Lesbian Lives Conference – Presentation Paper


Lesbian Lives Conference. (Brighton, Friday 24th February 2017).

Session Title: Permutations of Lesbian Love in Popular Fiction.

The title of my paper is Compelled to write – A writer’s perspective on the question ‘Why do we write stories of lesbian love?’

“Why do we write stories of lesbian love?”

Why do authors like me write stories of lesbian love? What compels us?

When I set this question back in September, I anticipated that we would be discussing the determination of authors who write stories of lesbian love to reinforce and validate identity, to promote diversity, to challenge prejudice, and to advance political debate. And whilst, as we shall see, authors are certainly mindful of this and conscious of the impact that their work has on readers, my research, however, also indicates that there is something compellingly personal, intrinsic, and inevitable at work.

Many authors stated that they ‘have to write’ and when they write they seek to write ‘authentically’, ‘what they know’ and what they know ‘just pours out’ of them. All authors baulked at the notion that they had ‘decided’ to be a writer and many stated a simple compulsion to write. Furthermore, a repeated piece of advice given to authors and given by authors revealed by the interviews surrounds the point to write what you know. A number of authors commented that when they wrote honestly, from the heart, their writing flowed, and was of better quality. Many authors reported that in this state of flow -the stories wrote themselves, that the characters led the way, and that the author was simply the means of delivery.

And here is perhaps the key point of the paper – if you are a lesbian woman writing a love story and you are writing from your heart you will inevitably write stories from your experience. You will write in flow about what you know. You will write stories of lesbian love. We should perhaps also add to this the notion that imagination is not a self-conscious,
outward looking process, but something deeply personal.

Lesbian Lives Conference

Here is the download link for the PDF file of my paper “Why do we write stories of lesbian love?” as presented at the 2017 conference. anna-larner-lesbian-lives-paper 

This paper is accompanied by the slide presentation below.

Lesbian Romance Author, WLW & Sapphic FictionAnna Larner

Copyright © 2016 – 2022 Anna Larner

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