Roxane Gay and Valeria Luiselli: NBCC Finalists

By Barbara Basney, Vice President Global Brand, Advertising and Media

I wish I could say Speaking of Work won a National Book Critics Circle Award. But I have the next best thing: Two of the authors, Roxane Gay and Valeria Luiselli, were nominated for other books they published in 2017. Roxane and Valeria collaborated with us on Project: SET THE PAGE FREE, which produced Speaking of Work.

We were excited when our friends at New York’s 92nd Street Y agreed to help us find 14 world-renowned authors and creative minds who agreed to participate in this project. Our friends chose well.

Tell Me How It Ends

Valeria Luiselli was nominated in the category of Criticism for Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions, which was informed by her work as an interpreter for Central American child migrants facing deportation. Their answers to 40 questions determined their fate: Stay in the U.S., or deportation to a home where they must face gangs, violence, forced labor and more. A book review published on National Public Radio’s website observed that the experience is like “competing in the ultimate reality show, one in which it’s terrifyingly easy to get voted off the island and sent back to the country you fear wants to kill you.”


Roxane Gay was nominated in the category of Autobiography for Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body. Gay presents an exploration of what it means to be overweight in a time when the bigger you are, the less you are seen. “The memoir deals with her rape, her overeating, and her struggles with her public and private identities,” according to this article in The New Yorker. “She writes candidly of her position, returning to the theme of contradictions: ‘I have been accused of being full of self-loathing and being fat-phobic. There is truth to the former accusation and I reject the latter. I do, however, live in a world where the open hatred of fat people is vigorously tolerated and encouraged. I am a product of my environment.’”

Congratulations, Valeria and Roxane. Your nominations are well-earned, which speaks volumes to your work.

I also congratulate the winners of National Book Critics Circle award, who were announced on March 15.

Each of these authors – nominees and winners — are among the most brilliant writers among us today. We look forward to more great literature that speaks to our shared humanity.

Project: SET THE PAGE FREE and ‘Speaking of Work’

The way we see it, the page is more than paper, more than printed words. The page is anything that connects us to the broader world of ideas, inspiration or even outright silliness. Books, yes. Images and photos, yes. Podcasts and videos — yes.

Aside from technology, however, literacy is the best way to set the page free, because simply publishing something is useless if no one can understand it. That’s why we’ve made charitable donations in support of global literacy to Worldreader, as well as 92nd Street Y, who has also been a collaborator on the project.

Speaking of Work is the result of an epic collaboration of 14 world-famous writers and creative minds. Together they tell the multi-lensed, multi-faceted and ever-surprising story of the modern workplace. Their contributions to this book was made possible through Xerox technology – here’s an overview.

Download the free eBook at Here, you may also read excerpts, view videos and listen to podcasts from the authors. You may also explore the Xerox technology that made this collaborative eBook possible.

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