In the early years of my professional life, receiving unwanted and unprovoked groping and kissing was not unusual. It was the story of my life, and now we are discovering that it is not unusual. It is many women’s stories.
How many times did I speak out? None. We don’t speak out. The most ambitious, careful women never speak out. Why? Because it’s too hard to get into the room in the first place to complain about men’s behavior once we are there.
I was chased around a desk (literally) by my first modeling agent when I dodged his gropes and kisses. I was 18, he was 50. I was completely caught off guard and ran out of his office. I had just started modeling and at the time, he was the only game in town as far as agents went. I never went into the agency again.
Photographs from an exhibition of Cleopatra in Rome.
Last week, I visited the site of the two-month Hong Kong occupation known as the Umbrella Revolution. In recent days, in violent clashes with the students, police have begun to dismantle a secondary site at Mong Kok. Yet this encampment, which has blocked traffic in the main city square for nine weeks , still stands.
STEALING ATHENA, my novel about the 2300 year journey of the contrversial Elgin Marbles, is written from the perspectives of two of history’s most fascinating women. Now, another fascinating women, Amal Alamuddin Clooney, has joined the legal team arguing for restoration of the marbles (aka The Parthenon Sculptures) to Greece. It’s a complex issue with a long history, and I hope Mrs. Clooney can help move it forward in a constructive way. Please read on…
WHO OWNS ART? WHO OWNS DEMOCRACY?
KAREN ESSEX, TRAVELLING FOR DRACULA IN LOVE, OR HOW TO ADD NEW GEOGRAPHY TO AN OLD STORY AND RELOCATE A VAMPIRE
Readers often tell me that they take my novels on holiday as travel and history guides. I love giving readers an experience on the page, but I love it even more when they are inspired to leave their armchairs and experience the characters and the history firsthand. As an historical novelist, nothing informs my work like travel. I love to walk in my characters’ footsteps, breathing in the air that they breathed, literally sharing molecules with them.