How I Write by Anna Stothard

We are delighted to be working with Salt Publishing to serialise The Museum of Cathy by Anna Stothard in a pre-publication exclusive beginning on 31 October. This is Anna Stothard’s fourth novel. Her second, The Pink Hotel, was longlisted for the 2012 Orange Prize. Here, she tells us how she writes.

I wrote much of The Museum of Cathy during a humid Berlin summer, quickly and nomadically, while tramping the city looking for places to work. The city’s natural history museum was a favourite writing spot, either sitting in a corner of the central dinosaur hall or crouched amongst embalmed snakes and bats in the air-conditioned basement. I’d balance my computer on my knees and let children trip over my trainers. I’ve never been fussy about writing in solitude or quiet. I like busy isolation. As long as nobody tries to talk to me, chaos and skeletons can reign around me.

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52 Dates for Writers competition winner!

We asked readers of our recent 52 Dates for Writers serialisation to submit a sample of work they had written after doing one of the writing dates in the book. Our favourite was by Lucy Corkhill, who was inspired by the date entitled ‘Assume an Alias’ in Stave VIII: ‘… Choose a particular time and day, and go about the day as you could reasonably expect one of your central characters to. Try to make all decisions, reactions and interactions as your character would…’

Lucy has won a literary consultancy package with 52 Dates for Writers author Claire Wingfield, during which they will discuss the outline for Unmasked, the working title of the novel the extract (featured below) is from.


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Where Free Books and Chocolate Meet

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‘An ingenious and atmospheric first novel, inspired by the discovery of a mysterious library lost deep in the English countryside, and vibrating with the literary and musical echoes of late Romanticism.’
Richard Holmes, author of Coleridge and The Age of Wonder

Few things go together as well as a good book and good chocolate. That’s why we’re giving away a Cocoa Runners gift box to the first 10 people to read and review The Sacred Combe, an exceptional debut by Thomas Maloney centred around the ancient library and troubled family history of an isolated manor house. Full of secondhand tomes and literary resonances, this novel is a book-lover’s dream. Continue reading Where Free Books and Chocolate Meet

A Guide to Literary Consultants

What is a literary consultant, should you use one and how can you find the right one for you?


After years of hard work, you’ve finally finished what you hope is the last draft of your book. You’ve polished your cover letter and synopsis, spent hours poring over the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook and come up with a list of agents and publishers to send it to. Various friends you trust have looked at bits and pieces of the book and say they like it, but no one’s actually read the whole thing. And it might be months before they do. Is there any harm in sending it out now to test the waters?

Probably not, and you might be lucky enough to get a deal. On the other hand, you may have a bit of editing energy left. And you want to give your book the best possible chance when it hits the desks or inboxes of your top pick of agents and publishers. But you can’t rely on those friends to get back to you with detailed, impartial advice. Continue reading A Guide to Literary Consultants

Pigeon Picks: The best of translation on the Internet

Image: Jurek D., Flickr (license: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

With the announcement of the Man Booker International Prize longlist for fiction in translation, the Pigeon’s turned magpie and collected together the most glittering sites for and about translated literature on the Internet, from online magazines to audio archives and e-poetry. Feast your eyes and ears and make space in your brain for a word-rush of new ideas.

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