For the last several years, Assistant Professor of Literature Stephanie Grant
has been thinking a lot about one of our most unpleasant emotions: disgust. She’s examined the role that disgust plays in our society, from our most personal relationships to the public life of the nation.
Two weeks ago, Grant published her first nonfiction book, Disgust, A Memoir (Scuppernong Editions). In the book, she works to make sense of three generations of female self-disgust in her family while considering how disgust challenges both the American ideal of equality and our real-life experiences of intimacy. The book reveals how the most difficult emotion functions in both our private lives and collective imaginations.
“Stephanie Grant is a courageous risk-taker of a writer who rewards us all with fresh insights into topics we thought were familiar, from family relationships and coming-out stories to white supremacist politics in America,” says Max Paul Friedman, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “To read her is to savor the pleasure of a well-turned sentence in the moment and then keep thinking about her profound observations long afterwards.”
Award-winning Novelist and Nonfiction Writer
Grant is the author of The Passion of Alice, which was published by Houghton Mifflin (1995) and nominated for Britain’s Orange Prize for Women Writers and the Lambda Award for Best Lesbian Fiction. Her second novel, Map of Ireland (Scribner 2008), is a contemporary retelling of Huck Finn that places female sexuality and friendship at the center of a foundational American myth about race. It was nominated for the Lambda Award for Best Lesbian Fiction. Grant has received fellowships and awards by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rona Jaffe Foundation, the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, and the Ohio Arts Council, among others.
Grant’s recent nonfiction piece, “Why My Daughter Got (Temporarily) Married at 13” appeared in the New York Times’ Modern Love column in August. Her latest piece, “Disgust: On the Uses and Abuses of the Most Difficult Emotion” appeared in Lithub and explores many of the themes in her memoir.
Grant describes the focus of her writing as female embodiment—"women’s and girls’ bodies, including their sexuality, genders, and race, and how their bodies are frequently the site where struggles personal and political, existential and social get expressed in American culture.”
Her book has already received glowing reviews. Rachel Louise Snyder, author of No Visible Bruises, writes, “Stephanie Grant’s Disgust is a brilliant shape-shifter of a book. A prose poem and a narrative, a philosophical inquiry and a political jeremiad, which makes it at once a 21st century masterwork on human frailty. Utterly fresh and luminous.”
Jacqueline Woodson, author of Red at the Bone, writes, “Starkly beautiful and infinitely true. Disgust is a deep and brilliant gaze into all it truly means to feel, to be human, to love.”
Andrew Solomon, author of Far and Away and The Noonday Demon, writes, “In this condensed, profound contemplation of disgust, Stephanie Grant traces the complexity and fearfulness of intergenerational conflict and touches on the transmissibility (or not) of mental illness. Her meditations read like prose poems, each economically summoning another intricacy of her subject. She moves with unusual grace between the universal and the highly specific, revealing startling truths about love and fear and anger and pain and redemption."
For More Information
This spring, Grant will be teaching LIT-403 Creative Writing: Nonfiction.