In 2007, Michelle Bowdler came across a Boston Globe article exposing the fact of thousands upon thousands of unexamined rape kits in the possession of police departments across the country. Some were from violent crimes committed decades ago. And she didn’t know whether hers was among them.

In this video interview, Bowdler discusses her National Book Award nominated debut Is Rape a Crime? A Memoir, an Investigation, and a Manifesto (Flatiron Books). She tells Kirkus about the writing experience, the ideas behind the jacket design and endpapers, her hope for readers of the book, and some of the narrative nonfiction works she most admires.

From our review: “Divided into three parts—‘A Memoir,’ ‘An Investigation,’ and ‘A Manifesto’—the author moves effectively among the personal and the political. She poignantly explains how watching the 1991 Anita Hill hearings (and witnessing the despicable reactions by male senators and media to her testimony) helped crystallize her activist mission, and she consistently shows herself to be a tireless advocate. Ultimately, she has learned to ask: If rape is considered a crime, why were there no investigations into her own? And when will anything change?

“An urgent, necessary, stark exploration of ‘one of the most horrific violations that can happen to a human being.’”