Alastair Horne is a recovering publisher. During a thirteen-year career spent mostly at Cambridge University Press, he explored the opportunities offered by new platforms, devices, business streams, and product types (as Innovations Manager), and developed closer, deeper and more informative relationships with customers (as Social Media and Communities Manager); he also led the team behind the BETT award-winning educational software Race to Learn, a collaboration with the Williams Formula One team. As a freelance journalist and industry commentator, he is the author of the 2011 Media Futures report on the Future of Publishing, and regularly speaks at industry events.
In his research, Alastair is exploring how mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets are changing the relationship between author, text, and reader, both through the affordances they offer for new kinds of storytelling, and through the increasing opportunities they make available for conversation between reader and author. As a collaborative doctoral partnership student working with the British Library, he is also considering how best to archive both creative content for mobile devices, and the conversations that take place around content.
Christine Wilks is a writer, artist and developer who creates electronic literature and playable media for the web and mobile devices. Her digital fiction, Underbelly, won the New Media Writing Prize 2010 and the MaMSIE Digital Media Competition 2011. Her work is published and exhibited internationally, appearing in anthologies of electronic literature, online journals, conferences and festivals.
How can a convincing interactive character, with apparent psychological depth, be modelled in a playable narrative that adapts to reader choice? Christine is exploring this question through the making of Stitched Up, an interactive text-based psychological thriller, founded upon the idea of a character as a Black Box. She is writing, designing and programming Stitched Up as a cross-platform app for mobile devices.See her site crissxross.net
Chris Meade is a writer and founder of if:book uk, the charitable company exploring digital possibilities for literature. He has been CEO of Booktrust and the Poetry Society and a pioneer of reader development work in libraries. The author of plays, poetry, songs, articles, The Thoughts of Betty Spital (Penguin Books) and In Search of Lost Tim, a digital novella produced as part of an M.A. in New Media Writing, Chris is now working on a fiction about the things that nearly happen to us.
To what extent have activities such as reader development projects, public workshops and websites with interactive elements and digital illumination, previously seen as purely promotional and ancillary to literature, become central to the creative act of storytelling in the age of social media and digital publishing?
He is exploring these issues in an evolving piece to include a central narrative, collaborative writing, songs, digital illumination and live events, allowing a story to grow organically using whatever platforms and collaborators seem appropriate as it develops.
The critical component of her project will involve reflection on the development process, exploring why people read biographies, what they gain from their reading, and the processes through which people get to know each other in real life.
Lisa is the author of Friends: Why Men and Women Are From the Same Planet (Bloomsbury), Stage Mum (Hutchinson/Arrow) and the editor of Bricks Without Mortar: the selected poems of Hartley Coleridge (Picador). She’s an occasional book reviewer for the Independent & Independent on Sunday, does bits of PR/Management consultancy and copy-writing, used to run the Orange Prize for Fiction website, made her first radio programme last year for Radio 3’s Between the Ears (Disequilibrium, with Nick Ryan, which was picked as one of the best 9 programmes in the strand’s 20-year history), sometimes works for Chris Meade at if:book UK and edits/films online videos.
HayleyWorld, the book version of the biography, is an Unbound project: http://unbound.co.uk/books/hayleyworld
She’s London-based and talks a lot.
Kayt Lackie (pen name Kayt Burgess) is writer, artist and musician. She was the winner of the 34th annual International Three Day Novel contest, and has won or been shortlisted for several other short story and novella contests in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. Her novel Heidegger Stairwell was published by Arsenal Pulp Press in September 2012. In addition to writing, she is an operatically-trained soprano and multi-instrumentalist, a digital painter, and webmaster for a handful of not-for-profit websites.
At Bath Spa, Kayt is exploring themes of neuroplasticity, technogenesis, genetic memory, and personal lens in her digital narrative. This story uses metafictional elements and embeds multiple art forms (music, film, sequential art, photography) in the novel, both to work in tandem with the prose, and to function as an episodic counternarrative. Critically, she is focused on how the immersed study of music affects musicians at a cognitive level and how this can be used to structure and deepen point of view.
Tania Hershman is a short story writer. Her first collection, The White Road and Other Stories (Salt, 2008) was commended by the judges of the 2009 Orange Award for New Writers. Her second collection, My Mother Was An Upright Piano: Fictions (Tangent, 2012), contains 56 very short fictions. Tania’s award-winning short stories have been widely published in print and online and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 & 4. Tania often uses science as inspiration for her fiction, which has been published in New Scientist and Nature. She is the founding editor of both The Short Review, an online journal spotlighting short story collections, and ShortStops, a hub for all things short story-related in the UK & Ireland.
Tania is bringing together her background in science and her love for short fiction in her PhD project, creating a book-length creative work inspired by particle physics which will be made of “particles”: short stories, flash fictions, poetry and short non-fictions. She will be conducting experiments on 21st century book-length works of “particle fiction” to see whether she can come up with a Standard Model of Particle Fiction, determining if and how these books work as a coherent whole, taking inspiration from the Standard Model of Particle Physics.See her site taniahershman.com
Lucy English is novelist and performance poet. She was appointed as a lecturer in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University in 2001 and was promoted to the position of Reader in 2011. She has been instrumental in introducing performance poetry onto the university curriculum and she created the first specialist module in the subject at a UK university. In 2003 she organised the UK performance poetry conference at BSU. The key speakers were Professor Charles Bernstein, Bob Holman and Dr Tony Lopez. In 2011 she co-created MIX, the conference in transmedia and digital writing at Bath Spa University.
As a performance poet she has toured widely in the UK and North America. She has been featured at literature festivals including Cheltenham, Edinburgh Fringe, Hay Fringe, The Cuirt Galway, the Calgary and Banff Lit Fest and the Austin International Festival of Poetry, Texas. She was interviewed for Australia’s ABC poetry programme Poetica in 2008 and this was repeated by popular demand in 2010 and 2011. She produced a poem live on air for a 2010 edition of Autumnwatch Unsprung. Her first collection of poetry Prayer to Imperfection was published by Burning Eye in 2014. She was one of five poets chosen to write new material for the Apples and Snakes Temptation Tour, which toured the UK in 2005. In 2006 she was appointed artistic director for the follow up tour, Exposed. She edited and choreographed the show and mentored the five poets, Polar Bear, Claire Williamson, Yusra Warsama, David J and Stickman. She has been sponsored by the British Council as part of their Animating Literature programme, which introduced performance poetry as a teaching tool, and she ran workshops for teachers in Sri Lanka and India 2006 and Thailand and Taiwan 2007.
Most recently Lucy’s work has been multi-disciplinary. Why I’m Here (TypicalMunday 2009) was a collaboration with a photographer. This work was described by Professor Tim Liardet as ‘the poems take word and image beyond themselves into an altogether different kind of aesthetic space’. Her work in the 2010 spoken word show Flash contained film and audio enhancements as did her work for the acclaimed Count Me In (2014-5). Count Me In was funded by an Arts Council Strategic funding grant and played to eighteen venues in the UK. With Sarah Tremlett she set up Liberated Words which curates and screens poetry films. The first screening was at the MiX conference in 2011. Further screenings of international poetry films were shown at the Bristol Poetry Festival in 2012 and 2013. Her interest in poetry films was developed when she created a digital poetry film Passing On for the Queensland University of Technology’s digital storytelling workshop in 2012.
Her current PhD project Book of Hours is an attempt to create a contemporary digital re-imagining of a medieval book of hours. She will be creating 48 poetry films in collaboration with international poetry film makers, sound artists and technicians.
Rob Sherman, despite all the disadvantages of being an apparent third person, is a writer, musician, games designer and coder. He uses all of these various, jacked trades to do stories, often in a rather seeping fashion. His guttering career to date has included:
- The Black Crown Project, a web-based choose-your-own-adventure published by Random House which concerned bespoke diseases, deified ex-boyfriends and free-range pork;
- The Spare Set, an interactive fiction about gigantic spiders and mortgage repayments, commissioned by the charity Shelter UK;
- On My Wife’s Back, an ongoing exploration of one of the 19th centuries, originally developed whilst Writer-In-Residence at the British Library.
His PhD at Bath Spa is both practice and research-based, investigating techniques for creating “resonant” characters in computational art such as videogames; characters which use their medium to engage, interest and imaginatively co-opt the audience. This research forms part of the larger, multimedia project
knole, which uses both digital and physical media to tell the story of Anne Latch; a young woman in 18th century England who finds a supernatural creature living in the corner of her kitchen, a curious familiar that she comes to call Long Yocto. The project will consist both of a real-time simulation of Yocto and the written ‘holy manual’ of Anne, kept over one year as she learns and catalogues the creature’s powers and weaknesses, all the while attempting to make sense of this bizarre apparition in a society on the cusp of scientific rationality and superstitious tradition.