Halimah Marcus in conversation with Jane Smiley and Braudie Blais-Billie discussing Horse Girls

Tuesday, August 17, 2021 - 7:00pm
Virtual Event Hosted on ZOOM

Halimah Marcus in conversation with Jane Smiley and Braudie Blais-Billie discussing Horse Girls


Tuesday, August 17, 2021 - 7:00pm - 8:00pm EST

LOCATION: Virtual Event Hosted on ZOOM


Order Horse Girls featuring a signed bookplate or RSVP below to receive a virtual event link via email the day before the event.


Join us for a special conversation with Halimah Marcus, Jane Smiley, and Braudie Blais-Billie.

A compelling and provocative essay collection that smashes stereotypes and redefines the meaning of the term “horse girl,” broadening it for women of all cultural backgrounds.

As a child, horses consumed Halimah Marcus’ imagination. When she wasn’t around horses she was pretending to be one, cantering on two legs, hands poised to hold invisible reins. To her classmates, girls like Halimah were known as “horse girls,” weird and overzealous, absent from the social worlds of their peers. 


Decades later, when memes about “horse girl energy,” began appearing across social media—Halimah reluctantly recognized herself. The jokes imagine girls as blinkered as carriage ponies, oblivious to the mockery behind their backs. The stereotypical horse girl is also white, thin, rich, and straight, a daughter of privilege. Yet so many riders don’t fit this narrow, damaging ideal, and relate to horses in profound ways that include ambivalence and regret, as well as unbridled passion and devotion.

Featuring some of the most striking voices in contemporary literature—including Carmen Maria Machado, Pulitzer-prize winner Jane Smiley, T Kira Madden, Maggie Shipstead, and Courtney Maum—Horse Girls reframes the iconic bond between girls and horses with the complexity and nuance it deserves. And it showcases powerful emerging voices like Braudie Blais-Billie, on the connection between her Seminole and Quebecois heritage; Sarah Enelow-Snyder, on growing up as a Black barrel racer in central Texas; and Nur Nasreen Ibrahim, on the colonialist influence on horse culture in Pakistan.


By turns thought-provoking and personal, Horse Girls reclaims its titular stereotype to ask bold questions about autonomy and desire, privilege and ambition, identity and freedom, and the competing forces of domestication and wildness.


Halimah Marcus’s short stories and essays have appeared in One StoryBOMBThe Literary Review, Amazon Original Stories, the Out There podcast, Indiana Review, Gulf CoastThe Southampton Review, and elsewhere. She is the executive director of Electric Literature, an innovative digital publisher based in Brooklyn, and the editor-in-chief of its weekly fiction magazine, Recommended Reading, which she co-founded. She has an MFA from Brooklyn College and lives in the Catskill region of New York.


Braudie Blais-Billie is a Brooklyn-based writer hailing from the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s Hollywood reservation.  Focusing on the intersection of Indigenous issues, music, and culture, her work has appeared in publications like Pitchford, i-D, Glamour, Billboard, and more.  Braudie is the founder and editor of indigezine, a digital and print platform for Indigenous art, identity, and resistance.


Jane Smiley is the author of twelve novels, as well as many essays for such magazines as VogueThe New YorkerThe New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, Practical Horseman, and others. She has been a Fulbright Scholar (a year in Iceland) and was a professor of English for 15 years at Iowa State University, where she taught creative writing workshops at the undergraduate and graduate level. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2001, and in 2006 she was awarded the PEN USA Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature. Her newest novel is Perestroika in Paris, about a horse who escapes from Auteuil Racecourse and lives in Paris through the winter. She has written many (too many) books about horses, and this is her favorite. 

Horse Girls: Recovering, Aspiring, and Devoted Riders Redefine the Iconic Bond By Halimah Marcus Cover Image
ISBN: 9780063009257
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - August 3rd, 2021

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