Harlots & 18th Century Working Women

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Harlots - the TV series about 18th century female sex workers - and translating historical fact into onscreen drama. Shahidha Bari is joined by Hallie Rubenhold, Moira Buffini, and Laura Lammasniemi in a conversation organised in partnership with the Royal Society of Literature. Harlots depicts the stories of working women detailed in 1757 in Harris's List of Covent Garden Ladies. Historian Hallie Rubenhold has researched their history and Moira Buffini has translated that into TV scripts. They join Shahidha Bari alongside legal historian Laura Lammasniemi to look at the opportunities and pitfalls in creating historical dramas and what we know and don't know about the lives of sex workers in the 18th century. Hallie Rubenhold’s book The Covent Garden Ladies is about Harris’s List and inspired the series Harlots, to which she was historical consultant. She is author of The Five: The Untold Lives of The Women Killed By Jack The Ripper, which won the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction and has also been optioned as a drama series; and she is author of Lady Worsley's Whim, which became the TV drama The Scandalous Lady W. Scriptwriter Moira Buffini is writer of Harlots, new the film The Dig, which reimagines the events of the 1939 excavation of Sutton Hoo, and Jane Eyre. Her plays include wonder.land, Handbagged, and Dinner. Laura Lammasniemi is Assistant Professor at the University of Warwick Law School. She is currently a Leverhulme Fellow working on a project called Narratives Of Sexual Consent In Criminal Courts, 1870-1950, which looks at how the concept of consent has been understood historically in contexts, such as rape, age of consent, and BDSM. Producer: Emma Wallace

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