Best-selling author Val McDermid examines the development of the lesbian novel and its transition from the margins to the mainstream. In 1950, a novel called Women's Barracks was published. It sold in the millions and sparked an entire new genre: lesbian pulp fiction. Val McDermid samples Tender Torment, Warped Women and Satan Was a Lesbian. These books weren't entirely positive in their portrayal of lesbian life; Patricia Highsmith's Carol was a rare, classic exception. Maureen Duffy recalls the publication of her critically acclaimed Microcosm in 1966 and Val examines the influence of feminist publishing houses on the growth of novels with a lesbian theme. Jeanette Winterson talks about why she hates the label 'lesbian novel' and Sarah Waters describes the importance of television drama in bringing lesbian fiction into the living rooms of the nation.