UK’s first ‘popular’ digital fiction writing competition launched

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The first ever UK competition to find the best new examples of popular digital fiction has been launched by Sheffield Hallam University and Bangor University.

The Opening Up Digital Fiction Writing Competition, run by Sheffield Hallam University and Bangor University, and part of the AHRC-funded Reading Digital Fiction project, is inviting entries from people across the UK and in two languages – English and Welsh.

Digital fictions are different to e-books and are known as ‘born digital’, as they would lose some of their form and meaning if they were removed from the digital medium.

Digital fictions require the reader to interact with the narrative throughout the reading experience. This may include hyperlinks, moving images, mini-games or sound effects. In many digital fictions, the reader has a role in constructing the narrative by controlling a character’s journey through the story.

Hypertexts, text-adventure games, multimedia stories, interactive video, literary games, and some mobile apps are all examples of types of digital fiction.

There are five prizes up for grabs in the competition – Judges’ Prize, People’s Choice, Welsh Language Prize*, Student Prize and Children’s Story Prize.

Winners will receive a cash prize, publication on the Reading Digital Fiction website, and a series of mentoring meetings with select judges on a future digital fiction project.

Dr Alice Bell, a reader in the Humanities department at Sheffield Hallam University, is running the Reading Digital Fiction project with Dr Lyle Skains from Bangor University, a practitioner-researcher in digital fiction in the School of Creative Studies and Media.

Dr Bell said: “There is a new generation of readers and writers who see digital media as a dynamic and genuinely immersive means of experiencing fiction. We’re trying to capture that within the Reading Digital Fiction project by engaging with established audiences as well as introducing more readers to this form of storytelling.

“The competition is designed to expand digital fiction readership to include a broader segment of the public and is open all writers – from rookies to veterans – and all types of digital fiction. We’re keen to see entries that will be accessible to different audiences compatible across different devices.”

Dr Skains said: “As a writer of digital fiction, I’m excited to see the public engage more with it, and to see more popular forms emerging from this engagement. Our judges, too, have expressed a keen interest in seeing what digital fiction can do once it hits the mainstream. We’re really pleased to have such high profile judges join the panel, from very popular digital fiction writers to Welsh-language researchers in digital media and creativity.”

Click here for more information on the competition or to submit an entry.

*(Welsh language entries are eligible for all prize categories).