R238. No Shame: Sex Scenes by Women, About Women

Room 205 C&D, Level 2
Thursday, April 9, 2015
3:00 pm to 4:15 pm


Writing about sex from a female point of view is uniquely difficult if the author hopes not to participate in her character’s objectification. Word choice is hard too: words for female anatomy are distractingly taboo or clinical, while words for male anatomy lost their shock value decades ago. Written badly, female sex scenes elicit titillation or disapproval. Written well, they make characters and readers complexly human. Five women writers will discuss writing about sex with candor and nuance.



Debra Monroe has published five books, both fiction and nonfiction. Her work has appeared in The American Scholar, the New York Times, Guernica, and cited in Best American Essays. Her books have appeared on national "Best Ten Books" lists and won many awards, including the Flannery O'Connor Award.

Elissa Schappell is the author of two books of fiction, Use Me, runner-up for the PEN/Hemingway Award, and Blueprints for Building Better Girls. She is co-founder, now editor-at-large, of Tin House, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and teaches in the MFA program at Columbia University and the low-residency program at Queens University of Charlotte.   

Melissa Pritchard is the author of eight books of fiction and a recipient of NEA, Flannery O'Connor, Carl Sandburg, Kafka, Pushcart, and O. Henry prizes. Her work has been named a New York Times notable book, New York Times editors' choice, and best book of the year by the San Francisco Chronicle and Library Journal. Her nonfiction has appeared in O, The Oprah MagazineWilson Quarterly; and Byliner.

Julia Fierro's novel, Cutting Teeth, was one of the most anticipated debuts of 2014. Her writing has appeared in Guernica, The Millions, and Poets & Writers. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she founded the Sackett Street Writers' Workshop in 2002, a creative home to 2,500+ NYC writers.

Gina Frangello is the author of three books of fiction, including A Life in Men. The longtime editor of Other Voices magazine, she founded its book press, OV Books. She is the Sunday editor of The Rumpus and the fiction editor of The Nervous Breakdown. She teaches at the University of California, Riverside-Palm Desert.  


March 8–11, 2023
Seattle, Washington

Washington State Convention Center