Friday, April 1, 2011

Belle de Jour RETURNS!

There was a momentous event in the blogisphere today that reverberated across the U.K. to the U.S.: The amazing debut of a very familiar and awarding winning writer— Belle de Jour, who just launched a sparkling new blog with a twist!!!

(I think that's the first time I've ever used three exclamation points for anything.)

After almost a year hiatus, Dr. Brooke L. Magnanti, 35, the woman behind the famous erotic British author and award-winning blogger, launched a brand new blog today: Sexonomics.

But this time, instead of the anonymous blog she had written under the pen name of Belle de Jour, this new blog proudly proclaims her name and is adorned with a beautiful photograph of Brooke, who writes:


"Hi! My name is Brooke Magnanti, but you may know me better as the author of the Belle de Jour blog and books. This is where I write about social & political stuff, mostly relating to sex.

As an ex-sex worker, you can imagine what my bias is. Nevertheless, I am also a scientist, so will do my best to present the evidence base for each post.

I love discussion but don't have the time to moderate comments. By all means, feel free to discuss on Twitter or your own blog!

Speaking of which, I'm on Twitter - you can follow me here."

Brooke is beyond bright, articulate and educated, she's a writer with an important voice about many topics that happen to include sex work and sex workers.

In 2009, Brooke revealed her identity after a newspaper was about to disclose it without her permission. Brooke, formerly of Bristol, England, was a noted scientist whose specialist areas were developmental neurotoxicology and cancer epidemiology. She has a PhD in informatics, epidemiology and forensic science and had worked at the Bristol Initiative for Research of Child Health as part of a team that researched the potential effects on babies of their mothers' exposure to toxic chemicals.

But, from 2003 to late 2004, Brooke worked as a high-class call girl for a London escort service. She has written an award-winning blog and several bestselling books based on her experiences as a sex worker. Her writing also formed the basis of the TV series Secret Diary of a Call Girl on Showtime, starring Billie Piper in the title role of "Belle."

As any fan of Brooke's knows, she'd been dating then living with a man referred to only as "T" in her books and blog — because he first began leaving his toothbrush in her flat, then gradually the rest of his belongings. While Brooke has not publicly named him, they have will have been married a year this month.

Recently, she and her husband moved to Scotland, after Brooke decided to take the hiatus from penning new entries for her award-winning blog (Where she says simply, "Belle de Jour is the pen name of Brooke Magnanti, a UK-based writer and science researcher. Interests: whiskey, taphonomy, PGP encryption), in favor of concentrating on writing a new book, a variety of articles, and now as it turns out — the miraculous new blog.

She also decided to leave the field of science behind because of the funding crunch in the U.K. for research projects. She has said that since she has other means of support — name her incredible writing — she didn't want to take a science slot from a researcher who does not.

As any reader of this blog knows, I have been a fan of Brooke's since she began her first blog, and have never failed to support (and read) all of her literary projects. I have sorely missed her, and truly rejoice in her victorious return. It is therefore my genuine honor to reprint her first post in its entirety below, or please read it directly on her new blog site, and follow her! [She has also posted recent articles and research she's written, so please read them on her site.]

So, why this blog?

"First off, I'd like to assure you I won't always be writing about rape. Hopefully I'll also be writing about lighter stuff (that is also interesting).

I've been working on the Camden/rape reanalysis stats for a while, so it seemed fitting to post them here as an opener. You can also see it as agreen paper at Scribd, and it has been covered at International Union of Sex Workers, the Camden New Journal, Women's Views on News, theGrauniad, and Hackney Citizen.

Part of what interests me about these topics is how entrenched the debate is in ideological and emotional reactions. Rape is but one example. Even writing about rape in a scientific manner, taking almost an epidemiological viewpoint, is a hot potato. It's a terrible thing, and tough to handle both effectively and sensitively.

But then, so is cancer. We gain little by sugarcoating it - better to tackle the hard stuff head-on. Just like all of you I would like rape to end. I happen to believe the best way to do it is to attack the problem with our methodical hats on. There are a lot of people doing exactly that: unfortunately, their work doesn't get much press.

I sincerely hope you'll keep reading. There's much more to come."

Brooke's books include: Belle de Jour’s Guide to Men, 2009; Belle’s Best Bits, 2009; The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl, September 2005; The Further Adventures of a London Call Girl, May 2007; and Playing the Game, June 2009.

Each one is well-worth reading and re–reading, you can trust me! You can find all of her books at the U.K.'s largest independent bookseller, Waterstones.
Also check out Brooke's op-ed articles on a variety of topics including reforming libel law in Britain, and well as the importance of ensuring the rights of sex workers.

Thank you, dear Brooke, for giving us all a blog well-worth reading again!

— The Curator

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