We hope that some of you were able to join Scottish author Lesley McDowell in Toronto and New York this past week as she visited bookstores in both cities to promote the paperback release of her latest book, Between the Sheets: Nine 20th Century Women Writers and their Famous Literary Partnerships, which came out just last week. Before visiting Bluestockings this past Saturday night for a packed reading and Q&A, Lesley dropped by the Overlook office to meet the team and chat about the story behind her book.
As March is women’s history month, there’s no better time to reexamine the gender relations in some of history’s most famous literary partnerships—Rebecca West and H.G. Wells, Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, Elizabeth Smart and George Barker, as well as many others. As Lesley McDowell explains in the video below, there’s often more to these stories of famous literary liaisons than meets the eye.
Praise for Between the Sheets
“McDowell … has culled incredibly juicy details. With so many affairs and broken hearts, the most surprising things is that anything got written in the last 100 years.” – The New York Times Book Review
“A pleasingly fresh look at some relationships we think we already know about.” – Independent
“McDowell … raises important questions about how sexual choice relates to any writer’s work and how things may have changed for women writers.” – Financial Times
“Suddenly, these feminist-lit figures seem more real and more grand. We feel the love and heartache that drove them to write.” – BUST MAGAZINE
“Laudatory … A welcome addition to the lives of writers in love and lust.” – The New Republic
“A powerful set of literary and biographical sketches perfect for any literary or women’s history holding.” – Midwest Book Review
“The subtle, argumentative slant of the text is laudable for its elevation of women commonly stereotyped as victims who lived passive lives in relation to the men they loved. Anyone interested in some crisp, literary gossip should take a look at this book.” – Feminist Review
“Lesley McDowell's new book, Between the Sheets: Literary Liaisons of Nine 20th-Century Women Writers, ditches some well-worn biographical tropes and sets out to make an interesting point about female authors: that we often think of their love lives as tragic not because they were, but because they're women.” – AOL.com’s Lemondrop