It is important for me to have a publisher who provides me with a literary home. This is because, not only do I call upon and honour the tradition of independent literary publishing in my work, and feel comfortable with a House that supports that kind of free-ranging endeavour and the long term projects the imagintaion and intellect entail. But also because the work I make is so very different, from book to book, in terms of content, approach and strategy and so is a challenge to market and sell according to traditional mainstream models.
I believe I take my readers with me on an adventure in all my novels and short stories and other writing. It’s an adventure that I want to start afresh with every new enterprise, and while readers who have read my work over the years will identify preoccupations and imaginative interests that continue to hold me, they will also note, I hope, how each story shakes up preconceptions of what a Kirsty Gunn book might entail.
One way of describing each of the books I’ve written might be that every one is its own particular world. Each novel and collection has its own temperature and sense of place that I would like to think may touch and affect the reader as much as any other place they may visit in their lives and to which they may feel connected. We might imagine, then, that to open up each of these stories is to open up a door.
Yet none of these titles are “stories” as such, with plots and conventions that follow a known reality and aim to mimic it in some way or other – those concepts of characterisation and narrative arc and so on that dominate realist fiction. Rather each book is a place I ask the reader to come inside and inhabit with me. It’s not to say there are people who live in these pages who aren’t as real as people you may know, and it ‘s not so say the stories of their lives are not as compelling as any other you might enjoy reading about, but I am concerned mostly with the imagination, and how the reader is as connected as the writer is to the story that unfurls in the mind and on the page.
In all have written ten works of fiction and non fiction, including short stories, fragments and essays in a writing life that spans decades. My publishers in the UK are Faber and Faber, and I have also been translated and am published in a range of territories across the world including Bourgois Editions in France who, like Fabers, have supported my work from the outset.
The Big Music, Faber and Faber, 2012 – novel, also the subject of film by Gary Gowans featuring Brian Cox; also hear the music accompanying the novel here (link to Lament For Himself, and details of The Lament Room, Dundee Little Theatre, Royal Society of Edinburgh)
Caroline’s Bikini, Faber and Faber, 2018 – novel
Going Bush, Cahiers Series for Translation, Sylph Editions, 2016 – essay, short story
My Katherine Mansfield Project, Notting Hill Editions, 2015 – essay, short stories, fragments ( first published as “Thorndon” by BWB Books in New Zealand 2014)
Infidelities, Faber and Faber, 2014 – short stories
The Big Music, Faber and Faber, 2012 – novel, also the subject of film by Gary Gowans featuring Brian Cox (link here to film); also hear the music accommaning the novel here (link to Lament For Himself, and details of The Lament Room, Dundee Little Theatre, Royal Society of Edinburgh)
44 things, Atlantic Books, 2006 – short stories, fragments, non fiction
The boy and the sea, Faber and Faber, 2006 – novel
Featherstone, Faber and Faber, 2002 – novel
This Place you Return to is Home, Granta Books, 1999 – short stories
The Keepsake, Granta Books, 1997 – novel
Rain, Faber and Faber, 1994 – novel
Each title in detail – following link:
CAROLINE’S BIKINI (link to Caroline’s Bikini page – press release, jacket with copy)
All the way through to…
Copy from jacket and so on through all titles. Detals of prizes, shortlists for each
Praise for each title – three to five examples? Then link through to full reviews
Work in Anthologies:
“Imagining Men Seeing Women” in XX, confirm
“Dangerous Dog” In ‘Reader I Married Him’, ed Tracy Chevalier, Borough Press, Harper Collins UK, 2016
Work in referendum anthology,- to check,. ed Scott Hames, 2014
“Coming Down off the Hill” in ‘Best New Zealand Short Stories’, ed Paula Morris, Penguin, date?
“Now I can see how it was, I think” in NW14, The Anthology of New Writing, Granta Books, 2006
“Tinsel Bright” in ‘Faber Book of Childhood’, ed Lorrie Moore, check date