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Powell's Books Presents Melissa Febos in Conversation With Genevieve Hudson
Winner of the 2021 National Book Critics Circle Award, Melissa Febos’s Girlhood (Bloomsbury) examines the narratives women are told about what it means to be female and what it takes to free oneself from them. When her body began to change at eleven years old, Febos understood immediately that her meaning to other people had changed with it. By her teens, she defined herself based on these perceptions and by the romantic relationships she threw herself into headlong. Over time, Febos increasingly questioned the stories she’d been told about herself and the habits and defenses she’d developed over years of trying to meet others’ expectations. The values she and so many other women had learned in girlhood did not prioritize their personal safety, happiness, or freedom, and she set out to reframe those values and beliefs. Blending investigative reporting, memoir, and scholarship, Febos charts how she and others like her have reimagined relationships and made room for the anger, grief, power, and pleasure women have long been taught to deny. Written with Febos’ characteristic precision, lyricism, and insight, Girlhood is a philosophical treatise, an anthem for women, and a searing study of the transitions into and away from girlhood, toward a chosen self. Febos will be joined in conversation by Genevieve Hudson, author of Boys of Alabama.
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Speakers

Melissa Febos
Melissa Febos is the bestselling author of four books, most recently, Girlhood, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism, and Body Work: The Radical Power of Personal Narrative. She is the recipient of awards and fellowships from The Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, MacDowell, LAMBDA Literary, The Barbara Deming Foundation, The Black Mountain Institute, and others. Her essays have appeared in The Paris Review, The Believer, McSweeney’s Quarterly, Granta, Tin House, The Sun, New York Review of Books, and The New York Times Magazine, and she is an associate professor at the University of Iowa.
Genevieve Hudson
Genevieve Hudson is the author of the novel Boys of Alabama, which was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. Their other books include the critical memoir A Little in Love with Everyone and Pretend We Live Here: Stories, which was a LAMBDA Literary Award finalist. Their work has appeared in ELLE, Oprah Magazine, McSweeney’s, Tin House, and many other places. They have received fellowships from the Fulbright Program, MacDowell, Caldera Arts, and the Vermont Studio Center. They live in Portland, Oregon.