IFOA in Toronto

31 October 2009 in The Mistress of Nothing | Comments (0)

I’ve been in Toronto all week at IFOA - the International Festival of Authors - and have had a fabulous time.  My events have gone well, and the festival is so completely hospitable and friendly with endless numbers of parties, dinners, readings, and general all round good will and generosity.  The GG nomination has meant that there’s been increased interest in my book, so there’s been a fair amount of press and even an interview for CBC News Network - we filmed in the Egyptian Antiquities section of the ROM, which was great fun. It’s not easy to get books on tv so this was a great boost for me; it will be shown in the entertainment segments on CBC sometime in the next week.

Toronto seems quite changed to me; it’s five years since I was last here. As always I find great food, great autumn colours, great neighbourhoods, great shopping, but since I was last here there are a bunch of new exciting buildings and the city seems bigger and more dynamic.  Of course I’m a complete outsider and know nothing, really, but I have a great time whenever I come here.  I hope it’s not another five years before I come back again.

CBC Radio North by Northwest

23 October 2009 in The Mistress of Nothing | Comments (0)


When I was in BC in August, I recorded this interview with Sheila MacKay.  It was broadcast last Sunday.

Off to IFOA

23 October 2009 in The Mistress of Nothing | Comments (0)


I’m off to Toronto in a few days for the International Festival of Authors - IFOA. Because of the GG shortlisting of my novel ‘The Mistress of Nothing’ (ahahahahahahahahahahahah ayayayayayayayayayayayayay!!!!!), I’m going to be busy - three public readings and a bunch of interviews.  All very good.  IFOA is a great festival to attend as an author; they treat you very well.  Invited writers tend to stay on in Toronto for a week, so you get lots of opportunities to meet your heroes and make new friends in the infamous Hospitality Suite before and after the readings.

The run-up to going away, combined with the run-up to finding out which book will win the GG, is making me a bit crazy, very nervous and very excited. I’m spending even more time staring at my Tweetdeck than usual.

So!  Onward to Canada.  Yippee!!

CFP - Transliteracy Conference 9 Feb 2010

20 October 2009 in | Comments (0)

TRGlogoCall for Presentations
Transliteracy Conference
Tuesday 9 February 2010, 9:30 - 17:30
Phoenix Square Digital Media Centre, Leicester, UK

In association with the Institute of Creative Technologies & the NLab Small Business Network,  De Montfort University

Deadline for Abstracts:  1 December, 2009

Transliteracy is the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks.  Since 2005, when Professor Sue Thomas introduced this concept in the UK, transliteracy has been taken up and explored by a broad range of academics and practitioners, from information scientists to literary theorists, artists and writers. The first Transliteracy Conference will take place at Leicester’s new Phoenix Square Digital Media Centre, on 9 Feb 2010.  This one-day event offers an opportunity for academics, artists, business people and practitioners to share discoveries, ideas, and creative works that amplify and augment transliteracy research.

This Call for Presentations invites 250 word abstracts.  Presentations should be 10-15 minutes in duration, and can be used to show work or deliver a short paper.  The Conference Panel will group presentations together thematically in sessions scheduled to include time to explore the issues and ideas raised through discussion.  Phoenix Square is well equipped with the latest technology, so presenters will be able to show work on screen and via the internet.

Themes to be explored include:

  • transliteracy and libraries
  • transliteracy and the arts
  • transliteracy in education
  • transliteracy in communications
  • transliteracy in the workplace
  • transliteracy and transdisciplinarity
  • transliteracy in action - examples of transliterate works, like digital fiction, networked arts projects, or library resources

Abstracts should be submitted in the body of an email to transliteracy (at) Please include a 100-word bio and contact email address.

Deadline for abstracts is 1 December, 2009; notification of acceptance by 18 December, 2009.
Further information can be obtained from Louisa Allen at
We expect to charge a modest delegate fee to cover costs.
Selected materials from the conference will be published online at

For more about The Transliteracy Research Group (TRG) see
To discuss Transliteracy visit

Governor General’s Literary Awards - Fiction 2009

14 October 2009 in The Mistress of Nothing | Comments (2)

GGLA2009HeaderTurns out I’m on the shortlist for the GGs!!!  Five books on the list.  This was totally unexpected, as unexpected as the Giller longlisting, but to go straight onto the shortlist… well… really, such good news indeed.  My publisher and agents are as excited as me.  My sister e-mailed me that she was crying into her keyboard.  We wish my mum was here so we could shout down the phone at her in excitement.  This is really just such good news, I can’t believe it.

TRG launches today!!!

13 October 2009 in Future of Publishing | Comments (0)

TRGlogoSince transliteracy research began at DMU in 2005 under the umbrella of PART (Production & Research in Transliteracy), group members have produced a significant range of projects, events, presentations and publications, stimulating an informal research network around the theory and practice of transliteracy.

My colleague, Sue Thomas, and I have now established The Transliteracy Research Group with the aim of focusing PART’s work yet more closely. TRG will continue to draw in a broad coalition of theorists and practitioners, both from DMU and other international institutions and organizations, whilst continuing to develop our already strong links with business, local community, and the broader cultural sector. A major strength of transliteracy events at DMU is that participants have come from academia, the arts, information sciences, pedagogical researchers, and the creative industries, and this has impacted in many different areas.

The Transliteracy Research Group (TRG), is a research-focussed think-tank and creative laboratory.  The public face of the group resides on a new blog.  This blog will be run by Thomas and me, with regular contributions from the following De Montfort staff, Phd students, and graduates of the online MA in Creative Writing and New Media:  Tia Azulay, Heather Conboy, Gareth Howell, Anietie Isong, Jess Laccetti, Kirsty McGill, and Christine Wilks.

Please join us as we develop this new field of academic research. You can contribute via comments to the blog or join the community ‘Transliteracy Notes’, designed by Gareth Howell.

As well as the new research group, we would like to bring to your attention a new resource, the Creative Writing and New Media Archive, an archive of all the Guest Lectures given during the four years of the online MA in Creative Writing and New Media. This archive contains lectures from theorists and practitioners as varied as Christy Dena, Rita Raley, Alan Sondheim, Caitlin Fisher, and John Cayley.  Created by CWNM graduate and digital artist Christine Wilks, this resource will be of value to practitioners, students and academics with an interest in transliteracy, digital fiction, digital art, e-poetry, and cross-media.  Please feel free to use this archive and discuss it in ‘Transliteracy Notes’.

We will be hosting a day-long Transliteracy Conference on Tuesday 9 Feb, 2010, at the brand-new Phoenix Square Digital Media Centre, Leicester, UK.  Please watch for our Call for Presentations which we will be sending out next week.

‘A Vauxhall Chorus’ - 24 Hour Book information

8 October 2009 in Future of Publishing | Comments (0)

A few links for those of you who are interested in the 24 Hr Book and it’s various manifestations:

Buy the book!

We sold out of the books that we had very quickly, but you can get hold of a copy from CompletelyNovel here:
(If you are not a member of CompletelyNovel you will need to go through a very quick signup process first -
The 24hr Book costs ?4.99 plus P&P.
All profits will go towards future collaborations between the organisations involved in this project to explore and experiment with books.

You can also let us know what you think of it by leaving a review on CompletelyNovel!
Check out the other material

The printed book is just a part of the material that we created for the 24hr Book…you might want to take a look at these web pages too!

Page flip with cool bits from the weekend:
Published version of the final 24hr Book Open Allotment:
Ning Platform featuring photos from the weekend and some videos too! 

24 Hour Book complete!

6 October 2009 in Future of Publishing | Comments (2)

vauxhallchorus0001‘A Vauxhall Chorus:  The 24 Hour Book’ is finished!  We wrote it on Saturday, it was edited on Sunday, and last night - Monday - we drank champagne at the Soho launch!  Extraordinary.  Here’s the cover image - I’ve scanned it myself as it doesn’t seem to exist online yet.

I read the various texts when they were in their as-yet-unedited state, early Sunday morning.  But I have yet to read the full edited, published, text, and I’m looking forward to doing that later today.

This was an extraordinary experience, not least of all because it was huge fun.  One of the reasons the project worked so well, is that the partnerships were very well thought out - Spread the Word, Completely Novel, if:Book, and the Society of Young Publishers, working alongside teams of writers and artists.

The other thing that made the project work as well as it did was Googledocs.  Though we stretched this platform to beyond breaking point from time to time, it provided an incredibly easy to use online platform for all our writers and artists, whether or not we were working in the same room or across the Atlantic via the internet.  Googledocs started life as Writely and thanks to my ever-wired colleague, Sue Thomas, I’ve been using it since the platform was first created.  Combining it with Skype and Twitter and e-mail and a ning made for an all-round collaborative writing experience that really did outstrip anything I’ve been involved with in the past.

And like all good projects, it has given me lots of ideas for future projects that take what we learned this weekend and push the possibilities and opportunities for writers even further.

This does not mark the end of the solitary, lengthy, novel writing process - of course not.  I should talk, given ‘The Mistress of Nothing’ took me more than a dozen years to write.  But I feel as though we have put a marker in the sand when it comes to open access collaborative writing projects.  This is only the beginning of what is possible.

In other news, today I go to Birmingham to do a gig with Sadie Jones at the Literary Festival; today is also the day I find out whether or not I will get on the Giller Prize shortlist.  Needless to say, I’m feeling a little nervous.