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Roxane Gay speaks to sold-out Montreal crowd about #metoo, politics and the next generation of writers

American author and cultural critic Roxane Gay was in Montreal on Thursday, Oct. 11 to speak to a crowd of 600 at McGill University.

The author of Bad Feminist spoke to a crowd of 600 on Thursday. Watch below

Roxane Gay read from her 2017 memoir Hunger at the event on Oct. 11. (Owen Egan and Joni Dufour/McGill)

American author and cultural critic Roxane Gay was in Montreal on Thursday, Oct. 11 to speak to a crowd of 600 at McGill University.

Gay read from her latest book, Hunger, a memoir published in 2017. The talk was presented as part of the annual Beatty Memorial Lecture series.

She sat down with CBC The Bridge host Nantali Indongo before the talk for a one-on-one interview.

The following has been edited for length and clarity.

Roxane Gay sat down with CBC The Bridge host Nantali Indongo before the talk for a one-on-one interview. (Owen Egan and Joni Dufour/McGill)

On how her life has changed since releasing Bad Feminist:

I travel all the time so that's a big change. And, you know, generally as a writer at least I've always told myself no one's going to read my work. And now I know that people are perhaps reading my work which is overwhelming. And also that my work is creating change in some way which is not something I ever expected. So that part has been interesting in a good way.

Roxane Gay was also signing copies of her books, Bad Feminist and Hunger, among others. (Owen Egan and Joni Dufour/McGill)

On fostering the next generation of writers:

You know, I haven't seen any particular themes but I have seen just very strong writers who are very committed to the writing life, despite a lot of rhetoric that suggests that they can't make it. Which I think is a terrible thing to do to rising writers. I wish we would all be more honest about the fact that you need a day job. I mean, I still have a day job and you know, it didn't come from magic. I worked in order to be a writer.

And I oftentimes worked in shitty jobs. So I have seen writers who are undeterred and I'm very glad about that. And also just deeply talented. We always hear that kids can't write these days and so on and so forth and that is just not the case. The students I work with are incredibly talented at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.

Watch the full speech, presented as the 2018 Beatty Memorial Lecture, here:

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