Hollywood journalist Roxane Gay likes to “capitalize on who I am,” and one of her favorite ways to do that is through self-authored literary works. In her debut novel, Bitch, a 30-something reporter for a media outlet wants desperately to hide her lesbian identity and instead writes obituaries that refuse to be about her — a feat (and a blow to her ego) she achieves in spades when the very column that is supposed to honor her inevitably gets covered as a story about her.

Roxane Gay has earned an unexpected surge of attention since Bitch was released, but even she couldn’t have anticipated the continued impact the book would have. In fact, she was taken aback at the response:

Roxane Gay: I went to France to interview people I’ve interviewed, but all I heard was, “Your book just made me fall in love with you.”

Peter Ogburn: The response has been unbelievable. We have book signings, and people sob their eyes out. I’ve talked to kids on the bus, parents, it’s really crazy.

“When Cupid Is a Prying Journalist” [pg. 216]: Roxane Gay talks with fellow journalist Susan Kelechi Watson, whose work has been widely featured in both print and on screen. The two also read their new piece.

— Susan Kelechi Watson