June 04, 2012

Contributor Notes: Roxane Gay

This year we'll be posting "Contributor Notes": interviews and guest posts from the writers and artists of Versal 10. First up, the winner of the 2012 AWP/Journal Porn edition of the Literary Death Match, and really she requires no introduction, the magnificent Roxane Gay.

Have you been to Amsterdam? What did you do while you were here? If you've not been yet, what do you think you'd do in our fair town?

I have not. I’d likely sit in a cafĂ© and drink coffee and read and at night, well, they don’t call me Roxane for nothing.

What is the first creative thing you ever did?

A diaper was involved.

What is the dumbest thing anyone has ever said to you about being a writer?

“So, what do you do for work?”

If you were an angle, what kind of angle would you be?

I would be an acute angle because I like the word acute.

If you could meet a writer from the 15th, 16th or 17th centuries, who would it be? And what would you talk about?

They had writers back then? I’d love to meet Elizabeth Bury, a diarist from the 17th century. She was a blogger well before blogs became de rigeur.

Tell us something few people know about you.

My mother did not allow me to play with Barbie dolls as a little girl. She thought the dolls sent a terrible message. I did get a Barbie Dream House. My brothers and I used it as a G.I. Joe base.

Other than Versal (which has clearly been awesome), what's one great place you've been published?


Why did you send work to Versal? Be honest.

I love the idea of an internationally focused literary magazine and it’s well designed. Looks matter.

What has lasted you ten years?

The ugly green file cabinet in my home office.

Tell us what you're working on right now.

I am revising my first novel, working on a second novel, and thinking about an essay collection.


Roxane Gay lives and writes in the American Midwest. Her short story "Who We Are Beneath the Glass" can be found in Versal 10.

Among the 168 pages of this anniversary edition are four riddles from Ish Klein, a conversation between Michael Martone and Matthew Baker, and a series of "photodrawings" from Irish artist Garrett Phelan. Versal 10 also includes new works from Cody-Rose Clevidence, Erin Costello, Tamar de Kemp, Roxane Gay, James Grinwis, Dora Malech, Ben Merriman, Rusty Morrison, Brandon Shimoda, and many others.

Versal 10 is now available online and at select bookshops around the world.

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