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14. Roxane Gay’s Hunger for the Truth

15 Fiercest Sisters of 2017

Roxane Gay, author of the best-seller “Hunger,” a memoir on food, weight, body image and feminism.

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body is not a typical book about food or weight, which makes it stand out all the more.

“This is not a story of triumph,” Roxane Gay says of her best-selling memoir. “This is my truth.” And she tells it all in a confessional on everything from sexuality to how a childhood assault led to building a “fortress” of fat as a barrier.

A prolific and renown writer, Gay admits that completing Hunger was her “most difficult writing experience.” She thought it would be easy to write about the skin she’s lived in for four decades. Yet, in this weight and size-obsessed world, Gay’s truth is cathartic for legions of readers whose stories are “ignored, dismissed, derided.” Her words literally brought some of them to tears.

“I am determined to be more than my body.”

To so many, she is so much more. They hang onto her every word. For some, those words are in Bad Feminist and Difficult Women. There’s also Ayiti, a collection of short stories on Haiti, where her parents were born; her debut novel, An Untamed State; and Marvel’s World of Wakanda; plus other essays, short stories and op-ed pieces.

On top of all of this, she’s pursuing television and film projects. She’s also an associate professor of English at Purdue University with a research focus on the “intersections between race, gender and popular culture.”