Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Books for Everybody

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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.

Writing the essay has lead me down interesting avenues of research. I've been reading about books and publishing and digital culture. Two books about books have been of particular interest - Jim Collins' 'Bring on the Books for Everybody: How Literary Culture Became Popular Culture', and 'The Merchants of Culture' by John B Thompson. Collins takes a fascinating look at the literary bestseller, tracking it through the rise of book superstores, book clubs, tv book clubs, film adaptations, and online reader's reviews; Thompson takes a long hard look at the publishing industry over the past twenty years, with the rise of super-agents, media conglomerates, and the never-ending quest for the next 'big book'. Both books are highly readable.

And both books - though very up-to-date - feel as though they stop short of the huge transformations taking place within the world of writing and reading and publishing today. As the book superstores collapse, and as ebook sales finally become a reality and not a rumour, the next five years will see further change, further transformation, in the worlds of book selling and publishing. My hope is that our reading culture will remain as open, as accessible, as affordable, and as pleasurable, as it has become over the past three decades.

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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Kate Pullinger

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.

Go to Kate Pullinger’s Author Page