Sex and the Single Woman: 24 Writers Reimagine Helen Gurley Brown's Cult Classic Edited By Eliza M. Smith, Haley Swanson
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One of Bustle's Best Books of May
A feminist anthology inspired by legendary Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown’s Sex and the Single Girl, featuring twenty-four new essays on the triumphs and heartbreaks of modern singlehood from acclaimed and bestselling authors, including Kristen Arnett, Morgan Parker, Evette Dionne, and Melissa Febos.
Sixty years ago, Helen Gurley Brown's Sex and the Single Girl sent shockwaves through the United States, selling more than two million copies in three weeks. Helen’s message was radical for its time: marriage wasn’t essential for women to lead rich, fulfilling lives.
Now, in these critical, wry, and expansive essays, twenty-four writers reconsider Helen’s advice and how it applies to their own paths, fielding topics that she couldn’t—or wouldn’t—conceive of in 1962: contraception and abortion (an omission demanded by her publisher), queer and trans womanhood, polyamory, celibacy, interracial dating, bodies of all kinds, consent, sex work, IVF, and the pop culture that both saves and fails us.
Eliza Smith and Haley Swanson’s revisionist anthology honors Brown’s irreverent spirit while also validating our modern experiences of singlehood, encouraging us all to reclaim joy where it’s so often been denied.
About The Author:
Haley Swanson is an MFA candidate at Sarah Lawrence College where she's working on a memoir about female obsession as told through her time abroad. Her essays have appeared in The Rumpus, Glamour, Electric Literature, Creative Nonfiction, Brevity, and elsewhere. With Eliza Smith, she's co-editor of the anthology Sex and the Single Woman: 24 Writers Reimagine Helen Gurley Brown's Cult Classic (Harper Perennial, 2022). She lives in New York.
Kathryn Nuernberger’s latest book is The Witch of Eye, which is about witches and witch trials. She is also the author of the poetry collections, RUE, The End of Pink and Rag & Bone, as well as a collection of lyric essays, Brief Interviews with the Romantic Past. Her awards include the James Laughlin Prize from the Academy of American Poets, an NEA fellowship, and notable essays in the Best American series. She teaches poetry and nonfiction for the MFA program at University of Minnesota.