Lecturer in English Literature at Leeds Trinity University, Dr Kate Lister, has had her second book published.

Woman with blonde curly short hair stands against white background wearing black off the shoulder long sleeved top.

Harlots, Whores and Hackabouts follows Dr Lister’s first book A Curious History of Sex, with both based on her own research into the history of sex.

The new book is an illustrated cultural history of sex work which focuses on sex workers, revealing how they have lived and worked around the globe. The book reflects on the history of sex work through the eyes of sex workers from medieval times to present day.

The accounts are accompanied by an archive of photographs, artworks and objects, offering insight into sex workers’ lives and challenging assumptions about the industry.

The chapters are structured thematically in a broadly chronological order, each one introducing a cast of complex and entertaining characters operating in an array of different periods, locations and settings.

Harlots, Whores and Hackabouts is another addition to Dr Lister’s research project ‘Whores of Yore’, which she set up in 2015 to encourage conversation on the history of sexuality, the plight of modern sex workers and wider social issues. The project provides academics, activists, sex workers and archivists with a platform to share their experiences, research and stories around sexuality and sexuality studies.

The Whores of Yore Twitter account now has over 500,000 followers and has been an inspiration for topics featured in Harlots, Whores and Hackabouts.

Dr Kate Lister said: “I’m so happy that Harlots, Whores and Hackabouts is finally ready to be launched. It has been a long time in the making but I can’t wait for people to enjoy it now.

“It is a completely different animal to my first book, A Curious History of Sex, and explores the history of sex work, putting sex workers centre stage.

“The history of sex and sex workers, as well as the rights of modern-day sex workers, is something that I have always been passionate about and I’m very lucky that I’m able to publish another book on such an important topic.”

Dr Lister joined historian and broadcaster Dan Snow on his History Hit podcast recently to discuss the book.

He said: “I’m really struck in [the] book how the attitude towards sex workers throughout recorded history have encompassed every single different thing an attitude can be, from celebratory to absolute condemnation wanting to kill them. It’s extraordinary.”

Harlots, Whores and Hackabouts will be released on Thursday 30 September and can be pre-ordered at Waterstones.

Dr Lister will also be taking part in an online launch event with the Wellcome Collection. To find out more and buy tickets, visit the event page.

Categories: English and Creative Writing, Research

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