My First Smut

My First Smut: Disappointed by Guinevere

My First Smut is a recurring feature where we talk about our formative smut experiences. These short confessionals may include such details as: What book did you read? How old were you? Were there other people involved? What made the experience special? What role does smut play in your life?

This week, author Jane Yolen shares her experience reading the legends of King Arthur for the first time.


The first truly romantic book I ever read at about nine years old was a version of King Arthur. When Guinevere finally showed up, I cheered.

But since she didn’t get a sword and battle armor I was disappointed.

And when she ran off with Lancelot, I was totally disillusioned. I mean–I was already in love with Arthur. What was she doing? It seemed anti-romantic to me. Which is why when my younger brother, best friend Diane, and I played at King Arthur in New York City’s Central Park which was right across the street from our apartment house, not a one of us wanted to be Guinevere. We traded off being Arthur, Sir Kay, Merlin, but never Lancelot or Guinevere. They were cast out forever. Well, perhaps not forever, because as a writer I wrote a bunch of Arthurian short stories and a novel with Guinevere as tough-minded young woman.


Jane Yolen has been called the Hans Christian Andersen of America. She is the author of more than four hundred books, including children’s fiction, poetry, short stories, graphic novels, nonfiction, fantasy, and science fiction. Her publications include Owl Moon, The Devil’s Arithmetic, Briar Rose, Sister Emily’s Starship, and Sister Light, Sister Dark. Among her many honors are the Caldecott and Christopher Medals, multiple Nebula, World Fantasy, Mythopoeic, Golden Kite, and Jewish Book awards; as well as the World Fantasy Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Science Fiction Poetry Grand Master Award. Yolen is also a teacher of writing and a book reviewer. She lives in Western Massachusetts and St Andrews, Scotland.

Her next book, The Scarlet Circus, is a collection of love stories, and will be available in mid-Februrary.


Have an early smut experience you’d like to share with us? If you’d like to see your story featured, send us an email or fill out our questionnaire and we’ll post it in an upcoming week.

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