Katherine Angel is the author of Unmastered: A Book On Desire, Most Difficult To Tell (published in the UK by Penguin/Allen Lane and in the USA by Farrar, Straus & Giroux). Her writing has appeared in The Independent, Prospect, The New Statesman, Aeon, and Five Dials. She studied at Cambridge and Harvard universities, has a PhD from Cambridge, and after a fellowship at the University of Warwick, currently holds a research fellowship at Queen Mary, University of London. She is writing a book on 'female sexual dysfunction', feminism, and subjecthood. Her research has been published in History of the Human Sciences, Biosocieties, and The Lancet. She also collaborates with performance group The Blackburn Company. Unmastered is her first book. It came out in hardback in the UK in September 2012 and comes out in paperback in July 2014.


Unmastered is an incisive, moving, and lyrical work that allows us to think afresh about desire. Touching on experiences of desire and pleasure, as well as grief and pain, the book probes the porousness between masculine and feminine, thought and sensation, self and culture, power and pliancy. It celebrates the erotic, while reflecting critically on cultural ideas about desire, sexuality, and gender. Exploring how our lives can be shaped by the words we use and the stories we tell, Unmastered is a searching work that shifts in meaning and resonance even as it is read.


Crossbones Graveyard — Independent
Amora, The Academy of Sex and Relationships — Prospect
Steve McQueen's Shame — The History of Emotions
Desire that Dare not Speak — New Statesman
On Desire and Reflections of Self — Wellcome Trust
Papering Over The Cracks — Aeon Magazine
The Enthrallment of Neuroscience: Naomi Wolf’s Vagina — The Lancet
On Lily Briscoe, in To The Lighthouse — Zola Books
On audience, persona, and silence: How I wrote Unmastered — FSG Work In Progress
On Kate Bush and Prince — Five Dials Magazine
On the music that shaped Unmastered — FSG Bookkeeping

Collaboration on Unmastered with the Blackburn Company

Tender 4: In which the editors of Tender Journal interview me

A Response to Katherine Angel’s Unmastered

Interview with Publishers’ Weekly

Interview with Tracy Clark-Flory (salon.com)

Thompson’s Live: Chris Goode and Company’s podcast, on the subject of the book and performance, with performance maker Andy Field and poet Elizabeth James

Interview at Nota Beauty, Christine Cody’s blog

Interview with Meredith Turits, Tottenville Review

Caitlin Shortell’s Notes on Unmastered

60 Second Interview with History of Feminism Network

In which I interview the editors of tender journal



2nd March 2016
Reading at Kingston Writing School, University of Kingston

5th November 2015
‘In Order To Have No Face: Writing The First Person Sexual Self’
Sext, Department of Literature
University of Oslo, Norway

17th-18th October 2015
‘Technosexuals’, with Helen Hester
Transformation Marathon Radio
Serpentine Galleries, London’

27th July 2015
Reading from Unmastered and Q&A with Dr Kaye Mitchell
Writing Affect Workshop, Humboldt University, Berlin

18th July 2015
‘To utter truths and promise bliss: how we talk about women’s sexual desire’
Symposium on Desire
Wellcome Collection, London

3rd July 2015
‘Destroying the Object: Confessing Pleasure in First-Person Writing’
Women Writing Pleasure, Liverpool John Moores University

11th June, 2015, 6pm
‘Looking Back in Psychiatry and Post-Feminism’
Maudsley Philosophy Group,
Institute of Psychiatry, London 

27th April 2015, 7pm
Talk at Film4 and Wellcome Trust dinner
Wellcome Collection, London 

18th April 2015, 2-4pm
Talk on ‘Superior Goods and Household Gods’ exhibition
Castlefield Gallery, Manchester

5th February 2015, 2pm
’Psychiatric Pasts: Looking Back in Female Sexual Dysfunction 
and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuals’
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

29th January 2015, 7pm
Uncomfortably Alive, Somerset House

15th January 2015, 2pm
’Political and epistemological critiques of the DSM’
Queen Mary, University of London

2nd December 2014, 7pm
Reading (with the Blackburn Company) at Clap Trap
Vogue Fabrics, London

9th October 2014, 6pm
Reading at Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast

26-28th September 2014
Collaborative residency at PAL Labs, Loch Long, Scotland 

17th September 2014, 7.15pm
Unmastered Remastered at Nottingham Contemporary

5th September 2014
Reading & talk Gladfest, Gladstone’s Library

2nd July 2014
The Gender Issue (organised by tender magazine)
Southbank, Royal Festival Hall

12th May 2014, 7pm
Performance of Unmastered, Remastered 
Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow

29th April 2014 7pm
Reading & Q&A at Buechereien Wien
Vienna, Austria

18th March 2014
Coming Off Clean: Women’s Sexual Autobiography in Contemporary Art and Literature
Symposium at Corpus Christi, Oxford

12th February 2014
Public lecture at University of Leeds (Katrina Honeyman Memorial Lecture)
Poor Freud, he was born before we were: Historicisation, Psychoanalysis and Post-Feminism in Female Sexual Dysfunction and the DSM 
Rupert Beckett Lecture Theatre, 5.30 pm

10th November 2013
Talk and discussion at British American Project panel on the politics of relationships

11 September 2013
Berlin International Literary Festival
Haus der Berliner Festspiel

9 September 2013
Hamburg, Germany

Friday 30th August 2013
Intimacy Lab at Hack the Barbican curates an extract from Unmastered:

August 2013: White Review No. 8 Launch at Foyles, discussion with Lauren Elkin on Ecriture Féminine 

June 2013: Reading and Q&A with Kate Zambreno (author of Heroines, Semiotexte, MIT Press) at Community Bookstore, Brooklyn, New York.

June 2013: Reading at Animal Farm Reading Series, Brooklyn, New York.

June 2013: Reading, and Q&A with Dr Julie Walsh, Warwick Book Festival.

April 2013: Performance of Unmastered, Remastered with the Blackburn Theatre Company, at launch of poetry magazine Clinic III and Five Dials Magazine, London.

October 2012: Reading at The Book Stops Here, London.

June 2012: Performance of Unmastered, Remastered with The Blackburn Company, Institut Français’ Night of Philosophy.

Unmastered is written with an honesty so defiantly pure it amounts to an act of cultural resistance. Poetic in the best sense, Unmastered is sharply truthful, musical, beautifully patterned and full of memorable insights and images. It is a book you immediately start to reread.’
— Adam Foulds, author of The Quickening Maze and The Broken Word

‘...the real joy lies in the artfulness with which she uses these intimate episodes as a way of unwrapping the larger issue of what it means to be a woman, both object and subject of desire …Unmastered is a giddily joyful book...Days after reading, its images linger in the mind...[an] elegant and uplifting journey through the labyrinth of female lust.’
— Olivia Laing, The Observer

‘A thinking woman’s meditation on sexual desire...ghostly and poetic...In the end, Angel doesn’t offer up any pat answers to her questions because she knows that none exist; desire, like liberation, is individual—not universal.’
Publishers Weekly

‘...An intriguing literary and cultural study…Katherine Angel writes in a first-person voice that allows her to be erudite and personal at once, often taking an intimate detail and broadening its relevance...The strength of Angel’s writing...makes the book seem both universal and intimate at once.’
The Economist

‘Katherine Angel’s Unmastered is one of those totally out-of-the-blue, impossible-to-classify, weird and new and wonderful fiction-ish non-fiction books, which happily come along every so often and make you go, “Whoa: this is what we need now” ...Angel’s masterful debut provides an aptly timed, erudite, pretty much perfect antidote to all the shoddily written erotica out there...[Unmastered] gives a libidinous thrill all of its own.’
Dazed and Confused

'Angel muses on the limits of words, on what we call on words to do. She runs over the gaps between lovers, lays bare the failures of language to narrow those distances....All the spaces and blanks in the book take on an amazing tension.'
— Lauren Elkin, The White Review

‘An unconventional and strikingly lyrical observation of women and their desire to speak.’
Kirkus Reviews

‘With short bursts of prose teeming with dynamic imagery and language, Angel swirls together a number of themes around sex and desire in a way that is....intimate and questioning. I found the work to be staunchly open – the writer poses questions to her audience, but without aggression or judgement.’
For Books’ Sake
Interview with For Books’ Sake

‘a construct, a literary meditation...political and poetical...critically self-aware’
— Iain Finlayson Times Reviews

‘an unconventional, deeply personal exploration of female sexuality.’

June Books To Watch Out For, New Yorker

‘...a supple intelligence and a slithery style...[Angel] treats the silences between sentences like enjambments; she uses them to bait us...Gender becomes a game, a mutually agreed upon madness, a source of strength, a drag, a turn-on. She presents these paradoxes, but never resolves them. Why would she?...Unmastered is a smart rejoinder to the idea that pleasure has nothing to teach us.’
Parul Sehgal, Slate

‘A genre-busting nonfiction account that reads like poetry, revels in ambiguity, and intentionally defies definition.’
Oprah Magazine

‘Katherine Angel’s Unmastered stayed in my head for weeks after I read it. It’s brave, moving, and perfectly structured.’
— Sam Byers, author of Idiopathy

‘unafraid…Angel’s fiercely intelligent and moving memoir of sexuality and desire is a challenging, vital work’
— Sam Byers, Best Books of 2012

‘Writing honestly about sex takes moxie, but to reach the degree of subtlety and significance Angel attains also requires knowledge, literary finesse, wit, and acuity...[Unmastered is] meticulously crafted...Angel is funny, tender, candid, and generous...Unmastered is a brave, beautiful, thoroughly considered, and haunting book of reflections, a masterful inquiry into sexuality and its consequences.’
— Booklist

‘A beautiful, beautiful book…grappling with big questions.’
Roxane Gay’s Top Ten Books of 2013

‘Beautifully details the Fun House mirror maze of desire’
Tracy Clark-Flory, Salon

‘Angel manages to convey the rifts that can open when women are having sex’

If you’re a fan of Virginia Woolf, Jeanette Winterson, or Maggie Nelson: you need to read this book. If you’re not a fan: you still need to read this book.
Michele Filgate, Vol.1 Brooklyn

‘Don’t read Unmastered: A Book on Desire, unless you want to think critically about hot sex.’ 

‘The Unmastered effect is insidious. What begins as an energetically explicit sexual autobiography subverts itself to become tragic, though this may just be its curious mirror-like effect.’
Time’s Flow Stemmed

‘Angel embraces [sexuality’s] contradictions, grappling with the impossibility of extricating fact from feeling.’
Boston Globe

‘Angel raises familiar anxieties about being female and sexual: the pressure to be silent, pleasing, sexy but not too sexy…’

‘Once in a while a book appears that’s so bad you want it to be a satire.’

German-speaking press

Die Welt 

Berliner Zeitung

Die Standard




Also reviewed in:
Buch Magazin

Literary Representation

The Wylie Agency
17 Bedford Square
London WC1B 3JA
Telephone: 020 7908 5900
Facsimile: 020 7908 5901
Email: mail@wylieagency.co.uk



Penguin/Allen Lane
80 Strand
London WC2R 0RL 
Telephone: 020 7010 4989
Email: patrick.loughran@uk.penguingroup.com


Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Sarita Varma
18 West 18th Street
New York, NY 10011
Telephone: 212 741 6900
Email: sarita.varma@fsgbooks.com


Katharina Wilts
Rotebuehlstrasse 77
70178 Stuttgart
Telephone: 0711 6672 1716
Email: k.wilts@klett-cotta.de


De Bezige Bij
Michele Meermans
Nassaustraat 37-41,
2000 Antwerp
Telephone: 322 205 9404
Email: michele.meermans@wpg.be


Katherine collaborates with The Blackburn Company on a live art reading of Unmastered. Performances have taken place at the Institut Français, at the launch of Clinic III and Five Dials magazines at Son Gallery, and at Vogue Fabrics in London, as well as at Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts and Nottingham Contemporary Future performances are in development. Please contact Katherine via The Wylie Agency, or Nick Blackburn, if you are interested in hosting a performance.