'Writing to Make a Difference in This World,' Roxane Gay Launches a MasterClass

Illustration for article titled 'Writing to Make a Difference in This World,' Roxane Gay Launches a MasterClass
Photo: Courtesy of MasterClass

“You don’t need to be brave when you’re writing; you need to acknowledge that you’re terrified—and do it anyway,” so says author-educator-activist Roxane Gay, who has arguably produced some of the bravest writing of the past decade. Whether deconstructing (and humorously challenging) what it means to be a feminist in Bad Feminist, or plumbing the depths of her own life-changing trauma and deeply relatable insecurities in Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, Gay’s has been a clarion voice across genres in her now 10 books and counting. She was also editor of the recently published and acclaimed anthology, The Selected Works of Audre Lorde, “featuring Lorde’s groundbreaking poetry and prose on topics of race, queer identity, feminism and justice.” Coincidentally, Lorde is the well-deserved subject of today’s Google doodle, in honor of what would’ve been her 87th birthday—making Gay’s new MasterClass not only impeccably timed but not to be missed.


Per a press release provided to The Root:

MasterClass, the streaming platform where anyone can learn from the world’s best across a wide range of subjects, today announced that award-winning author, editor, professor, and cultural critic Roxane Gay will teach a class on writing for social change. Through honest discussions around the intersections of race, sexuality, gender and other social justice issues, Gay will teach members how to own their identity, write about trauma with care and courage and hone their voice to contribute to the world in a positive way.

“Roxane drives change with every word she writes,” said David Rogier, founder and CEO of MasterClass. “In her MasterClass, she shows members how to own their identity, write better, think deeper and hone their voices to make real change in the world.”

Writing to effect social change might seem daunting, “but don’t think that trauma is all you have to offer,” Gay assures us in the trailer for her new class, which launches Thursday. Indeed, anyone who follows Gay on Twitter knows she is, at turns, incisive, warm, witty, vulnerable and hilarious, all of which she brings to this 20-lesson series. More details from MasterClass:

By harnessing her distinguished perspective as an author and Black feminist—with an added layer of sharp humor—in her MasterClass Gay will show members a path for using the written word to make a positive impact in the world. Tapping her famous works as case studies, Gay will pull from her celebrated essay collection, Bad Feminist, to analyze her approach to writing as a cultural critic, and break down her memoir, Hunger, as an example of how to write trauma with care and courage. For members new to writing, Gay will provide candid and accessible insight into determining the right questions to ask themselves before putting pen to paper. More experienced writers will learn how to address purpose, voice and writer’s block, as well as navigate the business of writing and engaging with their audience on social media. Gay will also provide feedback to three writers with distinct points of view and challenges to show concrete examples of her lessons that members can apply to their own work. Through emotional readings of her deeply personal work and her raw transparency when speaking to her own experiences as a writer, Gay will have members leaving the class ready to tackle any subject in writing and use their work to challenge and persuade readers.

“In my MasterClass, I show you how to make a difference in the world through writing—because once you start writing, you have freedom and can start to see the world in a completely different way,” says Gay in a statement, adding in her trailer for the new class: “When writing finds you—when writing saves you—it opens up a whole new world of possibilities.”

Gay’s class—along with unlimited access to 100-plus other instructors—is now available exclusively on MasterClass with an annual membership.

Maiysha Kai is managing editor of The Glow Up, host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast and Big Beauty Tuesdays, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. May I borrow some sugar?