The Narrative of Desire: The Importance of Writing Horny Women

Rooms 345-346, Summit Building, Seattle Convention Center, Level 3
Saturday, March 11, 2023
1:45 pm to 3:00 pm


Sexual desire is a perfect narrative accelerant. It propels plot, informs character, thwarts plans. But pure sexual desire is often denied female characters, who are allowed to be desirous-but-doomed or desirous-but-it’s-self-actualization but rarely messily, humanly horny. In this panel, four writers discuss the strategies, challenges, and value of writing horniness in fiction, the impoverished history of women’s desire in fiction, and importance of a robust future of horny women characters.

Outline & Supplemental Documents




Rebecca Rukeyser is the author of the novel The Seaplane on Final Approach (Doubleday / Granta Books, 2022). A graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop, she currently teaches fiction writing at Bard College Berlin.

Carmen Maria Machado is the author of National Book Award finalist story collection Her Body and Other Parties and the memoir In the Dream House. She is a 2019 Guggenheim Fellow, and her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, the New York Times, Granta, Tin House, Conjunctions, and elsewhere.

Alyssa Songsiridej is the author of Little Rabbit and a National Book Foundation 5 under 35 honoree. She is also the managing editor at Electric Literature.

Lillian Fishman is the author of Acts of Service, a novel about desire and sexual culture which was called "radical, daring, and bracing" by Sheila Heti.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center