February 1999

Luther Blissett's novel "Q"

Since the end of 1995, some of us have been working on a Luther Blissett's novel, which is in the press right now and will hit the bookstores on 2 March. The title is 'Q', and it's an anti-copyright 700-pages-long hard-boiled flick. We managed to impose the anti-copyright clause to Einaudi, that is one of the most prestigious and biggest publishers, comparable to Gallimard in France or Faber & Faber in the UK. We protected our work by a series of smoke-screens and rather absurd rumors, letting some mind-boggling info leak out to the media. Some hacks speculated about the "Brain" behind the renowned multi-use-name, called Umberto Eco into question (originally, it was a Neo-Fascist conspiracy theory), then alluded to some "heretic prelate" as the real author of the book. In the meanwhile, we got in touch with some serious media operators, people who were less interested in the author's identity than in the book itself. We sent them the page-proofs, and a few advance reviews appeared, one of which I've translated in order to make you grasp what the novel is about (see appendix).

Last week we issued a press release that went: 'Bourgeois narrow-mindedness encloses the field of creation then sows "Authors", "Copyright" and big "Names". This prevents people from realizing that writing is always a collective process, ideas are nobody's property, "Genius" does not exist, there's just a Great Ricombination. This is what Blissett's been trying to tell you for years, you obtuse defenders of intellectual property. "Q" is the product of an invisible insurrection of a million minds (and two million feet kicking John Paul's ass). For more than three years this large network of events poured hundreds of sub-texts and sub-plots into the novel. Even if a few individuals had made the final editing, this would not count for spit, but in case you are dying to know, keep cool, the recognition's timing will be perfect.'

When the book will be out, we'll spread the following statement: 'We are [...the names of the four editors...]. All you are going to know about us is that we are based in Bologna. We are from 26 up to 35 years old. Some of us work as bouncers at night clubs [...] We have been active in the Luther Blissett Project since its beginnings, and integral parts of the Bologna scene since the late Eighties. We had and keep having problems with the Law.

Our names are far from being important. Our biographies are even less relevant. We are the team that actually wrote "Q", and yet we are less than the 0.04% of the LBP. The fact that we are coming out does not comprise our self-spectacularization, we do not intend to give up our privacy to become (moderately) "young" fashionable novelists and talk show guests, which would be a very dishonourable end. If that ever happens we hope that other Blissetts will finish us off like wounded horses.
Quite the contrary, our move is aimed at showing that we are a collective entity, not a single "Author". Behind Luther Blissett (and behind 'Q' as well) there is no boss, no mysterious scholar, nor have we been the only Blissetts who contributed.
It is the network the future of creative writing.'


[Appendix] From "La Stampa", 25 January 1999:

Coming soon:

A Survivor From The XVIth Century

Q: An Action Novel and A Breath-taking thriller authored by Luther Blissett

[...] 650 pages that make us sink in Sixteenth Century Europe, a continent fractured by that war of religions which generated the modern world. This is Q's historical frame (Is Q for Qoelet? Yes and no). It is an action novel and a breath-taking thriller, using a razor-sharp language and cinematic sequences in order to capture the reader and drag them into a remarkable political/theological magma. The author is unknown, except for the Luther Blissett *nomen omen*, i.e. the ineffable alias that means both everybody and nobody. And we might say that Nobody (a *sui generis* Ulysses) is the novel's protagonist for thirty years of violence, arson, heretics, the Church (Pietro Carafa, not yet Pope Paul IV), excommunications, corruption and swindles. He is The Survivor, going through the Peasants' War declared by Thomas Muenzer then strangled in blood at the battle of Frankenhausen, 1525 [...]; going through the defeat of the Anabaptists in Muenster... going through the Inquisition, till he comes to the pleasure-loving Venice of whorehouses and then to the Bosford, where the colossal duel with Q comes to an end. "Q" is as scholarly as Professors Ginzburg and Prosperi's essays, yet it is compelling and colorful [...]. The search for the anonymous has already started, although reading the novel is more amusing.'