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Newburyport Literary Festival…Online!

April 25, 2020 , 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm

I’m “delighted” (har har) to be moderating the AFTERNOON DELIGHT — Sex in Fiction panel for the Newburyport Literary Festival, featuring Christopher Castellani, Jenna Blum, and Stephen Kiernan.

Seminar description: For the past 17 years, The Literary Review in Scotland has published an article — “Worst Sex Scenes of the Year” — which is both squirm-inducing and the journal’s most popular item. Notice, the literary world holds no least-vivid description contest, no award for most unrealistic dialogue. Writing about sex walks its own unique tightrope: how specific to be about what the characters are doing, whether to use common or latinate or crude words to describe what body part they are doing it with or to, how to avoid being pornographic or cliched. These challenges rise to a new level in the age of #metoo, the powerful movement in sexual truth-telling and accountability that has jailed a movie producer, ousted a U.S. Senator, and revealed the reviled from coast to coast. This panel will investigate how writing sex scenes ought to occur in this new context, and whether it might be done without earning notice in unwanted annual awards.


April 25, 2020
4:00 pm to 5:30 pm


Newburyport Literary Festival