Kitty Fitzgerald on Discovering Pigsense

fitzgerald.jpgIf you saw the NYTBR review for Kitty Fitzgerald’s novel Pigtopia yesterday, you’ve caught a glimpse of the remarkable voice that Fitzgerald created for Jack, a village outcast in the mold of Boo Radley. I was curious about how Fitzgerald created his unique form of speech, so I asked her—and this was her reply.

The story of Jack Plum started life as a radio play called Pig Paradise, which was broadcast by the BBC in 1998. At the time I wrote it, I couldn’t find Jack’s inner voice at all, and didn’t even know if I wanted to, so his character was explored entirely through dialogue with the younger Holly Lock.

It worked well and I felt no loss at not having Jack as part-narrator of the play, which had been the director’s desire. After the broadcast I thought I’d heard the last of Jack Plum but it wasn’t to be. Fragments, images and words kept shoving themselves into my head; I saw an inordinate number of pigs rummaging in fields and at times felt as if someone large was following me when I took the dog for a walk on the moor.

Eventually I understood there was more to be explored in the story of Jack. I sat down and began making plans for turning the play into a novel. This time I knew I had to get right inside his internal landscape.

It wasn’t easy finding Jack’s voice because it wasn’t a technical linguistic exercise; it was a question of being able to hear its nuances inside my head. The creative process is a strange beast. You have to find a way of opening yourself up to possibilities; you have to get rid of your internal censor; you have to listen and wait. And when I finally heard the first sentence from Jack’s inner world, that was just the beginning.


31 October 2005 | guest authors |

Told You So

Let’s take a look at the Beatrice archives, specifically April 30, 2004:

“So the embargo is lifted, and it can be announced: Ambassador Joseph Wilson thinks the guy who leaked his wife’s identity as a CIA agent was probably Lewis Libby, but maybe Elliott Abrams.”

28 October 2005 | uncategorized |

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