Blog

Flight Paths:  5.  Paths Crossing

26 June 2009 in Flight Paths | Comments (0)

flightpaths_pathscrossing4_medium

We hope you like all five of the new ‘Flight Paths’ stories.

For more information about Refugee Week, go to http://www.refugeeweek.org.uk/

To view our first four stories, click on the images in the posts below.  To view 5. Paths Crossing, click on the image above or go to http://www.flightpaths.net/stories/pathscrossing.html

Find more information about ‘Flight Paths’ here

Flight Paths:  4. Dark Mass

26 June 2009 in Flight Paths | Comments (0)

flightpaths_darkmass5_medium

Apologies for the one day delay in posting the fourth story - was away from my computer for the day.

We hope you like the stories.  For more information about Refugee Week, go to http://www.refugeeweek.org.uk/

To view our first three stories, click on the images in the posts below.  To view 4.  Dark Mass, click on the image above or go to http://www.flightpaths.net/stories/darkmass.html

Find more information about ‘Flight Paths’ here

Flight Paths:  3. Harriet Driving

24 June 2009 in Flight Paths | Comments (0)

flightpaths_harrietdriving7_medium

We hope you like the stories.  For more information about Refugee Week, go to http://www.refugeeweek.org.uk/

To view our first two stories, click on the images in the posts below.  To view 3. Harriet Driving, click on the image above or go to http://www.flightpaths.net/stories/yacubattheairport.html

Find more information about ‘Flight Paths’ here

Flight Paths   2. Yacub at the Airport

23 June 2009 in Flight Paths | Comments (0)

flightpaths_yacubairport7_medium

We hope you like the stories.  For more information about Refugee Week, go to http://www.refugeeweek.org.uk/

To view our first story, Yacub in Dubai, go to http://www.flightpaths.net/stories/yacubindubai.html or click on the image in the post below.  To view 2. Yacub at the Airport, click on the image above or go to

http://www.flightpaths.net/stories/yacubattheairport.html

Find more information about ‘Flight Paths’ here

Flight Paths:  five new stories 1. Yacub in Dubai

22 June 2009 in Flight Paths | Comments (0)

flightpaths_yacubdubai4_medium2
Last week marked Refugee Week here in the UK.  As our contribution to the ongoing discussion, Chris and I are releasing one brand new ‘Flight Paths’ story every day for the next five days.


These new mini-stories take five plot hotpoints, or flashpoints, to animate significant moments in the lives of the characters who have begun to emerge through the project’s history of discussion and collaboration.


Click on the image to view the first story.
For more information on ‘Flight Paths’ click here.

The Strange Literariness of Facebook

22 June 2009 in | Comments (0)

I wrote a post for the folks at Internet Evolution on the Strange Literariness of Facebook - it went online first thing this morning.

Twenty-One Years Later

19 June 2009 in The Mistress of Nothing | Comments (0)

tinyliesMy first book, a collection of short stories, ‘Tiny Lies’, came out twenty-one years ago, in 1988.

How is this possible?  I’m only twenty-nine years old!

‘The Mistress of Nothing’ comes out next month - I’ve started doing interviews and bits of publicity for it, and am gripped by pre-publication melancholy.  What will happen to the book?  Will it find its readers?

I’ve written seven novels and two collections of short stories - nine books.  This figure doesn’t include books I’ve co-written (1), and books I’ve edited (7), and books I’ve contributed to (god knows how many).  Then there are the foreign editions, plus the translations. A regular book mountain. The writing life is so peculiar - such a weird mix of isolation and exposure, hope and loss. With ‘The Mistress of Nothing’ this feels particularly acute - because that book took me so long to write, I’ve lived with it for a very long time, and now it is done.  My work in the digital realm makes me see the world of books from a slight distance, and this adds to the dense mix of emotion. The whole thing is really most… vexing.

But still, the most important question for me right now is one I’ve already asked in this post:  Will ‘The Mistress of Nothing’ find its readers?

Stayed tuned.

Surveillance Suite with James Coupe

18 June 2009 in | Comments (0)

I’m trying to get my head around a new project I’ll be working on, ‘Surveillance Suite’.  I first worked with James Coupe in 2004 on a piece called ‘Call Centre’ (if you go to the link, make sure to listen to the sample call) for the Lancaster Literature Festival and the Storey Institute. Since then James has left the UK and gone to live in Seattle where he works at the University of Washington.  ‘Surveillance Suite’ is a massive new project with three phrases, building on James’s interest in CCTV footage, video, and story-telling.  We are just beginning work on Phase One of ‘Surveillance Suite’ which will be created during James’s artist’s residency at Lanternhouse in Ulverston, in the Lake District; here’s how James describes the piece on his website:

Over the course of the residency, he will produce a series of algorithmically generated films, shot on location around Ulverston. The films will be based upon Italo Calvino’s If on a winter’s night a traveler, a self-referential novel consisting of ten chapters from ten different novels, all of varying style, genre and subject matter. All overlap slightly, suggesting a single meta-narrative, and all are interrupted at strategic points. What is absent or missing becomes a sub-plot all of its own: narrative is composed as much by what is not there as by what is.

Recorded footage will be run through a face recognition algorithm that identifies people’s age, gender, race, facial expression and movement patterns. Using a series of script rules derived from the novel and produced in collaboration with a number of scriptwriters, the everyday activities of the town will be transformed into narrative films. The auto-generated results will be compiled as video montages and exhibited in the Lanternhouse gallery.

Contracts and Interviews

16 June 2009 in Future of Publishing Medi-Cafe Mentoring The Mistress of Nothing | Comments (0)

Signing contracts today for the project ‘Lifelines’ that Chris and I are doing for educational publisher Rising Stars.  Between now and the end of the year we are going to create nine multimedia short stories aimed at KS3 - Key Stage 3, which in plain English means the first few years of secondary school. These stories will be similar to ‘Inanimate Alice’ in that they will use images, text, music, sound, etc, but, unlike Alice, they will be directed at specific aspects of the KS3 curriculum.  They will be published on CD as part of a package that will include teacher’s notes, lesson plans, etc. There’s a demo up on the ‘Lifelines’ site, but this might be all that will be available free online.

Part of what we’ve been trying to do with ‘Inanimate Alice’ is to find a way to make money from digital fiction projects.  ‘Lifelines’ is the first fairly large commercial commission that Chris and I have taken on; though its ethos is entirely different from Alice, for us it is a big step toward finding ways to create income from this type of work.

I’ve started doing interviews for ‘The Mistress of Nothing’; I’ve been having an e-mail exchange with blogger Sarah Hymas from ‘Echo Soundings’, a wonderful blog about poetry and sailing, and tomorrow am doing an in-the-flesh interview with BookArmy.  As well as this, DMU has decided that I’m an expert on Digital Britain and are hauling me around in order to do radio interviews on the subject.

Publishing in Disarray - No!?

12 June 2009 in Future of Publishing | Comments (0)

Conversation yesterday with my agent, Rachel Calder, where, as is inevitable these days, we got onto the subject of how the book trade is in the process of eating itself. Rachel told me about how W H Smith, which now has an monopoly on all bookshops in UK airports, has done a deal with Penguin UK, and will now sell only Penguin travel titles in their shops in airports and train stations (where they also have a virtual monopoly).  It’s an extraordinary deal for Penguin, though only achieved after agreeing to give W H Smith a 70%+ discount on all their books.

Why doesn’t Smith’s care about giving their customers a range of titles?  Why does Penguin think it is a good idea to exchange exclusivity for a huge whack of their profits - doubtless this deep discounting will find its way back to what Penguin writers are paid for their work. How are all the travel writers who write for other publishers supposed to make a living?

Here’s an interesting update from the Bookseller on steps being taken by the Society of Authors and the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild (hey - I want to be an Outdoor Writer - if only it didn’t rain all the time) to make writers’ protests to this deal heard.  I was led to this article via a @Bookseller tweet.

 1 2 >