Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Kate Pullinger

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Kate Pullinger writes for both print and digital platforms. In 2009 her novel The Mistress of Nothing won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction. Her prize-winning digital fiction projects, Inanimate Alice and Flight Paths: A Networked Novel, have reached audiences around the world.

Kate is Reader in Creative Writing and New Media at De Montfort University, Leicester, UK, where she co-founded TRG, the Transliteracy Research Group. Her books include A Little Stranger, Weird Sister, The Last Time I Saw Jane and Where Does Kissing End? as well as the short story collections, My Life as a Girl in a Men’s Prison and Tiny Lies. She co-wrote the novel of the film The Piano with director Jane Campion.

Kate comes from B.C., and she lives in London, England with her family.

Kate's website is www.katepullinger.com. Please send your questions for Kate to writer@openbooktoronto.com

Ten Questions, with Kate Pullinger

OBT:

Tell us about your book, The Mistress of Nothing.

KP:

The Mistress of Nothing is based on the true story of Lady Lucie Duff Gordon and her maid, Sally Naldrett, who went to live in Egypt in the 1860s. It’s a doomed love story, stuffed with history and romance, race, class and sex   all the best things in life! It won the GG in 2009, and no one was more astonished than me.

OBT:

What was your first publication and where was it published?

The Mistress of Nothing

By Kate Pullinger

"A highly sensual evocation of place and time, Kate Pullinger’s The Mistress of Nothing is a journey down the Nile that explores the subtle complexities of power, race, class and love during the Victorian era. The book, narrated by the character of the maid, Sally Naldrett, has one of the most distinctive and memorable voices in recent literature." – GG Jury citation

Recent Writer In Residence Posts

IFOA Weekly: Jonas T. Bengtsson, Jennifer McMahon and Kate Pullinger

When

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 7:30pm

Where

York Quay Centre
235 Queens Quay W
Toronto, ON
M5J 2G8

Details

Critically acclaimed Danish author Jonas T. Bengtsson reads from his third novel, A Fairy Tale, an unforgettable story about the profound love between a father and son. New York Times-bestselling author Jennifer McMahon shares The Winter People, a literary thriller about ghostly secrets and the unbreakable bond between mothers and daughters. Governor General’s Literary Award winner Kate Pullinger presents Landing Gear, a highly imaginative story of colliding worlds and extraordinary connections.

Tickets are $10 to the general public, FREE for supporters, students and youth 25 and under with ID. Box Office/Information: 416-973-4000 or www.ifoa.org.

Location

York Quay Centre
235 Queens Quay W
Toronto, ON M5J 2G8 43° 38' 20.8248" N, 79° 22' 58.4076" W

IFOA Weekly: Kate Pullinger and Jonas T. Bengtsson

When

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 7:30pm

Where

York Quay Centre
235 Queens Quay W
Toronto, ON
M5J 2G8

Details

Canadian author Kate Pullinger (Landing Gear) and prize-winning Danish author Jonas T. Bengtsson (A Fairy Tale) read from their latest, critically-acclaimed works.

IFOA is one of the oldest and most admired public reading programmes in the world. Since its inception in 1974, over 8,000 of the world’s most distinguished authors have read at Harbourfront Centre, including 21 Nobel Prize Laureates.

Tickets are $10, free for supporters, students and youth 25 and under.

For tickets or more information, please contact 416-973-4000 or visit the IFOA website.

Location

York Quay Centre
235 Queens Quay W
Toronto, ON M5J 2G8 43° 38' 20.8248" N, 79° 22' 58.4076" W

Thanks for Reading!

This is my last blog post for Open Book Toronto. Thanks to Open Book Toronto for the invitation, and thanks for reading the posts.

I'll end on a note about the perils/opportunities we face over the next decade as readers and writers. While I think there are many reasons for optimism about the future of books and the future of reading, I also think we need to be vigilant.

Writers need to lobby hard to be heard in the ongoing discussions about pbooks, ebooks, social media, social reading, digital engagement, etc - we need to be in that space, making ourselves heard.

My New Fiction Project

I've been attempting to start my next fiction project for a while now, but I've been slow to make progress. I'm calling it 'my next fiction project' instead of 'my next book' or 'my new novel' because I'm hoping that this project will encompass both multimedia digital and pbook/ebook elements. The overall story arises out of my ongoing digital fiction project http://www.flightpaths.net, and my plan is for it to include a novel written by me, plus a collection of collaborative digital fictions.

This sounds complicated, but for me it is part of a process of trying to join things up, of my desire to unite print and multimedia elements to create a larger story.

The way I see it now, the end result will be several things, indeed several ways into the story. There will be a novel. There will be a collection of web apps. And there will be a large-scale digital fiction project that involves two of the main characters from the novel, but is set a couple of years prior to the novel. In a way, I suppose, overall, the project will create a 'storyworld'; hopefully all the components will both stand on their own, as well as contribute to an overall narrative whole.

Okay. I've said it. Or rather, I've written it down in this blog. Now I just have to go and do it. That's the thing about writing: at the end of the day, what counts is the graft. And talking about it is always so much easier than actually doing it.

So Many Ways to Waste Time!

Two things that have amused me, and caused me to waste time, online in recent days:

A pac-man style game based on The Great Gatsby! Except Nick Carraway has a gun, and he's trying to find Jay Gatsby!

http://greatgatsbygame.com/

And you can tell yourself it is all about literature, really, all about the books, and that The Great Gatsby is your favourite (it's one of mine), so how can you resist?!

And this gem, Michael Winter on 'How to Shorten a Manuscript'.

Ah, the internet.

Books for Everybody

I am currently doing a PhD by Published Works. This is an academic option open to people like me who work in universities but come from non-academic backgrounds. I'm a university drop-out, but I have a long list of publications, and I've been teaching in universities for many years. The PhD by Publication allows me to submit three published works accompanied by an essay that frames and contextualises those works. I've chosen my novel, The Mistress of Nothing, along with two works of digital fiction, Inanimate Alice, and Flight Paths. My essay will compare and contrast my experience of both the world of trade publishing and publishing online.

Welcome to Pine Point

Welcome to Pine Point

This morning I woke up to an email in my inbox from The Goggles, a media company based in Vancouver. Paul Shoebridge and Michael Simons (who are, I believe, The Goggles) have created a remarkable piece of interactive creative nonfiction – an interactive documentary about an NWT mining town, Pine Point, that no longer exists. Taking as its starting point photo albums and high school yearbooks, it looks at this small northern town through its former residents’ memories. It’s a moving and innovative piece of work. Great music too, from The Besnard Lakes.

Ebooks vs Pbooks

For someone who has long been an advocate for the digital and the potential the new technologies bring to us for finding new ways to tell stories, I took my time when it came to getting an ereader.

Although I have no doubt about the convenience of reading books on an ereader, and while I’m optimistic about the potential for digitisation to bring greater numbers of readers to a larger variety of stories, I’ve been much more interested in thinking about writing for new platforms than I have been in the paper-under-glass approach to the digital that is inherent in any ereader.

Great Big Lies - The Children's Hour and The Human Stain

Last night I went to see 'The Children's Hour' on stage in the West End here in London, a new production starring Keira Knightley, Elisabeth Moss, and Ellen Burstyn. It's a beautifully designed and directed production, gripping and times mesmerising. The stars are all terrific and the girl who plays the main child - Byrony Hannah - is great as well. I can confirm that Keira Knightley is amazingly beautiful, just in case you were wondering. When I got home last night I discovered that tickets for The Children’s Hour are so in demand they are selling on ebay for £1000 - about $1600 Cdn - each.

DIGITAL FICTION

Today marks the launch date of the Electronic Literature Collection, Volume 2: http://collection.eliterature.... This is an elegantly curated collection of eliterature, a great starting point for anyone interested in the way the new technologies can be used to tell stories.

Narrative Voice

Narrative voice is such an odd and powerful thing. What I mean here is not ‘voice’ in the sense that I wrote about last week, i.e. point of view, the choice of first person narrator vs third person narration etc. What I’m referring to is something more intangible – the ‘voice’ of the author and how that comes through in a text, via the rhythm of the prose, the use of language. I think narrative voice is partially directed by an author’s chosen style and tone, but I also think there are elements of it that are beyond the writer’s control; narrative voice emanates from the writer’s very body – the way they breath, the way they sit or stand, the whole of their life up to that point.

First Person Narrators

I’m currently reading ‘Lemon’ by Cordelia Strube (Coach House Books) and this has lead me to think about the perils and pleasures of first person narratives. Strube’s narrator, Lemon, is a sparky, hyper, angry teenager surrounded by useless adults and less-than-useless fellow teenagers; the world she inhabits – the world Strube creates through her eyes – is bitter, harsh, and funny.

Egypt and Tunisia: a few thoughts

Egypt and Tunisia

While I’m Writer-in-Residence I’ll be mostly blogging about writing and reading, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to write a bit about North Africa this morning.

Over the past several years I helped run a mentoring scheme for writers based in Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria. These young adults were all writing in English, their third language (after Arabic and French and sometimes Berber as well); the scheme, Medi-Café, was run by the British Council. They were a mix of students, teachers, and academics, and they were united by their passion for reading and writing, and their desire for knowledge and experience. Our work online was supplemented by a series of three day workshops in both Tunisia and Morocco.

Hello Toronto!

Thanks to OpenBook Toronto for inviting me to be Writer-in-Residence for the month of February. I’m writing this in London, England, where I live, but because of Our Beloved Internet, I’m able to take up residence in Toronto online.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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