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.
After a good long while in the business of publishing, I can think of a nono or two that are an instant turn-off. This may sound like an over-exaggeration, but the things listed below are the professional equivalent of going on a date and finding out that their Mummy still breastfeeds them.
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. We 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
- 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.
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.
In November 2015, The Pigeonhole launched Letters from Greece, a series of essays about everyday life and culture during the Greek crisis. Around the same time, Penned in the Margins published a poetry anthology, Futures: Poetry of the Greek Crisis. We asked Futures editor Theodoros Chiotis to select poems from the anthology to feature as extra content in Letters from Greece – one poem per letter. Here, he discusses the project.
Reading, I think we can all agree, is a pretty good idea. It’s kind of a life-hack. For very little (and sometimes no) money, you can read all the thoughts of loads of clever and interesting people, give them a quick sprucing, and then regurgitate them as your own laundered gold. Hello money, friends, success and unending glory. But finding a suitably calm, relaxing, and non-hectic environment to do it in can have you tossing your book away and reaching instead for a KFC family bucket and the remote.
Right here, for free, purely out of the goodness of its small grey heart, the Pigeon is going to hit you with a break-down of where you should be slaying those chapters.
Every morning in Berlin, I run through the former no man’s land between Brunnenstrasse and Gartenstrasse that once separated East and West. It’s a patch of ground that witnessed bloodshed and anguish as post-war ideologies clashed and parted. As I run past Peter Leibing’s iconic ‘leap into freedom’ photograph, my mind is busy with how to drive The Pigeonhole’s claim for a stake in this emerging digital publishing landscape.
Kate London discusses the background to her crime thriller Post Mortem.
‘You have the intelligence of a gnat!’
The woman was driving a large Mercedes and was incandescent at my preventing her from driving down her own street. I was in the first weeks of my service as a uniformed police officer standing at a road closure put in place as part of the safety measures for a premier-league football match in central London. Just before she had arrived at the junction, the sergeant in charge of the closure had warned me not to let anyone down the road.
‘In the event of an emergency, this is the main route for ambulances,’ he’d told me firmly, before going to check the other closures. ‘I don’t want to see any civilian vehicles going down it. No exceptions.’
‘But other officers let me drive down!’ the woman protested.
Writing has always been a place rather than an activity, as if writing is somewhere I go, my very own Rapunzel’s tower. As a child I used to sit under the table writing stories. In fact, as an adult I tried to stop writing and concentrate on more grown up things but it never worked. In spite of my best intentions I would always find myself writing.
Still, sometimes it’s hard to begin. I am a great admirer of other writers and I can sometimes feel silenced by their greatness. I also have this fear that it won’t come, that I won’t be able to get to that place where things start happening.
The answer to this, I’ve found, is to sit down and do it. It’s a discipline and, like exercising, it might be difficult to start but it’s great as soon as I’ve begun. If I’m really nervous starting I set the timer on my phone for an hour telling myself that I’ll just do that hour and if it doesn’t work I’m allowed to give up. Invariably that gets me going and then I’m immersed in it. I’m notorious for not hearing things that my family say to me when I’m at my desk.