Katharine Quarmby is a contributing editor at Newsweek Europe. She has worked as a journalist for the BBC, including stints as Newsnight’s science and politics producer, and at The Economist, as well as contributing to other papers. She has written two non-fiction (print) books, the first of which, Scapegoat: why we are failing disabled people (Portobello Press, 2011), investigated disability hate crime and won the AMIA Media award, and No Place to Call Home: Inside The Real Lives of Gypsies and Travellers, shortlisted for the Bread and Roses Award. She also writes non-fiction and short fiction e-books and silly books for children.
What is your feature about?
My feature is about sexuality and disability. Usually features about this topic tend to focus on interviews with scientists and disabled men, and most are also heterosexual. I hope that this one is different – there are academics and scientists in the piece, but many are disabled people, and many are women. Not everyone is heterosexual this time around either…
What did you learn that you didn’t expect?
I actually learned a lot, even during investigating this topic for the article pitch. I learned that disabled and older people with age-related impairments have lots to tell younger and non-disabled people about sexuality, if there was an appetite to listen. The whole Hollywood view of sex, that sex only happens between two completely perfect and beautiful people (and who gets to define that anyhow?) as one interviewee put it, is so damaging to all of us. I’m so glad I got to do this project.
Read Katharine's feature on Mosaic from 3 March 2015.