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The Center for Fiction Presents: Ross Gay on Inciting Joy with Simone White

October 25, 2022

Ross Gay joined The Center for Fiction for a celebration and investigation of the complexities and beauty of joy, asking how to recognize it—and even more crucially—how to expand it. In Inciting Joy, an intimate and electrifying collection of essays from the New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Delights, Gay considers the joy we incite when we care for each other, especially during life’s inevitable hardships. With curiosity and compassion, Gay thinks about the garden as a laboratory of mutual aid, skateboarding’s reclamation of public space, the costs of masculinity, and what was healed in caring for his father as he was dying. Author Simone White (or, on being the other woman) joined him in conversation, exploring the possibility of collective joy and liberation.

Presented with Poets & Writers.


  • Ross Gay (c) Natasha Komoda_CROP_1 - Eliana Cohen-Orth

    Ross Gay

    Ross Gay

    Ross Gay is the New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Delights: Essays and four books of poetry. His Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude won the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Award; and Be Holding won the 2021 PEN America Jean Stein Book Award. He is a founding board member of the Bloomington Community Orchard, a non-profit, free-fruit-for-all food justice and joy project. Gay has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He teaches at Indiana University.

    Photo Credit: Natasha Komoda

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    Simone White

    Simone White

    Simone White is the author of or, on being the other woman (Duke University Press, 2022), Dear Angel of Death (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2018), Of Being Dispersed (Futurepoem, 2016), and House Envy of All the World (Factory School, 2010). Her poetry and prose have been featured in Artforum, e-flux, Harper’s magazine, BOMB magazine, Chicago Review, and the New York Times Book Review, among other places. She teaches in the English department at the University of Pennsylvania and lives in Brooklyn.