Tag Archives: Susan Barker

Festive Fun

This blog entry is really an excuse to say a big thank you to everyone who has been involved with Pen Pusher this year: whether as a writer or reader; a performer or listener. It’s been a great year and we hope you’ll be joining us for more in 2010. Meanwhile, here’s a brief overview of what we’ve been up to…

It’s been a really good few months for Pen Pusher since we relaunched the magazine in March ’09… We’ve been selling in shops all round London and have even reached over the pond to our first distributor in New York – McNally Jackson – and are also now being sold in the legendary Shakespeare & Co. We’ve also been accepting submissions online via out account system and it’s fantastic how many of you have signed up for an online account. We should have much more to offer you next year via our website so keep your online eyes peeled…

We are also delighted with the PP ‘Featured Author’ section we began with the relaunch issue, #12. This feature offers writers a chance to showcase an extract from a longer work-in-progress or as-yet unpublished novel. For me as an editor the chance to publish extracts from longer works of fiction has added a totally new dimension to the editing process and the character of the magazine; and for writers it offers a chance to showcase their talents, as well as giving them the possibility to see their work-in-progress in print, which can illuminate aspects of the story/writing process and help them rework or reassess their piece. I think it’s a great way of working more closely with talented writers and we look forward to publishing more extracts next year. Many thanks to the authors whose work we published this year: Pia Chatterjee, author of Unreal City; Susan Barker, author of The Beijing Taxi Driver; and Nikesh Shukla author of Coconut Unlimited. (And you can read Pia in conversation with Essential Writers where she talks about her publication in Pen Pusher here.

We’ve also had three fantastic events to launch issues 12, 13 & 14 featuring some incredible poets and authors & you can remind yourself of some of the action here. Highlights included Hugo Williams and John Hegley at PP12; Roddy Lumsden, Ashna Sarkar and Joe Dunthorne at PP13 & just a few weeks ago at The Castle in Farringdon, readers included Ross Sutherland, Sam Riviere, Dean Wilson and an incredible rabble-rousing performance from Nikesh Shukla.

Favourite new reads of 2009:

Let the Great World Spin by Collum McCann – a brilliant New York novel. Read my review of it at Untitled Books here

Leviathan by Phillip Hoare – bizarrely enjoyable history of the whale that’s also made me want to ready Moby Dick which no one else has ever managed.

The Diaries of Sofia Tolstoy provides a hypnotically mundane and fascinating account of Tolstoy’s domestic world and the pain and problems his difficult nature caused – Sofia is exasperating, strong and brilliantly honest.

The Paris Review – all collected volumes and new issues. It’s simple – read everything.

Obsessive reread of the year

Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters by Salinger – another masterpiece about the Glass family that I have reread a couple more times this year. Slight dream of mine to be in some stuffy New York apartment and offered a Tom Collins.

If you feel like commenting, let us know what your favourite read of 2009 has been.

And, just before PP signs off for the festive season, we’d like to introduce you all to the newest member of the Pen Pusher team – Betty. A polymath with a frighteningly short attention span she’s a myriad of contradictions, but she’s brought some strong ideas to the table – more exercise, more snack breaks and more naps. And she gets through books very quickly, severely damaging my Frank S Pepper 20th Cenutry Quotations and my copy of The Cossacks by Tolstoy in a matter of seconds…

Happy Christmas!!!