Let’s Talk About ‘Kink’

Bestselling authors R.O. Kwon and Roxane Gay discuss their new work

Deena ElGenaidi
ZORA
Published in
7 min readFeb 9, 2021

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Photo illustration; Image sources: Simon & Schuster, Reginald Cunningham, Smeeta Mahanti

Kink, a new anthology of fiction edited by R.O. Kwon and Garth Greenwell, explores the world of sexual desire in a way not often seen in literary fiction. Some of today’s most talented and acclaimed writers, such as Roxane Gay, Melissa Febos, and Carmen Maria Machado, delve into topics of love, dominance, submission, BDSM, and more, with stories about women, people of color, and queerness as it relates to sex and desire. The book gives voice to these characters in a way that breaks the boundaries of taboo, celebrating sexuality in both daring and moving ways.

In a time of social distancing, Kink also serves as a much-needed reminder of physical intimacy and touch. It’s an important read, no doubt, but it’s also worth noting that Kink is a fun read. As Gay points out to me, “Things are pretty depressing right now in the world, so I think it’s important to remember that not everything is terrible.”

In a conversation with ZORA, Kwon and Gay discuss the idea of kink for women of color and the ways that this book, aside from being a literary exploration of sex, is simply fun.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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Deena ElGenaidi
ZORA
Writer for

Deena ElGenaidi is a Brooklyn-based writer whose work has been published MTV News, Nylon, O Magazine, and elsewhere. Follow on Twitter and Instagram @deenaelg