What are you reading on the subway or in the waiting room today?
Shrill by Lindy West. It’s made me laugh and cry in weird, very public places.
What book popped for you in 2016?
I really related to Jessica Valenti’s Sex Object. And so far I’m in love with Shrill.
Whose words do you return to regularly?
Marge Piercy’s poems and Leslie Jamison’s essays.
Is there an author you can’t wait to read next?
I’m really looking forward to reading Landscape With Sex and Violence, Lynn [Melnick]’s new book! And I’ve been wanting to pick up Carmen Maria Machado’s new short story collection, Her Body and Other Parties.
What are you working on now?
Honestly, I’m working on tackling my imposter syndrome and sending out my work. Also, I’m working on a bunch of essays that all seem to be in some way or another about my body, and I’m working on trying not to feel silly when I say I’m writing essays about my body.
What do you hope your work for the VIDA Count will achieve?
This is my third count with VIDA, and it’s been encouraging to see some publications take note and change, and so infuriating to see others simply refuse to. I want to reach a point where they are no longer able to refuse. I want for our work, along with the work that many women writers, queer writers, writers of color, indigenous writers, writers with disabilities, and other marginalized people are producing, to disrupt the status quo of straight white cis male literary “greatness” so significantly that it simply has to change— that cultural tastemakers can’t continue to go on ignoring us.
Have you witnessed any of the effects of the VIDA Count in the literary world?
I have, definitely— I see more and more small lit mags committed to publishing work by women and by marginalized voices every day, which is super cool. Inside the literary community, especially the indie lit community, people are paying attention. In the grander scheme, there’s tons more work to be done, and I think we’ll really be making progress when readers who are less directly engaged with the literary world also start to think more carefully about what they put on their bookshelves. The fact that almost all of the National Book Award Finalists this year are women is amazing and gratifying and well-deserved.