Mariko Tamaki’s case for erotica

The amazing Mariko Tamaki (who is a finalist for this year’s Governor General award for Children’s literature*) wrote a nice piece for Xtra ripping apart the misconception that erotica = bad writing.

She points out that some of Canada’s top queer female fiction writers, are also skilled at writing a fine dirty story:

The assertion that erotica is somehow a less than legitimate form of writing should lose some credibility when you consider that writers of erotica are, more often than not, not solely writers of erotica. In fact, women of acknowledged literary ability write lesbian erotica. Specifically, many fabulous Canadian authors of erotica write, and write well, in a variety of genres. (Tamami) Kobayashi has written and published works of poetry and short fiction. Writer and editor Karen X Tulchinsky, who has edited a myriad of erotica anthologies, for Arsenal Pulp, Cleis Press and Women’s Press, has also published some acclaimed works of fiction, including The Five Books of Moses Lapinsky, a finalist for the Toronto Book Award.

Karen X was also the Vancouver Public Library’s Writer in Residence this past year.  It makes me very happy to think that perhaps, when she wasn’t mentoring new writers, or doing public readings, that she was in the Central Library writing literary porn.

*If you haven’t read Skim yet, 9 public libraries in BC have it: Burnaby, Fort Nelson, Victoria, New Westminister, North Vancouver District, Okanagan Regional, Powell River, Salt Spring and Squamish.

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2 thoughts on “Mariko Tamaki’s case for erotica

  1. Hi BCLA,

    I agree with the points Mariko makes in her Xtra piece, and though I have been a writer of all my life, it wasn’t until I started writing erotica for RuthiesClub.com (no longer in operation) and had my work edited by professionals that I really learned the craft. So, good writers write erotica, and writers can become good by writing erotica.

    When I think of early writers, writers in the BI (before the Internet) era, Anais Nin and Norman Mailer come to mind.

    Anais Nin’s Delta of Venus and Little Birds are classics, and even today stand out as collections of stories that have high literary merit, are highly arousing, and are woman centered.

    Norman Mailer, for all his faults, won two Pulitzers and a National Book Award. His story The Time of Her Time, which feminists thought sexist and Mailer denied was so, was the first erotica I ever read. It’s both a sexy story and literature that stands the test of time.

    My blog, though just getting started, is so far a mix of erotica and art, but I have posts coming that include politics– the arms industry, non-erotic photography, a profile of athletes including a woman who is a world class judo champion, and other eclectic subjects.

    Yes, the best writers of erotica are writers first, and sexy story telling is just part of their game .

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