Opening Up Digital Fiction Competition Winners

We had a fantastic evening in Bangor as we awarded the winners in the Opening Up Digital Fiction Writing Competition. We were able to livestream the whole thing, and it’s been recorded for posterity, so if you missed it, hop on over to YouTube to see the whole event. Tweet us at @ReadDigFic and use #OpeningUpDF to let us know what you think!

The slides from the presentation can be seen here (including all the shortlists and winners).

The winners are:

Honourable mentions went to:

Congratulations to all the winners, and thank you to everyone who sent in entries! We had 110 entries from 24 countries, with 34 student entries. We were so pleased by the quality of the entries we received, and all the new digital fiction readers we were able to reach.


Hyperlink Study Dissemination Event, Bangor

Last autumn we gathered 19 participants into our CI Lyle Skains’ office (one at a time, of course!) to study how they approach and process hyperlinks in a digital fiction story (Skains’s The Futographer, a bit abridged and anonymized). We wanted to know how they chose which links to follow, what expectations they had for the links’ destinations, and how they responded when those expectations were either met or denied. Isabelle (the project Researcher) sat patiently with them, pausing at various points to ask questions designed to dig into their cognitive processing and readerly navigation tactics, and recorded all responses.

It’s taken some time to transcribe and review that data, and we’re really only just getting started. Last night we invited all of the participants (and interested research students at Bangor University) for an evening of discussion about our initial impressions of the data, how we designed the study, and how hypertexts work for readers and writers alike.

Lyle began with an overview of the purpose of our research, discussed the current scholarly discourse on the use of hyperlinks in digital fiction, and then described our typology of hyperlinks. Isabelle gave more details on the protocol we designed for the study. We had a look at the interview questions and the demographics survey, discussing what information we hoped to get out of the various questions; an interesting discussion ensued about the different methodological approaches available for a study of this nature.

Sample Slide from Discussion

Sample Slide from Discussion

We showed them some selected quotes from the anonymized participant transcriptions, showing early indications of typical responses to the four different types of links we were looking at. Some interesting trends have already emerged from the transcriptions, including reader purpose, identification with character, and expectations based on narrative schemas. Participants also picked up on some of our initial thoughts about the use of particular narrative perspectives (The Futographer uses a second-person point of view), launching a discussion on point-of-view, character identification, likeable vs. unlikeable characters, and reader-identification with moral choices in the narrative.

Overall, we enjoyed a particularly lively discussion of the results, as well as questions about creation of the hypertext and its story. Despite being scheduled for an hour, we bounced ideas and questions around for nearly three times that long. For an evening with such a dry title (“dissemination” is so medical!), the keen interest from the participants turned it into an insightful and stimulating discussion.


Opening Up Digital Fiction Competition Prizes: Date Set for 25 May 2017

Announcing the date and location for the Opening Up Digital Fiction Writing Competition prize-giving. Winners will be announced and prizes awarded. This should be a great chance for writers, researchers, and readers to get together to celebrate the digital fiction that was submitted, so please add it to your calendars!

Thursday 25 May 2017, 7pm
Main Arts Lecture Theatre, Bangor University
College Road, Bangor

Readers, Digital Fiction, and Immersion

We’ve had a great summer, presenting our research on immersion at three international conferences: the Electronic Literature Organization conference in Victoria (Canada), the Mind-Media-Narrative conference in Warsaw (Poland), and the Poetics and Linguistics Association conference in Cagliari (Sardinia).

Using empirical methods to explore the way that readers experience Judi Alston and Andy Campbell’s digital fiction WALLPAPER, we’ve found that immersion isn’t as straight-forward as current theories suggest. Rather than immersion being something that is completely totalising or enveloping, we’ve found that it can actually be intermittent with readers’ attention switching between different aspects of the fiction. We thus see immersion as a multidimensional experience in which the reader is pushed and pulled inside and outside a fictional world. We’re planning to publish two articles on this work. Watch this space for details.

Photos of Alice Bell and Isabelle van der Bom at the PALA conference, July 2016.

Digital Fiction in Aberystwyth

We are pleased to announce two free workshops on Reading and Writing Digital Fiction. They will take place in the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, on 16 and 17 June 2016. Dr. Lyle Skains, lecturer in writing at the School of Creative Studies and Media, University of Bangor, and editor of the Electronic Literature Directory, will lead the workshops.

If you are a writer who is interested in experimenting with new forms of narrative in online spaces, then this workshop is for you. Writers will be introduced to reading digital fiction, narratives that are created and read on digital devices. We will examine and discuss several works of digital fiction; the workshop leader will then guide you through the practical considerations of designing stories for digital platforms.

We will design narratives and create them in dedicated “storygame” platform Twine, a free and easy-to-use software that can create interactive stories regardless of your technological expertise.

Registration is free, but places are limited. Please book your place here: Thursday, 16 June or Friday 17 June.

Our Favourite Places feature

Thanks to Kathryn Hall over at Our Favourite Places for her lovely piece on “The Future of Literature?” programme. We’re delighted to bring a bit of interactivity to Sheffield, and we hope you’ll join us at our events.

The “Introduction to Digital Fiction” is sold out, but there are still a few tickets available for the Guided Tour of the exhibition, the Creative Writing master class with Christine Wilks, and the Pop-Up Book Club.

All events are free, but we do ask that you register in advance due to space restrictions in the venues.

New date for “Introducing Digital Fiction” event

Due to circumstances beyond our control, we have to move the “Introducing Digital Fiction” event in Sheffield Central Library to 21 October. The time remains the same (2.30-4pm). We apologise for any inconvenience caused to those who have previously registered.

In case you haven’t heard about it yet, here’s an introduction to the session:

If you have little or no experience with digital fiction and would like to learn more about this exciting new way of reading, come to our introductory workshop with Dr. Jen Smith. We’ll read a few stories together, and then we’ll have a chat about what makes them different from traditional printed books. This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required due to the number of computers available.

Registration remains open–we look forward to seeing you at the Local Studies Library on the 21st of October!

Kate Pullinger event booking now open

The 2014 Off the Shelf Festival programme has been launched, and bookings are now open for all of our digital fiction events, including Kate Pullinger’s talk: Beyond the Book: Digital Fiction’. 

Kate will be speaking on 12th October from 2-3.30pm in “Showroom 5” at The Showroom (15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX).

Over the past decade, new hybrid forms of literature have begun to emerge as writers and artists experiment with digital technologies. As well as writing novels and short stories in print, Kate Pullinger has long been involved with thinking about what it means for writing to move off the page and onto screens. She’ll discuss her award-winning digital projects Inanimate Alice and Flight Paths as well as her WWI Centenary participatory project, Letter to an Unknown Soldier.

Free tickets are available from The Showroom Box Office and can be reserved in person or by calling 0114 275-7727.