Breasts panel

Sandi Toksvig to chair panel—Her Breasts Preceded Her into the Room—asking whether men can write women

Sandi Toksvig, whose ridiculously wide range of credits include authoring more than twenty fiction and non-fiction books for children and adults, will appear twice at Primadonna, a new festival celebrating books, music and ideas taking place in Suffolk at the end of the month.

Sandi helms a panel that will pose the all-important question: “can men write women?”

The panel derives its title, ‘Her Breasts Preceded Her Into The Room’, from a real example of deathless prose about a woman by a male author. Sandi will be joined on the panel by two men who certainly can write compelling female characters: Luke Jennings, whose Villanelle novels are the basis of the hit TV show Killing Eve, and Michael Donkor, recently shortlisted for the Desmond Eliot Prize.

Other panelists include academic Naomi Paxton (her alter ego is the comic creation Ada Campe), and HarperCollins’ Executive Publisher, HQ Stories, Lisa Milton.

Sandi says: “Writing any character can be tricky, but some writers create women who aren’t just unlikely, but anatomically impossible. I’m very much looking forward to having some fun at Primadonna festival with this panel, and seeing if we can find the finest example of truly awful writing about women.”

Sandi will also read out some of the best (worst?) examples in the genre of bad writing about women, submitted by readers via the Primadonna Twitter feed (@Primadonnafest).

Later in the day she will appear onstage in lively and intimate conversation with Jude Kelly, founder of the Women of the World (WOW) festivals. They are part of a stellar line-up of names to appear at the inaugural Primadonna, whose founders hopes to establish themselves on the festival circuit with their USP of accessibility, diversity and inclusion.