It was, Groff said, "a tough, tough day in the news cycle," and to forgive her for getting "a little political."
Groff was in Boise as the final Readings and Conversations speaker in The Cabin's 2016-2017 season, which began with feminist icon Gloria Steinem, included National Book Award-winning short story writer and novelist Colum McCann, U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera and the Bender sisters.
Each visiting writer had something to say about the political climate in the U.S., but Groff was perhaps the most pointed in her remarks.
"I don't actually say [the president's] name because it's like [Harry Potter villain] Voldemort and you give him power," she said.
Topicality matters to Groff. During her talk she read from her latest novel, Fates and Furies, which is a deep dive into the hot-button issue of privilege—particularly as it relates to the institution of marriage. She also told the audience about burning a novel she had been working on for more than a decade because it lacked timeliness.
"I needed to write more sharply. I needed to write more urgently," she said.