Please take a moment to review Hachette Book Group's updated Privacy Policy: read the updated policy here.

Katharine McCormick/Top Secret Play

So.  According to wikipedia –  which I grant you isn’t a great source, but stick with me – Katharine McCormick was an American philanthropist, biologist and suffragette.  She was the second woman to ever graduate from MIT; she promoted birth control, women’s rights, and pushed for the participation of women in science in a time in the early twentieth century when the idea of women participating in anything other than household chores was still something of a novelty.

I tell you this, to explain why, when picking yet another pseudonym to add to the list of names I’m already scribbling under, I pinched her last name, figuring that if you have to do something as daft as get a new name, you might as well pick one which has a degree of honour to it.

There are other reasons why I’ve nabbed the name.  For a start, I’m writing as Kate McCormick for a play that’s being put on at Riverside Studios in London from 25th March 2014 for three weeks, and as it’s a play, rather than a fantasy book, I figured there might be some merit in slotting yet another name onto the list.  The play itself is also about women.  Well… I say that… there’s a long and complicated argument there, and I hate the idea that anything I’ve written is ‘about women’ since as far as I’m concerned all things should be about people and the question of secondary sexual characteristics isn’t something that I’m gonna get worked up about, but leaving that conversation aside for now the play is about a women’s football team in the 1920s and thus kinda ticks certain historical and thematic boxes.  Finally, I’ve got another pseudonym because the play in question – Unfit for Females – was the brainchild of its very cool director, who grabbed me by the collar and said ‘get scribbling, please!’ and, as the process is very different from how I usually write (towit: solo and at whim) I figured I’d chuck a new name in there, as this is a very new thing for me.  Finally, thinking it through… there’s also a serious danger I’m going to end up lighting it.  Which is weird.  As a lighting designer I’m firmly of the conviction that the best writer is someone who’s been dead for seventy years.  Writers are a nightmare in tech, they shouldn’t be let into the room until the last cue has fired, if then.  I also have the slight problem that as a lighting designer I have to maintain a degree of professional respectability towards the director and the script, and work within a production hierarchy, whereas as a writer… that line gets blurred.  So yeah.  It’s gonna be interesting.

All of which is a long and convoluted way of saying that there’s this play what I wrote.  Well… draft 1 is finished but there is this whole devising thing going on so let’s say, there’s a draft of a play what I wrote, and it’s being put on at Riverside Studios, and they’ve got a really nice lighting desk and I don’t have to worry about power supply and lamp stock and…

… other literary considerations.