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Robyn Ryle to Participate in the Kentucky Book Festival with “Throw Like a Girl, Cheer Like a Boy”

Robyn Ryle to Participate in the Kentucky Book Festival with “Throw Like a Girl, Cheer Like a Boy”

August 4, 2023





What will Kentucky Book Festival visitors find on your table?

My most recent book is the paperback version of Throw Like a Girl, Cheer Like a Boy, a nonfiction book packed full of fascinating stories about gender, sexuality and race in sports. It starts with the story of how cheerleading went from being an all-male activity, seen as one of the most masculine things you could do on a college campus, to becoming the ultimate feminine realm. All of that happened in the span of about ten years and demonstrates how changeable our ideas about gender truly are.

You’ll also see a copy of Fair Game on my table, my young adult novel about a girls’ basketball team that challenges the boys to a high stakes game, putting their future, their seasons, and three cherished friendships on the line. It’s a classic tale of girls vs. boys that asks the question—what does equality really look like?

Finally, She/He/They/Me is a nonfiction book that’s a great primer for anyone wanting to learn more about gender in a fun and interesting way. It’s told in the style of a choose your own adventure.


Whom do you invite to stop by? Who will benefit from reading your book?

Anyone who’s curious to learn more about gender or sexuality or race or sports should definitely find their way to my table. If you’ve ever found yourself on the losing end of inequality, you’ll love Fair Game, which starts with the girls’ team being stuck once again with the crappy court. All my books explore questions that don’t occur to many people to even ask in the first place, like, are men really better athletes? Could a girls team beat the boys? And should sports even be divided into men’s and women’s teams in the first place? If you like thinking about those types of questions, come find me.

Could you please tell us something curious about you and/or your book?

All of my books in one way or another reflect my experiences as a college professor in the classroom. She/He/They/Me and Throw Like a Girl, Cheer Like a Boy are books that take the most fun and interesting stuff from the classes I teach and make them more accessible for a wider audience. Fair Game was inspired by the stories my college students told me about the inequalities they still face on the court and the field. As a teacher, I believe my job is to raise as many questions as I answer and I think that’s what my books do, as well.

Is this your first time participating in Kentucky Book Festival? If yes – what are you looking forward to the most? If you’ve participated before – what was your favorite experience at the Festival?

This will be my second time participating in the Kentucky Book Festival. I’m looking forward to being back in-person in a space with other authors and readers. The energy at my first Kentucky Book Festival was awesome. People were friendly and interested. I came away with quite a book haul myself at the end of the day. Also, I got a book signed by the amazing Wendell Berry and had the chance to chat with him briefly. It’s heaven to be in a room full of people who love books and I can’t wait to be back in Lexington.



Robyn Ryle is the author of two award-winning nonfiction books. Throw Like a Girl, Cheer Like a Boy brings to attention the ways in which sports can contribute to inequalities while also demonstrating how sports can help create a more just world for everyone.