School of Visual Arts (SVA) has named Roxane Gay, renowned writer and bestselling author, the keynote speaker at its 47th annual commencement exercises. The ceremony will be held in person for the first time since 2019 – at Radio City Music Hall on May 22 with streaming available on sva.edu/commencement and on Facebook Live. SVA President David Rhodes will recognize some 1,130 degree candidates from the College’s 30 academic programs, including BFA, MA, MFA and MPS.
Roxane Gay’s writing appears in Best American Mystery Stories 2014, Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, A Public Space, McSweeney’s, Tin House, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, Virginia Quarterly Review, and many others. She is a contributing writer for the New York Times. She is the author of the books Ayiti, An Untamed State, the New York Times bestselling Bad Feminist, the nationally bestselling Difficult Women and the New York Times bestselling Hunger. She is also the author of World of Wakanda for Marvel, and has several books forthcoming.
In addition to her printed work, Gay is a prolific cultural commentator, including on her latest podcast The Roxane Gay Agenda in which she discusses topics like feminism, sexuality, race, pop culture, politics and food with an array of guests. “I think it’s always exciting to talk to younger people and to people who are about to embark on another exciting journey, which is entering adulthood free from the constraints of being a student,” Gay says on addressing the class of 2022. “I think that college graduation is a beginning.”
As the keynote speaker, Gay will join a distinguished group including cultural icon John Waters, musician and poet Patti Smith, activist and author Gloria Steinem, US Congressman and civil-rights hero John Lewis, cultural critic Greil Marcus, artists Laurie Anderson and Carrie Mae Weems, playwrights Edward Albee and Tony Kushner, and historian Robert A. Caro.