James won the 2015 Man Booker Prize for Fiction for A Brief History of Seven Killings, making him the first Jamaican author to take home the U.K.’s most prestigious literary award. He will lead a roundtable discussion at 4:15 p.m. Thursday, April 5, in Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, 1115 Eighth Ave., Grinnell. He also will give the Annual Distinguished Author Lecture at 8 p.m., in the same location. This annual event is funded by a generous donation from an anonymous donor.
In his presentations, James will discuss his writing process, as well as the issues he explores in his work—Caribbean history, race and gender in the U.S. and U.K., and youth subcultures as expressed in literature and music, especially hip hop and reggae. A professor of English and creative writing at Macalester College, James has had his work published in Esquire, Granta, Harper’s, The Caribbean Review of Books, and The New York Times Magazine, among others.
On Friday, April 6, Grinnell College Assistant Professor of English and award-winning author Alissa Nutting will interview Gay, a best-selling author and cultural critic whose writing is widely revered. The interview will start at noon in Harris Center Cinema, 1114 10th Ave., Grinnell.
Gay’s work has garnered 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. She recently became the first black woman to ever write for Marvel, authoring a comic series in the Black Panther universe called World of Wakanda.
Her collection of essays, Bad Feminist, is considered the quintessential exploration of modern feminism. NPR named it one of the best books of the year and Salon declared the book “trailblazing.” In 2017, she released her memoir, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, as well as a collection of short stories titled Difficult Women. Gay also is a contributing op-ed writer for The New York Times, and formerly was co-editor of PANK and non-fiction editor at The Rumpus. Her writing has also appeared in McSweeney’s, The Nation, and many other publications.
All events are free and open to the public.
Sponsoring the James events are the College’s Writers@Grinnell series, the Center for Humanities, the Institute for Global Engagement, and an anonymous alumni contributor. The Gay event is sponsored by the College’s Center for Humanities, the Department of Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and the Scholars’ Convocation Committee.