NEW BOOK:: The Mistress of Nothing

28 May 2009 in | Comments (0)


‘The Mistress of Nothing’ has won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction, 2009!! These past weeks have been a whirlwind of press and award activity, with an avalanche of Canadian media interest; I’m still in the middle of it all so will not have time to post things to this page for another week or so.

In the meantime,go to to order a copy!

While in Ottawa the last week of November, 09, I did an interview, about winning the prize nd writing the book, with Nigel Beale for his website and radio broadcast.

I’ll be blogging about publication throughout the year; to read my posts about ‘The Mistress of Nothing’ click on ‘The Mistress of Nothing’ under Categories in the right-hand sidebar.  This will bring together all the posts about the book, the virtual book tour, as well as any materials for reader’s groups.

Please let me know what you think of the book by e-mailing me at katepullinger (at) yahoo (dot) co (dot) uk, or posting a comment here on my blog.

Follow me on Twitter @katepullinger

You can go directly to my virtual book tour interviews from these links:

Echo Soundings, Sarah Hymas - interview

Book Army - interview

Inside Books - interview (for review see below)

Writing Neuroses - review and interview combined

Adventures in Words - interview (for review see below)

Keeper of the Snails - review and interview combined

Tales from the Reading Room - review and interview combined

Essential Writers - interview (for review see below)

There’s a Q&A with me on the subject of the virtual book tour in the Observer newspaper.

Here’s a podcast of an interview I did with Sheila MacKay on CBC Radio’s North by Northwest, broadcast Sunday 18 October, 200: bcnxnw_20091018_21701

I wrote a piece for the Independent’s ‘Book of a Lifetime’, 24 July, 2009

I recorded a short reading for Echo Soundings/ Sarah Hymas; she has put it up on YouTube with a slideshow of images from Egypt:

To date, reviews of the book have appeared in

‘Good Housekeeping’ (‘scorchingly powerful’) and

‘Sainsbury’s Magazine’ and ‘The Times’

‘Red’, ‘The Gloss Magazine’, ‘New Books’, and ‘Saga’;

‘Metro’ newspaper (‘sumptious’)

online at Rob Chilvers Adventures With Words.

Other reviews are at

Culture (Sunday Times Supplement), Aug 9 2009

Daily Mail, July 31 2009

Guardian (Saturday Review), Aug 1 2009

Independent New Review (Supp. To Independent on Sunday), Aug 2 2009

Independent Book of the Day, 20 August, 2009

Inside Books, 25 August, 2009

As well as these, Antony Beevor wrote a piece for the Guardian newspaper expressing his distaste for novels like mine, which he calls ‘faction’.  I’m hoping to be able to publish a reply in the Guardian.

Essential Writers, 13 October, 2009

The Bookbag, 30 July 2009

Canadian reviews are also appearing:

The Globe & Mail, 14 September 2009

Virtual Book Tour

22 May 2009 in Future of Publishing Surveillance Suite The Mistress of Nothing | Comments (0)

As the publication of ‘The Mistress of Nothing’ creeps nearer here in the UK, I’m organising a virtual book tour with my publicist at Serpent’s Tail in the UK, the lovely Rebecca Gray, and at McArthur & Co in Canada, the bewitching Devon Pool.

monfinal My image manipulation skills are so poor - but this is the final version of the cover - the woman has sleeves!  Yes!

I stole the idea of a virtual book tour from Elizabeth Baines, so thanks to Elizabeth for that!

To date we have five bloggers who have expressed an interest in reading the novel and interviewing me for their blog.  They are as follows:

If you have a blog and are interested in reading the book and talking to me about it, send me a mail - katepullinger (at) btinternet (dot) com.


19 May 2009 in Lifelines The Mistress of Nothing | Comments (6)

One of the things I find hardest about being a writer is all the waiting you have to do.  At any given moment I will be waiting for someone to make a decision that will inevitably have a big effect on my working life.  Here’s a list of what I’m waiting for currently:

1.  book proposal in with a publisher - this is a biggie, because if they don’t like it I’ll have my work cut out with re-working it, and if they do like it, then I’ll have to write the book.  Yikes.

2.  contracts being drawn up and negotiated with educational publisher for project to create 9 digital short fictions for the classroom. This will happen, but before it does, I have to wait before getting started on the project… with the hoped-for delivery date drawing nearer all the time.

3.  book publication - ‘The Mistress of Nothing’ is coming out on 6 July and this means a lot of twiddling of thumbs and holding of breath while waiting to find out if any of our efforts to publicise the book (get it reviewed, get interviewed, getting invited to do readings and festivals etc etc etc) bear fruit.  Double Yikes.

4.  1 conference proposal and 1 submission to digital anthology - will my work be selected?  Could make a huge difference to everything.

5.  all the other stuff I’m too paranoid to write about here - various decisions regarding My Future.  Triple Yikes!

Currently, the amount of waiting I’m doing is outweighing the amount of actual work I’m doing - I’ve reached a tipping point of sorts, I guess, where the pressure of waiting is greater than the pressure of writing and, as a result, I can’t do much of anything apart from try to understand the purpose of Twitter, hang around in Facebook, reply to old e-mails, and write blog posts.  Luckily, I have to go out for a meeting shortly.

Ordinarily I am not grateful for meetings.

Line of Influence

18 May 2009 in Flight Paths | Comments (0)

Next month, my work on ‘Flight Paths’ and other projects will be featured in ‘Line of Influence’, an online exhibition curated by Jeremy Hight and S.C. Nakatani on their site, ‘Binary Katwalk’. The current featured artist is Vuk Cosic; his version of the opportunity afforded by the exhibition is an elegant take on his influences down the years.  My iteration of the exhibition won’t be so comprehensive - I’ve written a bit about my digital evolution, and am featuring work by Caitlin Fisher, Renee Turner, and Christine Wilks.

The launch of ‘Line of Influence’ will coincide with the re-launch of ‘Flight Paths’.

Creativity and the Law

14 May 2009 in Future of Publishing | Comments (0)

Last night I was on a panel for Birkbeck Arts Week, ‘Creativity and the Law’, with Anthony Julius and Lisa Appignanesi. It was exciting and daunting to be on a panel with such luminaries; Anthony Julius is a pre-eminent lawyer and writer and general all round very-smart-person, and Lisa A is hugely knowledgable about freedom of expression here in the UK through her work for PEN.

I kicked off the discussion (wanted to go first as was afraid that if I had to speak after either of them I’d feel even more foolish than normal) by talking a bit about my on-going confusion and consternation regarding issues around Copyright and Intellectual Property in the digital age - essentially, how to make a living from producing content in a world where content is often free.  Here are the points I attempted to make:

1.  I believe in the utopian notion of the Universal Library ?? the internet as a vast repository of knowledge, open source, and freely available

2.  But I also worry that as my content is digitised and my work is made available across multiple platforms, not just fixed print type ?? something that, again, I’m hugely excited by and very involved with both thinking and experimenting with - it will become increasingly difficult for me to make a living from producing that content.

3.  I’m already hugely involved in giving away content for free ?? via this blog, but more fundamentally, via my digital fiction project, ‘Inanimate Alice’ ?? a project where, incidentally, I do not own the IP, and a project where, for the first time in my life, I’ve used a lawyer to draw up contracts instead of relying on those often rather quaint contracts used by agents and publishers.  It’s worth noting that with its huge readership of more than a million people, this work has had more readers than all my print publications combined.  It is privately financed, available for free.

4.  Many writers worry that digitising books will create a huge problem of piracy, illegal file-sharing, like what has happened in the music industry.

5.  Though my feeling is that, really, file-sharing of books has been with us already for decades - the secondhand book market, which when it comes to writers and remuneration, might as well be piracy. However, back to my first point, when it comes to the dissemenation of culture, and any notion of an open access, Universal Library, for those of us who read books, the secondhand book market is of huge value - to readers, but also to writers who buy secondhand books.

6.  Google Book Settlement ?? ploughing through the documentation and attempting to decide whether to opt in or opt out ?? in a way, GBS crystallises all the above arguments and puts them on the table:  Who will profit from my labour as a writer?  Google?  Or me?

7.  Lastly, in all these discussions of copyright and IP, etc., it’s worth noting that the duration of copyright after a writer’s death is getting longer and longer, and this is not something I’m happy about.  The truth is that I think that my copyright should cease when I die and my work, for what its worth, should enter the public domain at that point.

Inanimate Alice Survey

12 May 2009 in Inanimate Alice Rising Stars Virtual Book Tour | Comments (3)

I’ve just sent out a survey to the folks on the ‘Inanimate Alice’ mailing lists.  If you like surveys, and if you like ‘Inanimate Alice’, I’d love to hear from you! I am thinking about attempting to write a novel based on the Alice stories, for the young adult market (13+) and I’m attempting to collect some basic information about the audience for ‘Inanimate Alice’.  We have three fairly substantial mailing lists, so I’ve written to them all and asked everyone to complete the survey.

If you are interested, you can find the survey at Inanimate Alice Survey.

I promise not to sell you answers or use them in any way other than to get a small snapshot of our audience!

Digital Fiction PhD

8 May 2009 in Press | Comments (0)

At DMU where I am Reader in Creative Writing and New Media (I still can’t get over my own grandness), my colleague Sue Thomas and I are in the middle of setting up a new research group, the Transliteracy Research Group, otherwise known as TRG.  Snappy, I know!  I already have a couple of PhD students at DMU, but we are both looking to encourage more PhD students to join us.  If you are interested in doing a PhD with us, drop me a line on kpullinger (at) dmu (dot) ac (dot) uk.

Not one new book but two!!

5 May 2009 in | Comments (0)

punkfictionpaintavulgarpictureI’ve got new short stories in not one, but two brand new anthologies, published this month:  Punk Fiction and Paint A Vulgar Picture (both links will take you to Amazon) -  ‘Public Image Ltd’ in ‘Punk Fiction’, and ‘Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now’ in ‘Paint a Vulgar Picture’.

‘Punk Fiction’ is edited by one of my fabulous students on the MA, Janine Bullman, while ‘Paint a Vulgar Picture’ is edited by Peter Wild.

Both stories take and develop further a character I’ve been writing about for a while now - five short stories to date. All stories are told in the first person, narrated by Richard, who is turning out to be a slightly lonely, slightly crackers, middle-aged man, devoted father and husband (though there is an edge to the latter relationship), estranged from his father…  This is not something I’ve done before, found myself writing about the same character in a series of stories, but I’ve been enjoying it, and plan to write more.

Here’s a very short Richard story, first one I wrote in fact.

The Day the Mormons Came

I was at home with a sick child when the doorbell rang.  I opened the door and was faced with a small army of Mormons.

‘We have come to share our news with you and your boy.’  The tallest one spoke first.

‘You have?’  How did they know about the boy?

‘Yes, Richard, we have heard you calling us, late at night, we have heard your voice in the blessed ether.’

‘You have?’  How did they know my name?  And calling out, late at night, this was news to me.  Or was it?  Did I call out at night for a God I did not believe in?  The idea felt uncomfortably familiar.  I’m practically a professional atheist; I work as an orderly in the secure psychiatric wing of the hospital.  God abandoned those people a long time ago.  And now there is the sick child to add to my list of grievances.

‘You know,’ I said, ‘the boy’s not well.  We’re having a quiet day.  You’ll have to come back another time.’

‘We don’t have long here on earth,’ the shortest one said.

‘Things are happening.’

‘Well, nothing is happening in my house.  We are quite all right without you. Thanks but no thanks.’

I closed the door abruptly. As they turned away, a couple of them gave each other stiff masculine hugs, as though expressing the depth of their disappointment in me. I went back into the sitting room and lay down on the sofa. My boy came over and got on top of me. I put my arms around him and we turned our full attention to the TV.

The Mistress of Nothing on Book Depository

5 May 2009 in Books Written by Me The Mistress of Nothing | Comments (0)

‘The Mistress of Nothing’, which comes out in mid-July in the UK, October in Canada, is featured as one of 22 Editor’s Top Picks at The Book Depository.  It’s great to see it there, and I hope it stays there until the book is actually available to buy!!  Still, you can pre-order it, and there’s a countdown on the website - only 65 days to go!!!  Place your orders now!

The book is up on Amazon already too… so if you want to pre-order, please do!!

I don’t know that I’ve ever pre-ordered anything ever; my son pre-ordered the new Percy Jackson yesterday, but it comes out today, so that doesn’t really count.  The publicist from my UK publisher told me the other day that orders from bookshops are way down; according to her, the upside of this dire situation is that returns are way down as well - I guess if retailers don’t order the book in the first place, they don’t have to send it back when it doesn’t sell.  Returns:  bad.  Pre-orders:  good.

Oh the joys of book publishing.

Coping With Book Censorship in the Digital Age

1 May 2009 in Flight Paths Future of Publishing Inanimate Alice Rising Stars | Comments (0)

I’ve written a new blog post for the folks at Internet Evolution > Thinker Net, which they’ve called ‘Coping with Book Censorship in the Digital Age’ Last time I wrote a post for these people, it attracted a lot of interesting comment and discussion, so hopefully this time it will as well, though there’s a comment up already from, ahem, M. Hulot, which isn’t all that… well… serious, it seems to me.  Anyway, have a read.  Feel free to comment here, or over there, although to comment on Internet Evolution you need to register and open an account with them.