Calling Digital Writers: The Beyond the Book Commission

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“Is the smartphone – always with us, always on – the perfect reading device?” – Kate Pullinger (Writer and Professor of Creative Writing and Digital Media at Bath Spa University)

The newly launched Beyond the Book commission is for digital writers with a connection to the South West of England who want to answer this question.

Developed by creative writing incubator Paper Nations and The Writing Platform’s editorial director Kate Pullinger, this newly launched commission has been created to challenge writers to develop innovative models for writing and publication and promote dialogue between writers, technologists and publishers.

A commission of up to £5,000 is available for three writers with a connection to Somerset, Wiltshire or Gloucestershire (in the UK) to spend six months experimenting with the possibilities of using a smartphone to tell stories. This might involve paying a creative technologist to help you bring an idea into reality, to help develop your own digital skills, to buy tech or pay for writing time.

The commission is looking to support text-based works, which could include text shared through audio (but not films that focus only on visual images, scripts, or plays). Projects could look at how text is experienced on a screen, or how the functions of a smartphone, such as sensors, cameras, or GPS, can be used to tell a story. Digital writers might want to develop a work of ambient literature, an experiment in augmented reality, or a poetry film. Or something completely new.

Beyond the Book’s selection panel brings together experts in the field; Maja Thomas (Hachette Publishing’s Chief Innovation Officer and Director of the Innovation Program), Louisa Adjoa Parker (Writer and Immersion Fellow in the South West Creative Technology Network), Steve Hollyman (Programme Coordinator and Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University) and Andy Wood (Creative Technologist at Kaleider, Exeter).

Paper Nations will support commissioned writers to create a finished digital work, which will be showcased at a premiere in Bath, UK, in spring 2020, and at Bath Spa University’s MIX 2021 – a leading conference on writing and technology. Writers will also create a series of short articles for The Writing Platform.

This commission has been developed as part of Paper Nations’ 2019-21 Writing for All programme, which works to increase innovation and diversity the the South West of the UK.

Writers can apply at www.papernations.org and until 1st September 2019. Successful applicants will be announced in October 2019.

Email writers@papernations.org for more information.