Introductions: Lindy West
December 5, 2019
By Ruth Dickey, SAL Executive Director
I bet each one of you in this room remembers the first time that you fell in love with Lindy West’s writing. Mine was her Guardian essay about her wedding—“My wedding was perfect—and I was fat as hell the whole time.” I can’t even remember how I found it or who sent it to me, but I remember that as I read it, the world fell away. I laughed. And I cried. And I sent it to 15 friends immediately, the way that when you find something irrepressibly wonderful it’s impossible to not want everyone you love to also know about it immediately.
Lindy’s writing is like that. It’s vulnerable. It’s funny. It’s brave. And in that essay, I felt like she showed me into a secret clubhouse—here the world can look different. Here, there can be exuberance and joy and possibility. Here we are fierce and beautiful.
And so it was with anticipation and delight that I read and relished her first book, Shrill, and now her newest book, The Witches Are Coming. The Witches Are Coming has all the things I love most about Lindy’s work—her brilliance, her incisive observations, her laugh-so-hard-I-cry humor, and most of all her unwavering belief that our world can be better, that we can be better.
In essays spanning immigration, abortion (and shouting about it), climate change, the Trump presidency, feminism, online trolls, and the larger rise of the alt right, Lindy illuminates the most important issues of our world. And she makes us gasp at this broken, brilliant world, clouded with smoke and shimmering with potential.
Lindy’s writing reminds us what is possible if we step past fear, past societal messages, past hate to step up with compassion and courage. Lindy reclaims the idea of witch hunts to rally we witches who believe in the power of women and the power of a reimagined world. I say, hand us our broomsticks, and please join me in giving a huge welcome to the brave, bold, brilliant and beautiful rally-er of witches, Lindy West!
The author Lindy West gave a sold-out lecture at Town Hall Seattle on November 26, 2019, as part of our 2019/20 Women You Need to Know (WYNK); SAL Executive Director Ruth Dickey gave this introduction.