How’s this for fun? Take 27 incredible writers–including winners of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, PEN Awards, Women's Prize for Fiction, Edgar Award, and more–and invite each of them to write an erotic short story. Then publish the collection in one steamy anthology with the authors listed alphabetically at the beginning of the book but none of the stories attributed, so nobody knows who wrote what. We're talking about authors Robert Olen Butler, Louise Erdrich, Julia Glass, Rebecca Makkai, Helen Oyeyemi. Mary-Louise Parker, Jason Reynolds, Paul Theroux, Luis Alberto Urrea, Edmund White, and more.
The idea was the brainchild of authors Hillary Jordan and Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, and the book is called Anonymous Sex. In this episode, Hillary and Cheryl join Julie and Eve to discuss the responses they got when they reached out to authors, how the freedom of anonymity allowed authors to write outside their own identities, and what surprised them most about the collection (“there is a lot of cunnilingus in this book”).
Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan is author of the international bestsellers Sarong Party Girls and A Tiger in the Kitchen: A Memoir of Food and Family. She's also the editor of the fiction anthology, Singapore Noir. Cheryl was a staff writer at The Wall Street Journal, In Style, and The Baltimore Sun, and her stories and reviews have also appeared in The New York Times, Times Literary Supplement, The Paris Review, The Washington Post, and Bon Appétit, among others.
Hillary Jordan is the author of the novels Mudbound and When She Woke. Mudbound was an international bestseller that won multiple awards and was adapted into a critically acclaimed Netflix film that earned four academy award nominations. Hillary is also a screenwriter, essayist, and poet whose work has been published in The New York Times, McSweeney's, and Outside Magazine, among others.
“A wild and varied romp into all kinds of sexual tales and fantasies. . . . this is a book you'll wanna keep on your bedside table." —Refinery 29
“The stories will satisfy you and fill you with longing. . . . as with a casual tryst, the best part of this book is the anonymity; the promise of no strings attached.” —New York Times Book Review
"A sizzling assemblage of top-notch literary fiction.” —Los Angeles Times