This Thursday, accomplished young adult author Mackenzi Lee will be at the University of Tulsa for a reading and a conversation that is sure to engage book lovers of all ages.
Lee, a self-proclaimed “reader, writer, and perpetually-anxious badass,” will be here to discuss her exciting, boundary-breaking works of young adult fiction.
Her New York Times Bestseller The Gentlemen’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, is regularly featured on “Epic Reads” website and Youtube channel, where she excitedly champions the best that YA has to offer, with a particular focus on LGTBQIA+ books. To watch Lee exuberantly share her infectious love of these stories is to believe in the power of YA to speak to readers’ lives in crucial and intimate ways. Some of her contributions within the last year include a two-part series of recommendations for Pride-month-reading, and a list of books to read instead of that book 17 of your relatives all sent you for Christmas.
Lee’s third novel, Bygone Badass Broads, started out as a Twitter campaign by Lee, who was frustrated by the lack of representation of women’s narratives throughout history: “It felt like if I wanted to learn about women, or about queer people, or people of color in history, I had to take an elective class that was only taught once every seven years and met in a basement room with no windows” says Lee in an interview with The Mary Sue. “Meanwhile, all the general courses I had to take as a history major were hyper-focused on men and their contributions in history.” The book is a collection of 52 different stories of women. Lee also stresses the moral complexity she wanted to highlight with her selections: “there’s a woman in the book named Ching Shih, who was a pirate lord in China” Lee explains. “In terms of sheer numbers, she’s the most successful pirate of all time. And when I put her on my list, my editor sort of balked at that. She was like, ‘Piracy’s not really a great thing. It’s not a victimless crime.’ Which is totally fair! But we talk about Blackbeard. We talk about a lot of dude pirates, and we give them that sort of swashbuckling glamour, so why can’t we also talk about lady pirates in the same way?”
Lee’s latest book deal is a project that in her words is “short irreverent historical nonfiction” much like her Bygone Badass Broads, but “this time, told by the dogs who saw it happen. THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD IN 50 DOGS.”
Lee’s passion for diversity, inclusion, intersectionality, and reclaiming lost or marginalized narratives is a powerful and positive force for demonstrating how literature can change the world and bring us together. Don’t miss the conversation and reading at TU this Thursday!
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