Free Speech

Kat Rosenfield: Why It's Important for Novelists To Speak Freely

The mystery writer and cultural critic is an outspoken defender of free thinking and cultural appropriation.


My guest today is the Edgar Award–nominated mystery writer and Reason contributor Kat Rosenfield, whose new novel is You Must Remember This, a Gothic whodunnit set in Maine that is simply impossible to put down. Kat is one of the most fearless—and most interesting—cultural critics at work today. She joined me in February at the Reason Speakeasy, a monthly, unscripted conversation with outspoken defenders of free thinking and heterodoxy that doubles as a live taping of The Reason Interview podcast. (Go here for information on upcoming events.)

l talked with Kat about the persistent appeal of the mystery genre and how gender politics play out both in fiction and in the publishing world. We also talked about her recent essay and video for Reason, "Stop Spazzing Out About 'Spaz': Social media, streaming, and a new era of digital self-censorship," which looks at the troubling ways in which major artists such as Lizzo, Beyonce, and Taylor Swift are internalizing the values of cancel culture. We also discussed her provocative essay on cultural appropriation for Unherd, "Is It Racist To Like Big Butts?" and Feminine Chaos, the podcast she cohosts.