Saturday 20 January 2018

Rowan Pelling: Why Fifty Shades of Grey has made E. L James rich and my erotic efforts never made me a bean

E. L. James
E. L. James

ON Monday afternoon I was walking along the dramatic stretch of Hadrian’s Wall near Steel Rigg. As I gazed at the spectacular landscape the sudden buzz of my mobile phone rudely shattered my reverie.

“Hello, I’m a researcher from BBC Woman’s Hour,” said the voice on the other end, “and I was wondering if you could join a discussion on Fifty Shades of Grey tomorrow morning.” I only just managed to hold back a small yelp of horror. Fleeing the escalating phenomenon of the best-selling “mummy porn” trilogy wasn’t my primary reason for travelling 200 miles north, but it was certainly on my list.

Since E?L James’s novels hit the headlines in March, I have been invited – as the former editor of The Erotic Review – by the Today programme, Radio 5 Live and Woman’s Hour (although once clearly wasn’t enough) to discuss the book’s success. I have also amassed a summer erotic reading list for Glamour magazine, pontificated about the Grey volumes and their author at various literary festivals and I have worked a diversion on the topic into my stand-up comedy routine on the British and sex.

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