Speaker: Caren Wilton
Title: Ordinary, extraordinary: recording the stories of sex workers
Author Caren Wilton discusses using oral history – ‘history from below’ – to document what can seem to be a secret or hidden world, and telling stories that are both extraordinary and ordinary. Her book My body, my Business, based on these interviews, was published in 2018
Date: Wednesday 3 April 2019
Time: 12:10 to 1:00pm
Cost: Free. Booking is not required
Venue: Programme Rooms, Te Ahumairangi (ground floor), National Library, corner Molesworth and Aitken Streets, Thorndon
Contact Details: ATLOutreach@dia.govt.n
Caren Wilton’s book My body, my business: New Zealand sex workers in an era of change (Otago University Press, 2018) is a collection of intimate portraits of New Zealand sex workers, based on her series of oral-history interviews carried out over a nine-year period. Here she discusses using oral history – ‘history from below’ – to document what can seem to be a secret or hidden world, and telling stories that are both extraordinary and ordinary.The book is illustrated with photographs taken by Madeleine Slavick, commissioned especially for this publication.
‘One thing I’d like to see is the recognition of sex workers as ordinary, sometimes rather extraordinary, people.’
Dame Catherine Healy: national coordinator, New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective
Public History Talks
The Public History Talks are hosted by the Ministry for Culture & Heritage History Group at the National Library of New Zealand.
They are usually held on the first Wednesday of the month March to November.
Talks in this series are recorded and will be available online
Caren Wilton is an oral historian, writer and editor, and was the recipient of three New Zealand Oral History Awards for her series of interviews with sex workers. An editor at Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand for almost nine years, she is also a freelance book editor. She was the coordinator of an oral history project focusing on Upper Hutt in the 1960s for Upper Hutt City Library in 2015–16, and is the author of short-fiction collection The Heart Sutra (Otago University Press, 2003).
Cover of My body, my business: New Zealand sex workers in an era of change by Caren Wilton, photographs by Madeleine Slavick (Otago University Press, 2018)