Roxane Gay - History Month

Roxane Gay - History Month

Roxane Gay is a renowned cultural critic, acclaimed author, and accomplished editor. She has contributed as an opinion writer for esteemed publications like The New York Times, The Guardian, Salon, and Rumpus, with her work gracing numerous other periodicals. Additionally, she made history as the first Black woman to write for Marvel Comics.

Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Gay's summers were spent visiting her family in Haiti. At the age of 12, she faced a harrowing experience, enduring a traumatic assault by a group of boys.

Gay embarked on her education at Phillips Exeter Academy, a highly esteemed boarding school. While she initially pursued studies at Yale University, the weight of her early trauma became too much to bear, prompting her to withdraw at 19. This led her to Arizona alongside a partner significantly older than her. Her parents eventually located her, and she returned to Nebraska, where she pursued and earned her master’s degree. Later, she achieved her Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Technical Communication from Michigan Technological University in 2010. This marked the beginning of her teaching career in English, initially at Eastern Illinois University, while also working as an editor for a magazine. Her academic journey has included roles at Purdue and Yale Universities.

In 2011, Gay unveiled "Ayiti," her inaugural collection of short stories. Her debut novel, "An Untamed State," and the essay collection, "Bad Feminist," published in 2014, catapulted her to New York Times best-selling status. From 2015 to 2018, she held a column in The Guardian magazine.

2016 saw a significant milestone as, with assistance from Yona Harvey, Gay co-authored the Marvel Comic series "World of Wakanda," a spinoff of Black Panther, lauded for its LGBTQ representation.

Gay's second compilation of short stories, "Difficult Women," stormed the national best-seller list in January 2017. Just six months later, she released "Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body," her second New York Times best-seller. This work ignited discussions surrounding fatphobia and Gay's personal experiences with obesity, which she has described as her "fortress." In 2018, she curated the anthology "Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture," featuring essays from both Gay and 29 other accomplished writers.

Teaming up with Medium magazine, Gay founded Gay Magazine in 2019. The same year, her heist thriller "The Banks" was published by TKO Studios.

In 2021, Gay introduced "The Audacity," a newsletter and book club highlighting works by underrepresented American authors. Her extensive contributions have earned her prestigious awards, including the Lambda Literary Award for Excellence in Literature and the PEN Center USA Freedom to Write Award.

Gay proudly identifies as bisexual and shares her life with her spouse, Debbie Millman, a talented artist.

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