Author and cultural critic Roxane Gay will be the 2020 Community MLK Celebration keynote speaker. Gay will deliver the keynote address at the Paramount Theater on Thursday, January 23, 2020.
A free pre-event reception will begin at 5:30pm.
UPDATE: AS OF 12/13/19, THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT. THE DAY OF THE EVENT, ANY UNCLAIMED TICKETS WILL BE RELEASED AT 6:20 PM AT THE DOOR TO PATRONS IN THE STANDBY LINE.
Roxane Gay is an author and cultural critic whose writing is unmatched and widely revered. Her work garners 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 Roxane. 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 2017, Roxane 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 Roxane; it has been described as "essential reading" and a "call to arms" by its readers. Roxane's newest work, How to Be Heard, is set to release in 2019.
Roxane 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.
The event is presented by the University of Virginia Division for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, in partnership with the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy; Lifetime Learning in the Office of Engagement; the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost; the Vice Provost for the Arts; the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality; the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women's Center; the School of Data Science; and the Office of the Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer.