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Erotic Review Interview

Posted on 19 July 2004. © Copyright 2004-2024 WriteWords
A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
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WriteWords talks to the Erotic Review, a magazine who publish writing from 'the practically pornographic to the gently allusive.' Recently, published work has ranged through subjects as diverse as horses, caviar and a talking vulva.

Tell us about the Erotic Review

Erotic Review began as the newsletter for the art publisher the Erotic Print Society, then expanded exponentially and went independent for one year. It's now under the wing of Felix Dennis at Dennis Publishing ltd. It has always been edited by Rowan Pelling, and is now a glossy some 84 pages long. The content is a mixture of literary short stories, original features, extracts, photos and illustrations. Each issue is themed, ie "Hollywood" or "Motoring". Our definition of "erotic" is very elastic - the writing ranges from practically pornographic to gently allusive. There's a fulltime editorial staff of six (five women and one man).

What kind of writing do you look for?

High-brow, sexy, funny stuff.

Favourite writers?

Impossible to say! Our hall of fame of past contributors includes (to give an idea of the variety): DBC Pierre, Michel Faber, Sarah Waters, Anthony Bourdain, Helen Walsh, Auberon Waugh, Barry Humphries, Helen Cross, Kathy Lette, Miranda Seymour, Robert Irwin, Belle de Jour... This year we've had stories and features on things as diverse as caviar, Tahiti, horses, Bugattis, footballers, burlesque dancers, hallucinogenic drugs, yachts and a talking vulva.

What kind of writing excites you?

  1. Something original, but still convincing. It's very hard to write good sex, and easy to write a comic account of bad sex: there are lots of traps awaiting the would-be erotic writer.
  2. You need to be very precise in the use of language, and be careful with your euphemisms. Sometimes calling a spade a spade is preferable to calling it an exquisite rosy-hued digging device.
  3. Then there's the cliches - lots of erotic scenarios can seem pretty hackneyed (ie Victorian-style initation of virgins, milkmen coming to call...). And we instantly destroy anything mentioning "rosebud clitori".
  4. And you need to keep track of what the various limbs and orifices of your protagonists are at any given time - your orgy won't work if the person who was meant to be at one end is then simultaneously supposed to be at the other. It's a bit like Twister - if your right foot is on yellow, is it technically possible to put your left on green when you right hand is on blue.
  5. Anyone who begins their covering letter "Dear Mr Pelling" clearly hasn't read the magazine, or else they'd know that our editor is a woman. The all time best example of this has to be the person who wrote "Dear Mr Pelling" and rounded up by saying "Are you the attractive leggy redhead in the photo on the website?" It's essential to know the publication, and it really shows if someone hasn't bothered to do their research. We're not looking for things that are unerotic or more suitable for Razzle or twenty pages long. Once someone sent in a novel and asked if we'd find them an agent and a publisher - which was pretty silly.
  6. We're also not looking for stories that cover a recent theme - if we've already covered something, we can't run another piece that retreads it.

A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
Click here to learn more about becoming a member.

Comments by other Members

Account Closed at 09:16 on 20 July 2004  Report this post
Great interview and it sounds like an interesting magazine. The web site is pretty snazzy and it does look very high-market. I'd read it ;)


tinyclanger at 14:08 on 21 July 2004  Report this post
I'm left wondering who this magazine is aimed at.
Men? Women? Both? I'd hope the latter, but the shots of magazine covers on the website all feature scantily draped women...wonder what the content is like?
I'd hope of a better show at equality inside given the mainly female editing team, and the list of contributors....Or is this just a tits n' bums (yawn) for those who like to consider themselves a cut above?

Account Closed at 17:40 on 21 July 2004  Report this post
I'm looking for an outlet for the raunchier end of my poetry - generally subtle and non-explicit, there are examples amongst my archive here on writewords. Maybe this is an opportunity.

Anyone submitted poetry to them?

I'll email and see what they say.


Account Closed at 18:04 on 21 July 2004  Report this post
Just had a correspondence with Erotic Review. They take stories, but not poetry.


Account Closed at 18:29 on 21 July 2004  Report this post
Aah :(


Anna Reynolds at 20:29 on 21 July 2004  Report this post
Tinyclanger, there's only one way to find out- get yourself a copy and let us all know! I know some writers who've written for it who are most un likely erotic writers, but then it depends on your definition of the word I guess.

tinyclanger at 13:09 on 22 July 2004  Report this post
Anna, you're SO right. I'll just have to send off for the trial issues so that I can do some serious research on this highly important topic! (heh,heh)

No, I am very interested...I've glanced (ahem) at more traditional, in your face (so to speak), erotic writing and I often find it
a) ridiculously unrealistic, to the degree that it's funny..or sad.
b) totally rooted in the male perspective, and giving out heaven knows what messages about female sexuality and desire.

I'll sample some of this and let y'all know.

Hamburger Yogi & PBW at 04:32 on 11 August 2004  Report this post
Just a quick mention that the Erotic Review really is quality stuff. They published a book of extracts - short fiction and I found it very absorbing - definitely not of the tits and bums variety.

I am wondering a lot about the meaning of 'erotic writing' - a lot of my stories are focussed on sex in some way - but I would hate to be classified as an erotic writer. To me erotic writing is essentially an emotional experience (nothing to do with titivation). In my struggle to find a writer's voice I find I am more and more drawn to what is known as erotic, but for me it is more connected with the spiritual and personal evolution. Hopeless business.

Hamburger Yogi

Nearlypastit at 15:44 on 05 July 2010  Report this post
Oh sod it!

And there's me with my 'erotic adventure' agonisingly extracted over 2 years and 3 months, ready to go... and then this!

All my greatest sexual concepts swept away in one interview:

Here's an excert of what the world is now missing out on for ever:

"Clint stood, a slight and emaciated figure in his nearly white Y-fronts, unwrapping the Twister mat as he whistled.

Mercedes and Chelsea 'the Chav twosome bondage, S&M cribbage, bingo, lotto, mystery girls' trembled in awe, wondering why of the parts of the body the little arrow might point to, there wasn't a 'Rosebud Clitori' to be seen on the dial."

I'm crushed.

An artist can only take so many knocks y'know!

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