Indiana State University Newsroom

Author to give reading from work on Haitian Diaspora

February 11, 2013

Haiti and women's issues mix for author Roxane Gay, who will give a reading at Indiana State University on Feb. 19

Gay will read from her collection "Ayiti" and other short fiction at 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 19 in the Schick Room (Root Hall A-264). The reading is free and open to the public.

"She's young, she's talented, and incredibly prolific," said Mark Lewandowski, Indiana State's associate professor of English. "Our students should find her work inspiring."

Gay, who is an assistant professor of English at Eastern Illinois University, said she focuses on students' potential.

"I always tell my students that reading and writing matter, no matter what popular wisdom would have us believe," she said. "I also tell them that if they commit to their craft, they can write anything.""Ayiti" tells the story of the Haitian Diaspora experience through fiction, nonfiction and poetry.

"As a writer, I'm always interested in making people feel and think," Gay said. "A lot of my writing, both fiction and nonfiction, explores the issues contemporary women face in ways, I hope, are honest and challenging and full of heart," she said.

In 2014, Gay also will have a novel "Untamed State" published by Grove Atlantic and an essay collection, "Bad Feminist" published by Harper Perennial. "Untamed State" tells the story of a Haitian-American daughter of privilege who is visiting her parents in Port-au-Prince with her American husband and infant son when she is kidnapped. The novel explores her life before, during and after the kidnapping. "Bad Feminist" takes its title from Gay's essay published in the Virginia Quarterly Review. The collection focuses on Gay's writing on feminism, popular culture and literature.

"We're also catching her on the way up," Lewandowski said. "We probably wouldn't be able to afford her even just a year from now."

Gay also serves as the fiction editor of literary magazines PANK and Bluestem.

"For anyone who has aspirations to write, she is a must meet," Lewandowski said.

Contact: Mark Lewandowski, Indiana State University, associate professor of English, at 812-237-8552 or

Writer: Jennifer Sicking, Indiana State University, associate director of media relations, at 812-237-7972 or