A Commission to Create a Digital Writing Project

Announcing the Commissioned Projects

Thank you to everyone who submitted as well to those who shared information about Beyond the Book. Our selection panel were impressed by the quality of the submissions that came in for our Beyond the Book commission. We received proposals for forty projects, demonstrating the diverse range of talent and innovation that the South West has to offer. You can read a little more about our independent selection panel’s response to the submissions on our blog.

The Successful Applicants and Commissioned Projects

Image of Lucy Telling

Lucy Telling

Lucy Telling

In 2009, Lucy co-founded Stand + Stare, an interactive design studio, with her brother Barney. Since then, the Bristol and Stroud-based writer has worked on numerous creative projects, including a recreation of two sets from The Muse by Jessie Burton, using touch tech to trigger audio extracts from the novel in 2018. An extensive list of her projects through Stand + Stare can be found on their website. Lucy is also an award-winning playwright and film-maker whose work has been performed across the country, both in theatres and schools.

The Commissioned Project: Lucy’s project, “The Wallet Chapters” and will focus on the use of the Wallet app on both Apple and Android smartphones. She will use the e-tickets contained within the app to create an overarching story inspired by the information supplied in the tickets – dates, times, locations and other details will be pieced together to create a narrative experience.

Image of Melanie Frances

Melanie Frances

Melanie Frances

A writer with many hats, Melanie is a theatre-maker, artist, game designer, and mathematician who is also Co-Artistic Director of digital, interactive performance company Produced Moon. She has authored several app-based works, including The Inventor’s Squad, an audio guide that tells the stories of female scientists, mathematicians, engineers or inventors, such as Ada Lovelace and Hedy Lamarr.

The Commissioned Project: Melanie’s project will take place in a futuristic world as is called “Seer”. Readers will act as the protagonist, a journalist who is investigating a new technology that claims to allow people to see into alternative dimensions. As the reader discovers more about this new and exciting – but suspicious – tech, they’ll have to make decisions along the way that will determine how the story unravels.

Image of Lucy Christopher and Rajiv Edward

Lucy Christopher and Rajiv Edward

Lucy Christopher and Rajiv Edward

Lucy and Rajiv are a creative and real life partnership interested in all the possibilities that digital storytelling presents. Rajiv is a Frontend Web Developer and UX designer who works at the University of Bath, and is looking to push further into app development.

Lucy is an international bestselling Young Adult author, including novels Stolen, Flyaway, and Storm-wake. Her books have won the Branford Boase Award, the Printz Honor, and have been shortlisted for the Costa and Waterstones prizes. Lucy also works as a senior lecturer. Through her work leading the MA Writing for Young People at Bath Spa, she has helped to kickstart the careers of many writers who have gone on to have several books published themselves

The Commissioned Project: Lucy and Rajiv’s project, “The Fog”, will use geolocational and other smartphone sensors to create a fictionalised version of Bath. The narrative begins on the summer solstice when a strange fog descends upon the city, freezing everyone and seemingly stopping time itself. Only the protagonist, Juno, remains awake. The reader must help Juno to free Bath of the fog.

What Is Beyond the Book?

Beyond the Book is a new scheme that aims to develop innovative models for writing and publication, promoting dialogue between writers, technologists and new publishers. We want to help writers work with technologists to go ‘beyond the book’ – developing writing for media such as phones, games, and immersive technology. We want to subvert the mainstream, with a wider range of voices and new ways of writing.

Our first Beyond the Book commission seeks to produce three writing projects for the smartphone. It is run by Paper Nations as part of our Writing for All programme, which aims to make writing more accessible to everyone through innovation and diversity.

Beyond the Book will support three writers with a connection to Somerset, Gloucestershire, or Wiltshire over six months to experiment with the possibilities of telling stories using a smartphone. Writers will also create a series of short articles for The Writing Platform – a collaboration between Bath Spa University and Queensland Institute of Technology, which shares digital knowledge with writers.

The recipients were announced on Friday 18th October and will begin work on their commissioned projects in November. Paper Nations will support writers to create a finished digital work, which will be showcased at a premiere in Bath in spring 2020, and at Bath Spa University’s MIX 2021 – a leading conference on writing and technology.

More updates on the commissioned projects will appear during 2020.

The Selection Panel

Louisa Adjoa Parker
Photo credit: Robert Golden

Louisa Adjoa Parker

Louisa is a writer, poet and consultant based in the south west. Her first poetry collection and pamphlet were published by Cinnamon Press, and her work has been published widely. Louisa’s third collection, How to Wear a Skin, is to be published by Indigo Dreams later this year. She recently produced a podcast and blog exploring the experiences of people of colour in the south west as part of her New Talent Immersion Fellowship with SWCTN. www.louisaadjoaparker.com

“I am delighted to be on the selection panel for the Beyond the Book commission. Writers from rural areas often miss out on opportunities. Paper Nations are working to address this, and their new programme, Writing for All Call for Action, with its themes of diversity and innovation, is very close to my heart. As a marginalised writer, I’m passionate about making literature accessible to all.”

Louisa Adjoa Parker
Steve Hollyman

Steve Hollyman

Dr Steve Hollyman completed his MA and PhD in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University. His doctoral thesis The Self-Begetting Novel: Metafiction in the Twenty-First Century explores the new potentialities opened up to experimental metafictional narratives by interactive transmedia storytelling. His debut novel was published in 2010, and his writing has appeared in The Journal of Literature and Trauma Studies, Brand Literary Magazine, and The Routledge Companion to Critical and Cultural Theory, among others. He currently works as Programme Co-Ordinator and Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University.
Maya Thomas

Maya Thomas

Maja Thomas is The Chief Innovation Officer of Hachette Livre, and the Director of the Hachette Innovation Program, focusing on the intersection of publishing and digital innovation. Maja works internationally across divisions and sectors, facilitating collaboration with start-ups and established global players, to get books into the hands, phones, and ears of readers. The team she leads designs and creates experiments with augmented reality, tap to read interfaces, social messaging platforms, bots, and voice assistants, and pilots projects to use machine learning and big data in publishing. Her passion for storytelling—and the future of storytelling-- animates everything she does.

“As both a book lover and digital enthusiast, I am excited to see how mobile technology and the writer’s imagination can create new and compelling experiences and advance the art of storytelling. Beyond the Book will bring fresh perspectives to this creative frontier.”

Maya Thomas
Andy Wood

Andy Wood

Andy specialises in web development and has written software for a variety of business and cultural sectors, including interactive TV and immersive art. Andy currently works part-time for Kaleider on the South West Creative Technology Network project, an R&D programme for the creative industries that aims to build connections between the various pools of excellence in the region. He has a keen interest in design, storytelling and gameplay.

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