Just weeks before the Harvey Weinstein scandal hit and the #MeToo movement went viral, actress, writer, and film director Amber Tamblyn wrote an ardent New York Times editorial about how she was done with not being believed about her own harassment by one of her TV show’s crew members and, earlier, at the age of 16, by one of Hollywood’s superstars. “It was a hugely read piece, and I don’t think any of us expected that to happen. The fact that it was so widely shared and talked about was because many people—women, people in the trans community, other marginalized people—were feeling that same exact thing,” says Tamblyn.
Tamblyn, who has published three collections of poetry, has channeled her energy about sexual harassment into her debut novel, Any Man (Harper Perennial, June), about a female serial rapist who victimizes men. What made her decide to turn the gender tables on what most people think when the phrase “serial rapist” comes to mind? “I struggled with this idea for a long time,” Tamblyn explains, “of talking about something that is never really touched on: men who are sexually assaulted. Showing men as emotional creatures is a very rare experience and is not really shown, certainly in what I’ve read or where I come from in the film business. I think the book is quite powerful because it lends itself to both men and women and how we think about rape culture.
“My hope is that people will feel slightly implicated in this world that we live in, and think about the things that we allow to happen to other people’s bodies,” Tamblyn continues. “I’d like readers to say, ‘I just never thought about this larger conversation in this context and I’ve never thought about it this way before.’ ”
The last time Tamblyn was in the Javits Center was on election night 2016 with Hillary Clinton and her family. “I’d been a surrogate for Hillary for the entire election, and in 2008, I cochaired her youth outreach program. It was the most depressing night—heartbreaking is not the word. To be in that room and see the faces, it was brutal.” She is very much looking forward to a different experience today. “I’m very excited. I’ve never been to BookExpo, and I can’t wait to see what people think of my book.”