Gladfest 2021: Essex Girls: for Profane and Opinionated Women Everywhere with Sarah Perry
11th September - 11th September 2021
Essex Girls are disreputable, disrespectful and disobedient.
They speak out of turn, too loudly and too often, in an accent irritating to the ruling classes.
Their bodies are hyper-sexualised and irredeemably vulgar.
They are given to intricate and voluble squabbling.
They do not apologise for any of this.
And why should they?
In this exhilarating feminist defence of the Essex girl, Sarah Perry re-examines her relationship with her much maligned home county. She summons its most unquiet spirits, from Protestant martyr Rose Allin to the indomitable Abolitionist Anne Knight, sitting them alongside Audre Lorde, Kim Kardashian and Harriet Martineau, and showing us that the Essex girl is not bound by geography. She is a type, representing a very particular kind of female agency, and a very particular kind of disdain: she contains a multitude of women, and it is time to celebrate them.
Sarah Perry, who lives in Norwich, is the author of Essex Girls, Melmoth, The Essex Serpent and After Me Comes the Flood. She has been the UNESCO City of Literature writer-in-residence in Prague and a Gladstone's Library writer-in-residence. Her work has been translated into twenty two languages.
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Banner image by Jamie Drew.