Who are the Redlegs?

RED LEGS amended 3 (2)

I know exactly how many years it took to write Redlegs. It was conceived a little after my daughter was, and it was published when she was 21.

I mean, I wasn’t sitting all day every day tussling with it. That would be about a paragraph a week. During that time, I wrote something like three stage plays, 70-odd hours of television (including Taggart, and documentaries like An Anarchist’s Story), about twice as many radio dramas and documentaries, a book of short stories (Poor Angels), and another novel (Ascension Day). As well as doing my bit bringing up Emma and her wee brother. Continue reading Who are the Redlegs?


By Niki Barbery Bleyleben

Photo on 08-07-2012 at 11.10 #3 - Version 2Niki Barbery Bleyleben is a Bolivian-American social scientist and artist living in London.

I just returned home.

Flew into London on a Bolivian tailwind in time to witness the extraordinary turn of events that have forever changed the course of history.

For the past year, I have become increasingly preoccupied with the concept of HOME; the way in which we define our borders: our continents, our countries, our communities, our families. It’s hard not to be, given the fact that there are more displaced people living in the world today than ever before in recorded history. The most recent stats coming out of the UN suggest that the number of people forcibly displaced due to war or persecution exceeds 65 million (more that the entire population of Great Britain). Continue reading HOME

“The Complexity of Simple Things”

A piece by The Pigeonhole Founder Jacob Cockcroft for the Bristol University TEDx Conference.



“Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

– Antoine de Saint-Exupery

A start up is essentially a distillation process inside an hourglass. Will you extract the essential product before time runs out?

The wonderful thing about starting a new enterprise is the limitless possibilities of your ideas, of what you can build, of what problems you can solve. Your universe is constrained by nothing more then your imagination. But this same potential, is also your biggest weakness. You cannot sit on the fence forever and nor can you be all things to all men, you must work out the one simple thing you can do, and do it beautifully. Continue reading “The Complexity of Simple Things”

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

Less is More: The State of the Short Story

Image: seaternity on Flickr
Image: seaternity on Flickr

The short story has had a long and topsy-turvy existence. Over in America, and especially on the east coast, publications such as The New Yorker and Esquire relentlessly peddled the finest in the mini-form for decades from before the Second World War. The New Yorker in particular became a (seriously esteemed) nursery slope on which promising novelists could fine-tune their prose. Truman Capote, Vladimir Nabokov, Dorothy Parker and John Updike were just a few of the celebrated names that went on to considerable fame following publications in the periodical.

Continue reading Less is More: The State of the Short Story

Read Somebody Else’s Diary

If you’ve heard of but never actually stuck your nose into the episodic piece of comedy genius that is The Diary of a Nobody, then now is the time. Wdiaryofanobodye are serialising George and Weedon Grossmith’s comic classic, and in so doing harking back to its original format – it first appeared in instalments in Punch magazine. Forever cropping up on the-best-100-novel lists, The Diary of a Nobody will make you laugh, cringe and then laugh some more at the neurotic considerations of the inimitable Charles Pooter. Continue reading Read Somebody Else’s Diary

The Coolest Thing In Publishing: How To Set Up A Pigeonhole Book Club In Just 2 Minutes


  1. You’re all set. You’ve downloaded the app (Android coming soon), had a browse through The Pigeonhole library and picked a book. You’ve gone for the short story collection Don’t Try This At Home, by Angela Readman. Good choice. Tap the book cover to continue.


Continue reading The Coolest Thing In Publishing: How To Set Up A Pigeonhole Book Club In Just 2 Minutes

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.

Continue reading Pigeon Picks: The best of translation on the Internet