R244. What Women Want: Writing Female Desire

Liberty Salon M, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four
Thursday, February 9, 2017
3:00 pm to 4:15 pm


Five writers discuss the challenges of writing about female desire and reflect on its changing representation in contemporary fiction. Topics include techniques for writing good (and bad) sex; writing love between women; writing lust postmenopause; and capturing the experience of desire under the pressure of the male gaze and cultural standards of beauty. In this lively and honest discussion, writers grapple with how—and why—they chose to investigate female desire and sexuality in their work.



Sarah Gerard is the author of the novel Binary Star, the forthcoming essay collection Sunshine State, and two chapbooks, most recently BFF. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Paris Review Daily, Joyland, Vice, and elsewhere. She writes a column on artist's notebooks for Hazlitt.

Chinelo Okparanta is the author of Happiness, Like Water. A 2014 O. Henry Prize winner, and a 2014 Lambda Literary Award winner for fiction, she was a finalist for the 2014 New York Public Young Lions Fiction Award and for the 2014 Rolex Mentors and Protégés Arts Initiative. Her stories have appeared in Granta, the New Yorker, and Tin House, among other journals.

Jane Alison has published four novels—Nine Island, The Love-Artist, The Marriage of the Sea, and Natives and Exotics—as well as a memoir, The Sisters Antipodes, and Change Me, translations of Ovid’s stories of sexual transformation. She directs the creative writing program at the University of Virginia.

Rebecca Schiff is the author of The Bed Moved, a collection of short stories. Her fiction has appeared in n+1, the American Reader, Electric Literature's Recommended Reading, Fence, Guernica, the Catapult, and Washington Square.

Nicole Dennis-Benn is the author of Here Comes The Sun. She has received fellowships from MacDowell, Hedgebrook, Sewanee Writers' Conference, Lambda, Barbara Deming Memorial Fund for Women Writers, Hurston/Wright Foundation, and Kimbilio. She's a two-time Puschcart Prize nominee.


March 8–11, 2023
Seattle, Washington

Seattle Convention Center