Art & Sexuality - With Eimear McBride, Sarah Hall and Megan Bradbury

Tuesday 23 May
Adnams Spiegeltent, Chapelfield Gardens
7.30 - 9pm

How do we define good and bad writing about sex? What are the boundaries between literature and erotica, and do they need to exist? Why are some writers unwilling or unable to explore sex in their writing? Grab a drink from the bar and join us for an open, intelligent and humorous conversation on sexuality, gender and identity with three fantastic female writers – Eimear McBride, Sarah Hall and Megan Bradbury.

From the Fifty Shades obsession and the Bad Sex in Fiction Award to more complex debate around diversity and heteronormativity; our writers will discuss their personal experiences of sex writing, give readings from other writers they admire and argue that writing about sex is fascinating – and that we should all be doing it more. Chaired by Chris Gribble, chief executive of Writers’ Centre Norwich.

'I was really bored with the way sex is written about' - Eimear McBride

Eimear McBride is the award-winning writer of A Girl is A Half-Formed Thing (winner: Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction, Desmond Elliott Prize, Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year, The Goldsmiths Prize) and The Lesser Bohemians. She has written articles on sex and writing for the Bookseller, the Guardian and the Irish Times, and has been nominated for the Bad Sex in Fiction Award. Sarah Hall is a multi-award winning writer of The Wolf Border and Haweswater, known for writing, dark, fierce and sensual fiction. In 2016 she co-edited a short story collection called Sex & Death, which probes the nature and connection between two of the most powerful forces that shape the human experience. Megan Bradbury’s debut novel, Everyone is Watching, is the ‘unusual, intoxicating and bold’ (the Guardian) story of four great artists – Walt Whitman, Robert Mapplethorpe, Edmund White and Robert Moses - and their erotically charged relationship with New York city. 

An exclusive opportunity to purchase Sarah Hall's new novel, Madame Zero, ahead of its official publication on 25 July.

Explore Megan Bradbury's favourite examples of sexuality, identity and desire in art

About the writers

Eimear McBride's debut novel A Girl is a Half-formed Thing won the Goldsmiths Prize, the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction 2014 and the Irish novel of Year award, among others. Her latest novel The Lesser Bohemians was shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize, Irish Novel of the Year and recently long-listed for the Baileys. She writes and reviews for the Guardian, New Statesman and the TLS.Website

*2017 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction longlisted*

'One of the most groundbreaking pieces of literature to come from Ireland, or anywhere, in recent years.' - Vanity Fair

Eimear McBride: 'I was really bored with the way sex is written about' (The Bookseller, Aug 2016)

The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride review – a brilliant evocation of sex and intimacy (Guardian, Sept 2016)

Eimear McBride reading from her novel The Lesser Bohemians from Goldsmiths, University of London on Vimeo.


Megan Bradbury was born in the United States and grew up in Britain. She has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. In 2012 she was awarded the Charles Pick Fellowship at UEA and in 2013 she won an Escalator Literature Award and a Grant for the Arts to help fund the completion of her first novel, Everyone is Watching.

‘Dirty, dangerous and delicious, this is a novel that understands the cost of contact and bets on it anyway’ - Olivia Laing, New Statesman on Megan Bradbury

Everyone Is Watching review – a panoramic portrait of New York (Guardian, June 2016)

New York state of mind: Megan Bradbury's literary portrait of a city through its art (BBC, June 2016)


Sarah Hall is the author of the novels Haweswater, The Electric Michelangeo, Daughters of the North, How to Paint a Dead Man, and The Wolf Border. She has won the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize, a Betty Trask Award, a Lakeland Book of the Year Award, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, the James Tiptree Jr. Award, and the Portico Prize for Fiction. Her novels have also been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and Arthur C. Clarke Award, and longlisted for the Orange Prize and the Dublin IMPAC Award. Website

‘This is a book overflowing with life and history, propelled by a writer who engages all the reader's senses.’ – Telegraph on The Wolf Border

Sarah Hall: ‘I love writing about sex, the civil veneer stripped off’ (Guardian 2015)

Sarah Hall: ‘Sex, death and the short story’ (Guardian 2016)