpt here (full access with subscription).

For more with Roxane Gay, read these interviews (two of many currently circulating online), at The New York Times and Mother Jones. For those of you who have been enjoying your Facebook friends’ lists of their top ten books, try reading her recent essay, “The Books That Made Me Who I Am,” on Buzzfeed.  You can also read more about her on her website. And yes, check her out on Twitter. Join her 29,000+ followers who, not only amused by Barefoot Contessa tweets, have been clued into this great cultural force and have already noticed that this is indeed the year of Roxane Gay.