Writing Prize Explores New Possibilities in the Digital Age

Screengrab image from Underbelly by Christine Wilks

Today’s new feature on Litro from Robin Stevens considers the possibilities for new, formative and  ‘truly interactive and immersive storytelling’ by way of new media technologies. These possibilities are also on the agenda at the New Media Writing Prize. In recognising the new opportunities that have arisen for writers since the proliferation of new media platforms like Amazon’s Kindle, Blackberry’s Playbook and Apple’s Ipad, the prize aims to raise awareness, reward those working in new media and add to the current and emerging debates surrounding digital publishing. Previous winners are Loss of Grasp by Serge Bouchardon, an immersive meditation on everyday experiences with the internet, and Underbelly by Christine Wilks, a poetic, digital maze that explores issues of art, gender and the history of manual labour in Britain.

The announcement of the prize tonight at Free Word in London also doubles up as a live event to discuss the possibilities and problematics of new media-influenced literature. Is such an increasing influence on the way we read and consume literature always a good thing? Being so dependent upon the latest computer software and devices, does it encourage us to be good consumers rather than readers? (Right now, as I have been trying to read Loss of Grasp, I have been stuck waiting for the book to load. As it keeps reminding me to ‘please be patient’, I am also reminded that my laptop is pretty worn out these days …)

The New Media Writing Prize is run by Bournemouth University and supported by if:book UK. The shortlist for this year’s prize will be announced tonight at the Free Word Centre in London, from 6:30pm. More details available through the if:book UK Facebook page. Winning entries will be published on if:book UK  as well as on The Literary Platform and the Bournemouth University websites. The Awards ceremony will be held at Bournemouth University on 28 November 2012.

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