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B.J. Epstein

Senior lecturer in literature and public engagement, University of East Anglia

B.J. Epstein is a lecturer in literature and public engagement at the University of East Anglia in England, where she specialises in children's literature, queer literature and literary translation. Her new book, Are the Kids All Right?, is about how LGBTQ characters are portrayed in children's literature and what this says about society. It is available at: She is also the author of a book on how figurative language is translated in children's literature and a textbook for use in English as a foreign language classrooms and she is the editor of a book on Nordic translation.
B.J. is also a writer, editor, and Swedish-to-English translator. She has published over 160 articles, essays, reviews and short stories in a variety of publications and has translated a number of books and many other texts.
She can be reached through and is on Twitter as bjepstein.

Let's Talk About Sex: Sexuality And The GP

"Just keep having lots of sex with your husband!", the doctor told me in a bright voice. This was her advice when I went to see her to talk about wanting to get pregnant. What was especially irritating about her instruction - besides the obvious fact that for many women, "lots of sex" isn't enough to impregnate them - is that I have a wife, not a husband.
18/10/2017 08:07 BST

The Importance Of Young People Studying Languages

Though English is my native language, I speak and read some Swedish every day to my young daughter. I do this not just because I have a passion for Swedish language and literature, but also because I know how useful language skills are.
29/08/2017 15:07 BST

Can A Man Breastfeed? Supporting Breastfeeding LGBTQ Families

These are just some of questions that I've frequently been asked in the 34 months of my daughter's life. Despite the obvious point that they're rather personal subjects to discuss with people I often don't know very well, the topic of breastfeeding and LGBTQ families is an extremely important one.
22/08/2017 16:37 BST

The Breast Scenario: Breastfeeding is the Norm, End of Story

It's a pity that breastfeeding is currently not the cultural norm in the UK, and many other western countries, as there's absolutely no doubt that it is the biological norm. Women are free to make choices about how they feed their babies, but if you choose formula, there's no need to put down breastfeeding and breastfeeders.
15/09/2015 17:08 BST

The Unequality Act

The Equality Act must be implemented and followed, and it's breastfeeders who need to be made comfortable, not stupid people who can't stop staring and then whine about what they've seen.
26/03/2015 17:50 GMT

'Aggressive' and 'Stingy': Anti-Semitism in the UK

Theresa May said the UK has to "wipe out anti-Semitism". The BBC has now featured an article about Jews in the UK fearing for their safety, but unfortunately this doesn't surprise me at all. This new interest in British anti-Semitism stems largely from the attacks in France, and it's a shame that it took such a tragic event for Brits to begin to consider the problems here at home.
20/01/2015 17:34 GMT


It's been suggested to me that appropriate, discrete places to feed my baby while out in public are my car and a public toilet. Neither place is comfortable and the latter is certainly far from hygienic. Few adults like eating meals in cars or toilets, and I wonder why they think babies should.
07/12/2014 19:57 GMT

Don't Underestimate Children

Children, like adults, have the right to see books that reflect the world around them, and the broader world, too. That means, yes, featuring different races, cultures, genders, sexual orientations, religions, abilities, classes, ages, and so on, and also exploring political, moral, physical, and emotional issues
13/07/2014 21:45 BST

LGBT History Month, a.k.a. Human History Month

Who cares about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their lives and accomplishments? We all should. But why? During LGBT History Month, we might learn about LGBT people who have made or continue to make a difference to our world. We can learn about their accomplishments and how they have changed science, literature, or many other fields.
28/01/2014 17:25 GMT

The Value of a PhD

What is a PhD worth? This is an important question, and not just for the person considering undertaking doctoral studies. What is a PhD worth to our society?
20/01/2014 16:11 GMT

Butch, Femme and Beyond: Books for Queer Parents and Their Kids

Children who have queer parents but who don't see families like theirs represented in literature (or in movies or on TV) might start to get an erroneous impression about the way the world works. They might begin to think that their family is unique, and therefore strange and unacceptable.
08/01/2014 17:08 GMT

Going Low-Brow at the University of Kent

Everyone knows that children's literature can't possibly be high quality, right? It doesn't count as proper literary fiction, does it? It can't make people consider big issues or challenge ideas of genre, can it? This week, the University of Kent's creative writing programme embarrassed itself by its advertising strategy, followed by a series of rather ignorant tweets.
02/12/2013 17:28 GMT

Being Honest, Changing Minds

Some people simply have ideas they haven't reconsidered in years. They think that they don't know gays and that gay issues have nothing to do with them. They don't see why they should think about equal rights or about health issues or about their stereotyped views of humourless lesbians and camp men.
28/11/2013 17:46 GMT

Twerking at Work: Images of Women in Society

It's not just about the twerking. It's about working, and it's about living. In a strange way, many women have to metaphorically twerk at work and in their private lives, and it's time for this to stop.
12/11/2013 17:48 GMT

Dirty Work

Why should women waste their precious time putting on mascara and foundation and shaving their legs? Who has that kind of excess time? Personally, my goal is to get to work as quickly as possible in the morning and to start applying myself to the tasks at hand. Note: I mean applying myself to my work, not applying make-up to myself.
06/11/2013 12:44 GMT

Out Here

How often do young lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or otherwise queer children or young adults see positive reflections of themselves and their lives in literature, in the media, on TV, or in films? When will they be featured in a documentary? When will they learn that they too are productive, welcomed, supported members of society who have bright futures ahead of them?
04/11/2013 17:17 GMT