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The author, editor and professor Roxane Gay is to be the 2021 spokesperson for Indies First, the American Booksellers Association’s national campaign in support of independent bookstores which takes place on Small Business Saturday on 27 November.

She said: “Independent bookstores have been the foundation of my writing career but more importantly, they have also been the foundation of my reading life.  Stepping into a bookstore where the books are carefully curated and enthusiastically recommended is an unparalleled experience.

“It is because of their work that I am thrilled to serve as this year’s spokesperson for Indies First. This vital initiative features independent booksellers and authors during the busiest book buying time of the year, culminating with Small Business Saturday. Independent bookstores are a place to find connection, to celebrate books, and to nurture a diverse community. They are a place where we can imagine and contribute to a better future. I am excited to work with the ABA to raise awareness of the importance of independent bookstores, now more than ever.”

Gay is the author of the New York Times best-selling essay collection Bad Feminist (2014), as well as the short story collection Ayiti (2011), the novel An Untamed State (2014), the short story collection Difficult Women (2017), and the memoir Hunger (2017).

In 2023 she will have own imprint at Grove Atlantic entitled Roxanne Gay Books, and she also has a newsletter The Audacity in which she has written with passion about the plight of Haitian refugees trying to get into the US on the Texas/Mexico border.  ‘They are fleeing poverty and political instability. It is only desperation that would drive people to cross an ocean and then make their way through Central American and Mexico while holding on to the fragile hope that maybe at the end of their journey they might find a safe, bountiful place to live….There are images of American border patrol agents riding horses, whipping at the Haitian migrants, trying to send them back across the Rio Grande, trying to keep them as far away as possible from our imaginary borders. The images are horrifying, surreal. They are echoes of 400 years of white supremacy and a centuries long American project to hoard as much wealth and privilege as possible in the hands of a very few powerful people.’