£15,000 awarded to bring smartphone creative writing projects to life

Creative writing incubator Paper Nations, which is led by Bath Spa University’s TRACE Centre (The Research Centre for Transcultural Creativity and Education), has announced the recipients of its 'Beyond the Book' commission, awarding three funds of up to £5,000 to the winners, enabling them to produce creative writing-based projects for smartphones.

The first team is multi-prizewinning author Lucy Christopher and technologist Rajiv Edward, whose project "The Fog' will create a fictionalised city of Bath, frozen in time-stopping fog. Utilising geolocation and other smartphone sensors, young adult readers will help the protagonist bring Bath –and the story– back to life. Lucy’s novels have been shortlisted for the Costa and Waterstones prizes and won the Printz Honor.

The next recipient is Melanie Frances, whose project will take place in a futuristic world. Readers will act as the protagonist, a journalist who is investigating a new technology that claims to allow people to see into alternative dimensions. Melanie is also a theatre maker and a games designer. She is Co-Artistic Director of digital, interactive performance company Produced Moon and has authored several app-based works, including audio adventures that tell the stories of female inventors.

Finally, Lucy Telling will use e-tickets stored on smartphones to develop an interactive experience which tells the story behind every ticket, creating an overarching narrative anchored in a sense of place. Lucy is a playwright and director of Stand + Stare, an interactive design studio based in Stroud and Bristol. Her extensive project-based works include a recreation of two sets from The Muse by Jessie Burton, using touch technology to trigger audio extracts from the book.

The winners were selected by a prestigious panel, including Hachette Publishing’s Chief Innovation Officer and Innovation Program Director, Maja Thomas, and the Forward Prize’s highly commended writer, Louisa Adjoa Parker.

Louisa said: “The shortlisted applications were all of high quality, with some fantastic, well-thought out ideas. It shows what a pool of talent there is in the region!”

The commissioned winners will showcase their work to international audiences and also write features for The Writing Platform, which shares digital knowledge with writers. The commission was launched as part of Paper Nations’ Writing for All programme, which aims to increase innovation and diversity by working with writers and organisations at all levels to put in place the infrastructure that will create real change and make writing more accessible to everyone.

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