Not Shut Up and Erwin James

24 April 2009 in | Comments (0)

notshutup I have done two year-long stints as writer-in-residence in Her Majesty’s Prisons here in the UK, in the early 90s in HMP Gartree, and at the end of the 90s in HMP Maidstone.  I found both residencies hugely rewarding and hugely exhausting. I don’t know if I’d work in a prison again - the frustrations are manifold and the entire penal system needs a complete rethink (she said blithely).  But I’m currently Chair of the board of trustees for ‘Not Shut Up’, a magazine that publishes creative writing produced by the residents of London’s prisons.  It’s a great mag, edited by screenwriter Hugh Stoddard; however, like many arts organisations on the margins, our existence is under threat due to cuts in funding.

I never met Erwin James during my residencies, but I admired his column in the Guardian, and felt he wrote about prison issues from the inside with great clarity.  I even wrote to him once, in response to a column, something I’ve never done before or since.  When the book of his columns, A Life Inside, was published, I was invited to the launch, where I had the exhilarating experience of running into one of the lifers I’d worked with in Gartree in his new post-prison life.

A friend in facebook brought this new article, ‘The Real Me’, by James to my attention today; it’s an extraordinary piece.

Lifelines for Rising Stars

22 April 2009 in Future of Publishing Mentoring | Comments (0)

Chris and I have got the green light for our project to create 9 multimedia short stories for primary school kids with educational publisher, Rising Stars.  The project, Lifelines, will allow us to tell stories that are directly related to the Key Stage 2 curriculum, using text and image and sound.  They’ll have voiceover as well and so should be fully accessible for a big variety of readers.

This kind of publishing is a new departure for Rising Stars but with the rapid increase of use of Virtual Learning Environments and online educational content set to take place in classrooms over the next few years, they should be onto a good thing. There’s a short demo online at the link above.

Having been offline for the last couple of weeks, I’m slowly waking up to the online world again.  The Oxford Literary Festival future of the book discussion went well, once I got over the shock of seeing Philip Pullman in the audience.  Sunday Times columnist Bryan Appleyard told great stories of being plagiarised all over the world because his copy goes out on the internet; the irony is that he now knows when and where he’s being plagiarised because of the internet.

Meanwhile, in Canada, looks as though they’ll be electing a writer as Prime Minister next time there’s an election; the US have already elected a writer as President.  Maybe that’s the future of the book - we should all run for public office instead.

The Mistress of Nothing

3 April 2009 in The Mistress of Nothing | Comments (0)

uncorrectedproofHere it is, a bound copy of the uncorrected proof.

Such an odd moment, this one, when you are given a bound copy of the proof - it’s such an almost-book object.  Full of mistakes - actually, these proofs don’t have many mistakes at all - but there it is, looking much like the final copy will look.  The cover will be tweaked, other minor changes will take place, but there it is.  Nearly ready.

The pre-publication period is strange and tough and discombobulating; it’s when one’s hopes for the book collide against reality.  Good things happen - in my case, people are beginning to read the book, and early responses have been great - but there is much to worry about regarding how the book will find its readers.  Will the bookshops take it in sufficient quantities?  Will it get enough reviews?  Will it get on any longlist or shortlist or book-of-the-year-list or any other list that might help it find readers?  Or will it appear only to disappear in a puff of not-enough-attention smoke?

In my case, this book will likely be the last book I write that exists solely as a print artefact, with no direct online iteration.

In the meantime, I’m off to Oxford today, to debate the future of the book. We are on at the same time as Mario Vargas Llosa.  Hmm.

Signed copies

1 April 2009 in | Comments (2)

[caption id=“attachment_130” align=“alignleft” width=“86” caption=“UK paperback edition”]UK paperback edition[/caption]

I’ve added a new Page to this blog, making signed copies of some of my books available to purchase directly from me with, if you so desire, a personalised dedication.  I’m sure I’ll have an absolute deluge of orders (not, but I live in hope).  When I say ‘I’, of course, as usual, what I mean is ‘with help from Chris J’ - getting that paypal button to work was beyond the limits of my patience.

There’s something about the phrase ‘personalised dedication’ that doesn’t feel right - is it just that it sounds cheesy?  It’s great fun getting your book signed - I mean that as a reader - and I always enjoy it when, as a writer, at signings people ask for specific messages to be written in the book, either for themselves or other people.  There’s something about defacing my own books that gives me pleasure.  Anyway, if you can think of a better form of words than ‘personalised dedication’, let me know!

Signed Copies

1 April 2009 in | Comments (0)

You can buy signed copies of the following books - just pay using Paypal where you will find a text box that allows you to include whatever dedication you would like me to add to your copy,  i.e. ‘To Elizabeth, you really should marry him.  Best wishes - Kate Pullinger’.

All signed copies cost ?10, plus ?2 p&p in UK, ?4 p&p outside UK.

Enquiries to katepullinger (at) yahoo (dot) co (dot) uk.


Canadian paperback edition.

Personalised Dedication

UK paperback edition

UK paperback edition.

Personalised Dedication


UK hardcover cover pictured but not available; UK paperback edition available but not pictured.

Personalised Dedication


UK hardcover edition pictured but not available;UK paperback edition available but not pictured.

Personalised Dedication


Uk paperback edition

Personalised Dedication