5 Questions for Christina Koning

Christina Koning is an award-winning author and critic, who has published five novels. Her first novel, A Mild Suicide (1992), was shortlisted for the David Higham Prize for Fiction; Undiscovered Country, her second book, won the Encore Award in 1998 and was long-listed for the Orange Prize; Fabulous Time (2001) was awarded a Society of Authors Travelling Scholarship. In 2010 she published The Dark Tower simultaneously as a print-on-demand text and an ebook. Her most recently published work is Variable Stars (2011).

What was the last book you read?
The last book I read was Hangover Square – Patrick Hamilton’s wonderfully louche depiction of the seedy Earls Court pubs and Soho dives of late-1930s London. I read it just after re-reading Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock – another noirish portrayal of Britain between-the-wars.

Which book would you recommend to a younger version of you that hadn’t yet read it?
The book I’d have recommended to my younger self would have been Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain, a novel that changed my perception of Space, Time, and everything else! For a fuller discussion of this amazing book, see my website: www.christinakoning.com

What was the first book you remember having a big impact on you as a child?
The book that made the biggest impact on me as a child was Alice in Wonderland, which I first read when I was about seven.

Where is your favourite place to research/write and why?
My favourite place to research and write is the London Library.

What made you decide to branch out and self publish and how much influence did new publishing technology have on your decision?
My first three novels were published by Penguin Books during the late 1990s and early 2000s. At around this time, publishing was going through a massive shake-up – largely as a result of the collapse of the Net Book Agreement, which led to the closure of so many bookshops, and the subsequent decline in demand for good literary fiction. Suddenly, book selling was dominated by the big chains, whose aggressive ‘three-for-two’ marketing of an increasingly restricted range of books was bad news for serious writers. I decided I wasn’t prepared to give up on my career just yet. Fortunately, new technology has meant that writers can now wrest control back from the mainstream publishers and booksellers, and produce high quality fiction in both textual and e-book form. I’ve been lucky to be part of this new publishing revolution, and am about to publish my second novel with Arbuthnot Books, one of the new online publishing companies. My intention is to re-publish all my earlier novels in the same format.

Christina will be at WORDfest for the Working With Words panel on Tuesday 5th at 7pm at Crawley Library.


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