It was 102 degrees in Dallas, and I was sweating—a lot. But it was happy sweat. I’d come for the second annual Hay Forum Dallas at The Wild Detectives, a bookstore, bar, and music venue whose international spirit and superbly curated shelves make it one of my favorite book haunts in America.
I had the luck of being on a panel with literary rock stars Cristina Rivera Garza and Miriam Toews—both brilliant disobeyers of genre and gender borders who write against and beyond the intertwined logics of capitalism, nationalism, and patriarchy. We talked about our work in light of disruption and resistance, and about the questions we are asking (not answering) when we write.
Before our conversation, journalists John Gibler, Óscar Martínez, and Dianne Solis had spoken passionately about the Mexico/U.S. border truths that aren’t getting told by mainstream media, reminding the packed audience how dangerous it is to accept uncritically the “official” version of any story.
As writers and readers and citizens of Earth, let us instead question, disrupt, and resist.
Later on, a salsa band played in the bookstore’s back yard, and I ate tacos in the front yard with Toews, Martínez, Gibler, poet Luis Felipe Fabre, and Wild Detectives co-founder Javier García del Moral. We talked about films, books, mothers, class anxiety, sexual harassment. Even at midnight, the air simmered with heat and laughter and debate, and I felt revitalized—transfused.
Leni Zumas won the 2019 Oregon Book Award for her national bestselling novel RED CLOCKS, which was also shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction and the Neukom Prize for Speculative Fiction. She is also the author of FAREWELL NAVIGATOR: STORIES and the novel THE LISTENERS. She appeared at Hay Forum Dallas 2019. Find out more about her work here.