The phenomenal success of Fifty Shades of Grey appears to have fuelled a new generation of erotic literature, but this is a genre with a long and lusty history. Join our expert panel as they explore centuries of literary erotica, from the murky world of the Georgian black-market to the pleasure palaces of the modern day, where online purchases and e-books offer the comfort of anonymity.

Tracing the journey of erotic literature through the ages, we will explore whether this modern day resurgence is simply due to the insatiable desires of the reading public or whether it has been aided and abetted by the humble e-book, allowing readers to indulge their passions in privacy.

Join chair and journalist, Arifa Akbar, and writers, Rowan Pelling, Wray Delaney and Clarissa Smith, for what is sure to be a titillating look at the current health and history of the erotic genre.

About The Speakers

Wray Delaney

Wray Delaney is a pen name for children’s author Sally Gardner.  She has won both the Costa Children’s Book Prize and the Carnegie, and also won the 2005 Nestle Children’s Book Prize for her debut novel I, CorianderAn Almond for a Parrot is her first adult novel.

Rowan Pelling

Rowan Pelling is the editor of The Amorist and a columnist for the Daily Telegraph. She spent eight years editing The Erotic Review and has written sex advice columns for GQ and the Daily Mail. She is the editor of Dedalus’s The Decadent Handbook and Erotic Stories, a compilation for Everyman’s Library.

Clarissa Smith

Clarissa Smith is a Professor in Arts and Creative Industries at the University of Sunderland. A founding co-editor of the Routledge journal Porn Studies, Clarissa’s research is focused on representations of sex and sexuality. Publications include  articles and chapters exploring the specificities of pornographic imagery, forms of stardom, production and regulation.

About The Chair

Arifa Akbar

Arifa Akbar is the Guardian’s chief theatre critic. A journalist for over twenty years, she is the former literary editor of the Independent, where she also worked as arts correspondent and news reporter. She has previously contributed to the Observer and the Financial Times. She is on the board of trustees for the Orwell Foundation and English PEN. Short pieces of her non-fiction have appeared in several anthologies. Consumed is her first full length book.