Raquel Willis for The Risk It Takes to Bloom: On Life and Liberation

book cover of The Risk It Takes to Bloom: On Life and Liberation by Raquel Willis
Monday, December 4, 2023 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm

Avid Bookshop, Athens-Clarke County Library, and Athens Pride & Queer Collective invite the public to an author event and book signing with Raquel Willis in celebration of her debut memoir The Risk It Takes to Bloom: On Life and Liberation. This event is on Monday, December 4, 2023, from 7pm-8pm in the Appleton Auditorium at the Athens-Clarke County Library. An alumna of the University of Georgia and the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, Raquel Willis was honored as part of the University of Georgia's 2021 Class of 40 Under 40.

For accessibility requests, contact events@avidbookshop.com. Please submit your request at least two weeks before the event.

The library requests you register for the event here. Registration is requested but not required.


A passionate, powerful memoir by a trailblazing Black transgender activist, tracing her life of transformation and her work towards collective liberation.

Born in Augusta, Georgia, to Black Catholic parents, Raquel spent years feeling isolated, even within a loving, close-knit family. There was little access to understanding what it meant to be queer and transgender. It wasn’t until she went to the University of Georgia that she found the LGBTQ+ community, fell in love, and explored her gender for the first time. But the unexpected death of her father forced her to examine her relationship with herself and those she loved. These years of grief, misunderstanding, and hard-won epiphanies seeped into the soil of her life, serving as fertilizer for growth and allowing her to bloom within.

Upon graduation, Raquel entered a career in journalism against the backdrop of the burgeoning Movement for Black Lives, intersectional feminism going mainstream, and unprecedented visibility of the trans community. After hiding her identity as a newspaper reporter, her increasing awareness of the epidemic of violence plaguing trans women of color and the heightened suicide of trans teens inspired her to come out publicly. Within just a few short years of community organizing in Atlanta, Oakland, and New York, Raquel emerged as one of the most formidable Black trans activists in history.

In The Risk It Takes to Bloom, Raquel Willis recounts the possibility of transformation after tragedy, and how complex moments can push us all to take necessary risks and bloom toward collective liberation.


Raquel Willis is an award-winning author, activist, and media strategist dedicated to Black transgender liberation. She has held groundbreaking posts, including director of communications for Ms. Foundation for Women, executive editor of Out Magazine, and national organizer for Transgender Law Center. She co-founded Transgender Week of Visibility and Action and currently serves as an executive producer for iHeartMedia's Outspoken, the president of the Solutions Not Punishments Collaborative’s executive board, and is a WNBA Social Justice Council member. Her debut memoir, The Risk It Takes to Bloom: On Life and Liberation, will be released in November 2023 via St.Martin’s Press.

Event Location

Athens-Clarke County Library
2025 Baxter Street
Athens, GA 30606
The Risk It Takes to Bloom: On Life and Liberation By Raquel Willis Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250275684
Availability: In our warehouse - should arrive/ship in one month. (Currently not on our shelves.)
Published: St. Martin's Press - November 14th, 2023