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What do women want? Co-editors Margot Kahn and Kelly McMasters collect women’s desires in new anthology

Margot Kahn (left) and Kelly McMasters (right) are the co-editors of Wanting: Women Writing About Desire (Catapult, 2023).
Margot Kahn (left) and Kelly McMasters (right) are the co-editors of ‘Wanting: Women Writing About Desire’ (Catapult, 2023).

This week on The Write Question, host Lauren Korn speaks with Margot Kahn and Kelly McMasters, the co-editors of Wanting: Women Writing About Desire. Wanting is an anthology of essays that explores desire, its ever-changing shape and from multiple lenses of womanhood. Readers of Wanting will see their own wants in these pages, and they’ll be immersed in the haunted nature of desire and the lack, the something or someone missing, that precipitates such a dynamic feeling. What do women want? Women want food, sex, time, autonomy. Women want everything, and in Wanting, women lay themselves bare to their desires—and to us, their readers.

About the Editors:

Margot Kahn is the author of Horses That Buck, the biography of world-champion rodeo cowboy “Cody” Bill Smith, and a collection of poems, A Quiet Day with the West on Fire.

Kelly McMasters is the author of the forthcoming The Leaving Season: A Memoir and Welcome to Shirley: A Memoir from an Atomic Town, the basis for the documentary film The Atomic States of America.

Both Kelly and Margot Kahn co-editors of This Is the Place: Women Writing About Home.

Margot Kahn recommends:

This Is the Place: Women Writing About Home edited by Margot Kahn and Kelly McMasters (Seal Press; Hachette Book Group)

Burn It Down: Women Writing About Anger edited by Lily Dancyger (Seal Press; Hachette Book Group)

Normal People and Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney (Hogarth Press)

Getting Lost by Annie Ernaux (Seven Stories Press)

Kelly McMasters recommends:

So We Can Know: Women of Color on Pregnancy, Loss, Abortion, and Birth edited by Aracelis Girmay (Haymarket Books)

Anonymous Sex edited by Hillary Jordan and Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan (Scribner; Simon & Schuster)

Sugar in My Bowl: Real Women Write About Real Sex edited by Erica Jong (Ecco)

The Laughter by Sonora Jha (HarperCollins)

Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City by Jane Wong (Tin House Books)

Still Life at Eighty by Abigail Thomas (Golden Notebook Press)

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo (Avid Reader Press; Simon & Schuster)

Lauren Korn recommends:

Wanting: Women Writing About Desire (Catapult) and This Is the Place: Women Writing About Home (Seal Press; Hachette Book Group) edited by Margot Kahn and Kelly McMasters

Ugly Feelings by Sienne Ngai (Harvard University Press)

Normal Distance by Elissa Gabbert (Soft Skull Press)

The Curious Thing by Sandra Lim (W. W. Norton & Company)

The Female Complaint by Lauren Berlant (Duke University Press)

Fruiting Bodies by Kathryn Harlan (W. W. Norton & Company)

The poetry of Robin Coste Lewis and Tracy K. Smith

The Write Question team for this episode was Lauren Korn, host and co-producer; and Chris Moyles, co-producer, editor, and sound engineer.

The Write Question logo and brand (2022) was designed by Molly Russell. You can see more of her work at and on Instagram @iamthemollruss. Our music was written and recorded by John Floridis.

Funding for The Write Question comes from Humanities Montana; members of Montana Public Radio; and from the Greater Montana Foundation—encouraging communication on issues, trends, and values of importance to Montanans.

The Write Question is a production of Montana Public Radio.

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Lauren R. Korn holds an M.A. in poetry from the University of New Brunswick, where she was the recipient of the Tom Riesterer Memorial Prize and the Angela Ludan Levine Memorial Book Prize. A former bookseller and the former Director of the Montana Book Festival, she is now an Arts and Culture Producer at Montana Public Radio and the host of it’s literature-based radio program and podcast, ‘The Write Question.’
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