English professor Roxane Gay will recognized by PEN Center USA, a literary and human rights organization, at the 25th Annual Literary Awards Festival on November 16, 2015. Gay received her PhD from Michigan Tech in 2009 in Rhetoric and Technical Communication. She has received acclaim for her novel An Untamed State and her bestselling essay collection Bad Feminist.
“The freedom to write,” Gay said about winning the award, “has been one of my life’s greatest blessings and it is a freedom that should be available to everyone who wants or needs to share their voice,” says Gay. “I am thankful that organizations like PEN Center USA are doing the necessary work to ensure that such freedom is protected. It is humbling to be considered worthy of such an award. I am thrilled and honored.”
Gay’s recent article in The Opinion Pages of the New York Times, Where Are Black Children Safe?, has been widely circulated.
Technology has made the world a panopticon. It has widened the range of who watches and who is watched. Each day, we learn of a new injustice against the black body and in many cases, we now have pictures, videos. We have incontrovertible evidence of flagrant brutalities though, sadly and predictably, this evidence is never enough. At some point, this evidence, these breathtaking, sickening images, will render us numb or they will break our hearts irreparably. There is no respite from the harsh reminder that our black bodies are not safe. The black bodies of those we love are not safe.