Nicola Griffith Explains Why You Shouldn't Fear Writing Sex Or Violence

Illustration for article titled Nicola Griffith Explains Why You Shouldn't Fear Writing Sex Or Violence

We love Nicola Griffith's writing for its intensity, but also for its realism. And talking to Locus, she explains why she thinks it's important to include real sexuality as well as real violence in her books.


Griffith says:

I'm very much a creature of the body. In my books, physical violence is not cartoon violence; it's about what the body does and how it works, and sometimes how good it feels to use the power of your body. I don't see too many people being relaxed and enjoying their bodies in that way, in real life or books. Which reminds me of one of the very first panels I was ever on, at a Worldcon in 1989. It was about sex in fiction. What happened was that everyone on the panel except me was saying, 'Sex is embarrassing, it's messy, and people never talk about that in fiction and we should talk about that.' For the whole panel I sat there smiling benignly thinking, 'You must be doing it wrong.'

A lot of my work is about the body, and how we feel, and how the world works on our bodies and our bodies work on the world. Setting is my primary joy as a writer: the world and the body in it. I think story comes from that interface, where body meets world. Sort of the way some people think mind is born at the interface of world and brain. Whether you want to call it the problem, or the circumstance, or the situation, or the setup, the place a story begins is the world.

The whole thing is well worth reading.



Ehh I don't agree. Anyone can write sex in a book to "liven" things up. Some put suffering (less than just violence) to force feeling into their work. It takes talent to skip these easy attention grabbers. Way too many people do this in their books anymore.

I wonder what J.R.R. Martin's stuff would be like if you cut this out of his.