November is going to be an exciting month at The Pigeonhole as we launch our serialisation of Juliet Jacques’ Trans: A Memoir. A few weeks ago, I raced through this unflinching look at what it means to be transgender in 2016 and the innumerable physical, social and psychological barriers people in transition have to go through to reach their long-awaited destination; a destination which, as the closing words of the memoir suggest, is less a destination than a starting point, from which life can then begin: ‘I let go of the mouse, drummed my fingers on my desk and then gently reclined into my chair, letting the day go by.’
When I started reading Ferrante, I didn’t know that the writer was working under a pseudonym. I didn’t really care, either. I read some of her work, loved it, and eventually her identity piqued my interest – largely because I heard some rumour that the author was in fact male. But really, like many other readers, I didn’t care or mind who Ferrante really was – though I did hope she was a woman!
Claudio Gatti did his digging and has, apparently, discovered the identity of Ferrante, which has caused an uproar – he’s been chastised by the literary community and across the press. Some people, however, are more concerned by the public takedown of Gatti than by his revelation of who Ferrante might really be.
Both stances are reflective of the age of celebrity that we inhabit.
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.
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.
According to USA Today, the onslaught of movie adaptations is seriously boosting book sales. Well, this isn’t exactly new. We’ve seen it a million times before, especially with YA literature (hello Hunger Games, Twilight, Harry Potter, Divergent etc).
But we’ve also seen some absolute disasters in the cinema that would be enough to put you off the most perfectly poised classic.
Just binge-watched Stranger Things? Here are your reading fixes to get you through until next season!
Finally, after months and years of waiting, the public have got what they have been crying out for (in well-mannered, almost whispered tones): a look at exiting-President Barack Obama’s 5-strong summer reading list. (He’s even had time to put together a chart-topping Spotify Playlist – he’s really doing no work at all anymore is he?) Continue reading If Obama can, so can we
From 23 August, The Pigeonhole is serialising an innovative creative-writing handbook by literary consultant Claire Wingfield. Here Claire tells us about how the book came about. And read on to find out about some fabulous prizes for subscribers!
52 Dates for Writers began as a series of exercises and examples to help the novelists I worked with overcome common obstacles so they could push through to new developments. The dates are designed to get you away from your desk and offer a welcome spark of something fresh and unexpected when revising a second or third draft of a familiar manuscript. They also help unstick writers who have lost confidence and encourage those just beginning a project to carve out some time for playful exploration.
Charlotte Heather is our newest team member, taking the role of Community Manager. She explains what drew her to The Pigeonhole.
‘Because a novel is the only place in the world where two strangers can meet on terms of absolute intimacy. The reader and the writer make the book together.’
– Paul Auster, The Paris Review
I have always felt like my relationships with certain books and authors were mine and mine alone. In a way they are, but of course, I am not the only one to form such tight relationships with an author who shows me the world in a whole new light, or reflects something I already knew. Continue reading Meet the New Pigeon: Charlotte
A lot of the time, I don’t. That’s been the truth for a little while and it’s something I’ve finally turned around recently, having tried and failed with a few projects since I finished Deadlines in 2014. In fact, 2015 was a year of frustration with regards to longer projects. The only satisfactory writing project that I did was a story that was published in a True Detective anthology called ‘Walk Hand In Hand Into Extinction’, featuring preachers and child murder in the Deep South. Continue reading How I Write by Chris Brosnahan