By: Lauren W.
A short compilation of a few modern-day feminist writers and activists to grace your bookshelves in the near future.
In honor of Women’s History Month, I wanted to find a diverse array of writers who identify as women and whose work focuses on feminism, equal rights, and/or intersectionality. This Women’s History Month, I wanted to focus on some lesser-known authors you may not have heard of. As readers, these variety of perspectives can give us a glimpse into the lives of different women, appreciate their legacies, and learn and sympathize from their struggles. Women’s History Month reminds us that women are strong, important members of society not just for the month of March, but every day of the year.
Roxane Gay– An award-winning short-story writer and novelist, Roxane Gay’s writing focuses on her struggle with acceptance in the Black community, her childhood trauma surrounding sexual assault, and her experiences as an overweight woman in our thin-centric society. Her most popular works include: Bad Feminist, a collection of short stories focusing on politics, feminism, and criticism; Hunger, a memoir surrounding food, appearance, pleasure, and anxiety; and Ayiti, a collection of stories that explores the Haitian diaspora experience. You can learn more about Gay and discover her other works at Roxanegay.com.
Kate Bornstein– Transgender activist Kate Bornstein is a playwrite, actor, novelist, and gender theorist. Since her transition from male to female in the 1980s, she has since decided to live her life outside the confines of the gender binary, and her work reflects her struggle with gender identity and self-expression. Some of her titles include: Gender Outlaw, which is described as “Part coming-of-age story, part mind-altering manifesto on gender and sexuality”; My New Gender Workbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving World Peace Through Gender Anarchy and Sex Positivity, a practice guide to helping discover your own sexual identity; and A Queer and Pleasant Danger: The true story of a nice Jewish boy who joins the Church of Scientology, and leaves twelve years later to become the lovely lady she is today, which is exactly what you think it is. To read more of Kate’s story, visit their website at Katebornstein.com.
Staceyann Chin– A Jamaican-born activist, writer, poet, and performer, Staceyann Chin’s work draws from her abusive childhood and grappling with her queer identity as a young woman. She has received numerous awards for her performances, including a 2003 Drama Desk Award for co-writing and performing in the Broadway production of Def Poetry Jam. She has also performed at various universities, reading her poetry and performing her one-woman shows. She boasts many achievements in activism, such as the 2009 New York State Senate Special Human Rights Award, the 2008 Safe Haven Award from Immigration Equality, the 2008 Honors from the Lesbian AIDS Project, and the 2007 Power of the Voice Award from the Human Rights Campaign (SoapboxINC). Her works include: The Other Side of Paradise, a memoir relaying the abuse she suffered as a child, the homes she bounced between, and her struggle with accepting her sexuality; Crossfire: A Litany for Survival, a collection of her poems; as well as numerous poems in anthologies such as Bullets and Butterflies. Check out her page on Poetryfoundation.org to see her poems.
Gabby Rivera– A queer Puerto Rican witer and activist from the Bronx, Gabby Rivera is the first Latina to write for Marvel comics. In her words she writes “for the baby queers and her mom.” She also began a podcast called joy revolution in 2020. Her novel Juliet Takes a Breath is a YA book that Roxane Gay called “f*cking outstanding”, so you know it’s good! She also is a writer and creator of her original comic series, b.b. free. Her Marvel Comic, AMERICA, follows the life of queer Latina superhero America Chavez. Check out her website, Gabbyrivera.com, for more information on what she is currently up to.
Rebecca Solnit– Rebecca Solnit is a writer, historian, and activist who has over 20 titles to her name. Her work focuses on western and indigenous history, feminism, social change, and more. A California native, she is also now a columnist for The Guardian. Some of her works include: Men Explain Things To Me, where she coined the term “mansplaining”; Recollections of my Nonexistence, a novel detailing how she became a writer and feminist in 1980s San Francisco; as well as many essays such as “City of Women” that looks at the overt and covert subversion of women we experience daily. Check out her website, Rebeccasolnit.net, for more information on her work and life.
If you are writing a book review or book report on any written work, not just the ones above, make an appointment with the University Writing Center today!