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2013 Prize Winners Announced!

The prizes have been awarded!

The Peoples Prize went to The Engineer, by a country mile. Over 800 votes for this heavyweight documentary.

The Student Prize went to Orange Sweatshirt – clever, emotive poetry.

And the MAIN prize went to Siri and Me – a comic dialogue with an iPhone helper.

Massive thanks to everyone who helped to organise the competition and the event, all the writers who entered their work (over 100 entries from all over the world), the judges, the speakers who showed us their amazing storytelling, and the prize sponsors.

New Media Writing Prize 2012 winner announced

Bournemouth University and if:book UK are delighted to announce that the winner of the 2012 New Media Writing Prize is…

Katharine Norman for Window

Dr James Pope said “It was tough picking a winner from such an accomplished shortlist. And whilst every shortlisted work met our judging criteria, in the end Katharine Norman’s Window stood out for the way interactivity was entirely integral to the piece, for its meditative quality and for its impact on the audience’s perception.”

The winner was announced at an awards ceremony at Bournemouth University.

Window – an interactive sound essay in memory of John Cage – is a beautiful meditation made by a composer with a love of coding and an imagination that naturally expresses itself in digital, multimedia productions. The term ‘poetic’ in this field can be code for impenetrable, but this really is a multimedia poem of depth and substance, inspired by the work and philosophy of John Cage. The viewer/listener/reader looks out of a window, hears ambient sound, reads evocative text, using a slider which makes it possible and pleasurable to move from day to night, to remix the balance of text to sound.

Katharine Norman is at times a teacher, writer, sound artist and composer – in no particular order. She has an especial interest in listening, sound and place, and what’s sometimes called ‘acoustic ecology’, and her creative work traverses several disciplines, with an emphasis on sound and text.

She has a PhD from Princeton and has held academic posts in music and sonic art at Dartington College of Arts, Sheffield University, Goldsmiths and City University London. She has also taught in the Communications and Contemporary Arts Departments of Simon Fraser University, Canada, and has taught creative writing at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. She currently continues her creative practice and research as an independent scholar and artist, and is honorary Research Fellow at De Montfort University’s department of Music, Technology and Innovation.

Her music and sound works are available on several CDs and by download. Her writings include Sounding Art (Eight Literary Excursions through Electronic Music), an unconventional monograph on listening and digital music (Ashgate, 2004), and several commissioned essays on sound. Most of these can be downloaded at her site,

The New Media Writing Prize 2012



The 2012 New Media Writing Prize is now closed for submissions

Shortlist announcement 12/11/2012 at an event in London

Prize Ceremony 28/11/2012 at Bournemouth University.

Bournemouth University and if:book UK are delighted to announce

• that the New Media Writing Prize 2012 is open for submissions (deadline: midday GMT Friday 5 October 2012)

• the 2012 judging panel.

Now in its third year, the New Media Writing Prize is awarded for

• excellent storytelling (fiction or non-fiction)

• creativity

• work written specifically for delivery and reading/viewing via digital media.

Entries can include work in the form of short story, novel, documentary or poetry using words, images, film and/or animation with audience interaction.

In addition to the main prize (open to all), there is a student award and, new for 2012, a People’s Choice prize, which will be chosen by readers via our online voting system

The winner of the main Prize will receive an iPad donated by if:book UK

The student winner can choose between a paid internship with if:book UK and an iPad

Winning entries will be published on, high profile new media web-hub The Literary Platform, the Bournemouth University websites, and will be showcased at the Awards ceremony, to be held at Bournemouth University on 28 November 2012.

The judges

Chair: Dr James Pope

Sarah Butler

Lisa Gee


Louise Rice

Chair: Dr James Pope

Jim is co-founder of the New Media Writing Prize and senior lecturer at the Media School, Bournemouth University. He has a particular interest in how digital media may be changing narrative forms as well as reading and writing practices. the teaching of creative writing in digital media environments, and children’s literature. As well as several recent publications around his research into readers’ reactions to interactive fiction, Jim has also published six novels for children and teenagers.

Sarah Butler

Sarah is a novelist and founder of Urban Words, a consultancy running literature-based projects that engage with the process of regeneration in innovative ways. She’s been writer in residence on the Central Line and was lead writer on LEAP! the International 24 Hour Book produced with Spread the Word. Her first novel Ten Things I’ve Learnt About Love will be published in February 2013 by Picador and rights have already been sold in eleven languages and the USA.

Lisa Gee

Lisa writes on books and new media literature, is an if:book associate, is the author of non-fiction titles Stage Mum and Friends: why men and women are from the same planet and the editor of Bricks Without Mortar: the selected poems of Hartley Coleridge. Her current writing project – HayleyWorld: the story of a nice man, a proposed biography of not-terribly-good, long-dead poet William Hayley – can be viewed/pre-purchased on the Unbound website. @LIS4G33

Sam Missingham

Sam is head of events & marketing for The Bookseller Group. This includes FutureBook, The Bookseller and We Love This Book. She is responsible for audience building, events and awards management, programming and all areas of marketing.

Working to ensure The Bookseller is considered the essential brand for the book trade and to establish FutureBook as THE resource for all things digital publishing. She thinks the world is full of exciting possibilities thanks to the meeting of technology and  the publishing industry.

Louise Rice

Louise has over 30 years’ international publishing experience in educational, trade and reference publishing, and now works as a Producer and on Business Development at Touch Press, renowned for their award-winning apps such as The Elements and The Waste Land. She is currently immersed in the production of War Horse: A Novel by Michael Morpurgo. Prior to that she was Publishing & Merchandise Director at the National Gallery. @louise_rice

if:book UK & the New Media Writing Prize

Together with Dr James Pope at Bournemouth University, if:book UK will be involved in managing the Prize, appointing the judging panel, seeking further sponsorship and promoting the Prize across international media, as well as providing a (paid) internship for the winner of the student prize.

if:book Director Chris Meade, said “This is a fantastic opportunity for if:book to contribute our resources,network and ideas to the only international Prize focused specifically on new media writing creativity. We are delighted to be working with Jim and Bournemouth University to support this terrific initiative.

Dr James Pope said: “There’s tremendous synergy between if:book UK’s aims and those of the Prize. My colleagues and I are looking forward to a productive partnership.”


For more information contact:

Chris Meade
07968 018115

Lisa Gee
07973 435040

Notes for editors

1. Diary

The 2012 New Media Writing Prize is now open for submissions.

The shortlist will be announced on 01/11/2012 at an event in London.

The winners will be announced at the Prize Ceremony on 28/11/2012 at Bournemouth University.

2. History

The New Media Writing Prize was introduced in 2010 by Sue Luminati and Dr James Pope as part of the Poole Literature Festival at a launch event chaired by Chris Meade.

Dr Pope took over the running of it in 2011.

In 2010 it attracted 60 entries to the main prize and 10 in the student category.

In 2011 the numbers were 120 and 20 respectively

3. Previous winners

Main Prize

2010 Christine Wilks for Underbelly

2011 Serge Bouchardon and Vincent Voickaert for Loss of Grasp

Student Prize

2010 Lorenza Samuels for Evidence

2011 Simon Kerr for  5Haitis

4. Previous judges


Dr James Pope

Tim Wright

Andy Campbell

Tracey McGerrigan


Dr James Pope

Sophie Rochester of the Literary Platform

Christine Wilks

Andy Campbell

b: About if:book

if:book uk is a small think and do tank exploring digital possibilities for literature
We are linked with an international fellowship of organisations exploring book futures, including the INSTITUTE FOR THE FUTURE OF THE BOOK in New York,  IF:BOOK AUSTRALIA in Brisbane, and IF:LIRE in Paris.

New Media Writing Prize 2011 winners

The winners announced at the awards ceremony last night (23/11/11) were;

Serge Bouchardon and Vincent Voickaert for ‘Loss of Grasp’

Simon Kerr (student prize) for  ‘5Haitis’

We had an a excellent evening, with fascinating conversation between JR Carpenter, Dan Franklin, Sophie Rochester, and Matt Locke, about the past, present and future of writing and publishing.

We also had great fun trying to get Skype to work when Serge called in while I was about to talk to Simon! Very good.

The competition has been a brilliant experience – to see so much innovative and genuinely beautiful work being produced around the world is a real thrill.

My sincere thanks go out to JR for her inspiring creative work and her participation last night; to Matt for so ably chairing the panel; to Dan for supporting us and being interested in the eclectic work we are promoting; to Sophie for covering us so well on The Literary Platform, and for particpating as a judge and panelist; to Christine Wilks for being such a dedicated and insightful judge (as well as a great writer); and last but not least to Andy Campbell for being a judge, and designing and running all the web spaces that enabled this competition to happen – Andy is a pioneering digital writer too. Thank you all so much!

Thanks of course to all the writers who entered their work. We do feel that new-media has so much to offer to storytelling and that we are still seeing only the early beginnings – there is so much to come.

Roll on 2012! Please keep writing your stories and entering your work to our event.

Jim Pope

NMWP Short List 2011

Main Prize

He Said She Said – Alan Bigelow (USA)

Loss of Grasp Serge Bouchardon and Vincent Volckaert (France)

88 Constellations for Wittgenstein David Clark  (Nova Scotia)

Circle Caitlin Fisher (Ontario)

Welcome to Pine Point - Paul Shoebridge and Michael Simons (Vancouver)

Student Entries

Chasing Pandora – Emily Devereux, Allyson Cikor, Trent Redmond, Mathew Vickery  (Alberta Canada)

5 Haitis – Simon Kerr  (Nottingham)

Maybe Make Some Change – Aaaron A. Reed  (Santa Cruz California)

Unravelled –   Spenser Wain, Zac Urness, Kollin Branicki  (Alberta)

The Discussion Panel

At the Award Ceremony for the Prize at Bournemouth University on November 23rd, we have the following Discussion Panel speakers:

Sophie Rochester is founder of The Literary Platform. She worked for five years at 4th Estate and Jonathan Cape (Random House) before moving to the digital agency GT London in 2000. In 2002, she joined Colman Getty working for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction and the Guardian Hay Festival. Since 2007 she has worked as an independent literary consultant and in 2010 founded The Literary Platform, a website dedicated to exploring new platforms for literature.

J. R. Carpenter is a Canadian artist, performer, poet, novelist, new media writer and PhD researcher based in South Devon. She has been using the Internet as a medium for the creation and dissemination of non-linear narratives since 1993. Her digital work has been presented at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in Toronto, Rhizome ArtBase at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, Arnolfini in Bristol, Inspace in Edinburgh, Palazzo delle arti Napoli in Naples, Machfeld Studio in Vienna, E-Poetry in Barcelona, The Web Biennial 2007 in Istanbul, Cast Gallery in Tasmania, and soundsRite in Australia. She is currently a practice-led PhD Researcher at University College Falmouth, Cornwall, working in the emerging and converging fields of performance writing, locative narrative, and digital literature.

Dan Franklin (@digitaldanhouse) is Digital Editor at The Random House Group UK, where he is involved primarily in its ‘direct-to-digital’ publishing and cross-group initiatives including commissioning the Brain Shots: Summer of Unrest series, collaborating with Failbetter Games on an interactive narrative website for THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern, and projects for a range of authors including Richard Dawkins and Misha Glenny. He previously held the same title at indie publisher Canongate, where he worked on such projects as Nick Cave’s Bunny Munro app, Simon’s Cat for the PSP, and the ground-breaking iPad publication Why The Net Matters, by David Eagleman.

Panel chair: Matt Locke is currently Director of Storythings, a new company set up to explore storytelling across platforms, genres and contexts. He also set up and run The Story in his spare time, as he says, “an entirely selfish event which fortunately lots of other people seemed to enjoy.” Before this, Matt was Acting Head of Crossplatform at Channel 4, responsible for building engaging and innovative online projects around the channel’s key brands, including Big Brother, Skins, Misfits and Embarrassing Bodies. Previous roles have included Commissioning Editor for the award-winning Channel 4 Education, and Head of Innovation for BBC New Media & Technology.

If you would like an invitation to attend the awards event, please contact us via

One of our panel speakers is Dan Franklin, digital editor at Random House. Here’s what he has to say about digital publishing.

To mark BU’s New Media Writing Prize, competition judge Daniel Franklin (Digital Editor at Random House Group UK) gave us an insight into how the publishing industry is embracing new media technologies.

How are new media technologies changing the publishing industry?

The publishing industry is responding to new technologies; but I don’t think new media technologies are ‘changing’ it. It is true that new products – especially the iPad – stimulated development of book-related material for them, sometimes in a kneejerk, slightly panicked manner, and that social tools on the web and in eReader software has caused much discussion about the socialization of reading and whether there is an appetite amongst most readers to share their reading experiences in a more overt and immediate way online. Rather than publishers and other content providers being the cork on the technology stream I do think that the industry is being more selective and editorially-led about what it is creating for a digital environment.

So far the massive growth is in eBooks – cited as 10% of many publishers’ sales this year – where readers want their books in this new format, and everything else is publishers (in many guises from self-published authors to creative agencies to established corporations) prodding and pushing at the boundaries of what might become new paradigms and forms of ‘books’. Having said all that you’d be a fool to deny that devices with all the multimedia and online capabilities that smart phones have are changing all our lives. Publishers do need to provide experiences on them, but we need to foreground experiences over the technology that facilitates them.

How is the industry responding to the changing demands of consumers?

The most obvious and important response is digitizing backlists and making eBooks available alongside print versions. My concern is with commissioning into digital and one of the clear new avenues is e-Shorts; be it short stories or more pamphlet-like, responsive pieces of current affairs writing. There is an appetite for eBooks of up to 10,000 words at a price point of about £1. Or if you look at the Kindle charts there is an appetite for novels at rock bottom prices, but we’re finding that length here isn’t the issue as much as a perceived low-cost, therefore it’s less risky punt on a title.

Research suggests that many people don’t finish books they’re reading; there’s an opportunity here to commission short-form pieces which don’t work as print. Alongside this there are continuing forays into the app space with varying degrees of success. Utility (cookery, travel guides etc) is a ripe area, and big online-friendly brand authors too. Then there is the third way – where publishers are starting to get more involved in online narrative experiments, projects conceived and wholly native to the digital realm. There’s been lots of great work done in this area, but I can see it going more main stream, or at least becoming an interest to mainstream publishers.

How do you go about ensuring you are continually innovating and staying ahead of the trends?

Keeping vigilant about what’s going on in the publishing industry and perhaps most importantly outside of it. The rest of it is staying open to possibilities and being optimistic about trying new things in a not wholly naive way.

Why are you supporting Bournemouth University’s New Media Writing Prize?

It’s in all our interests to see what is being done in new media writing and I really hope to discover some blazing talent that would otherwise be completely off our radar as a mainstream publisher. I’m particularly interested in how the South/South-West is establishing itself as a hub of digital activity when a lot of people (and the government) is focusing on East London and ‘Silicon Roundabout’. I like to think of narrative engineering laboratories on the Cornish coast. It sounds like a beautiful future to me!

New Media Writing Prize 2011 Judges

Dr James Pope has been teaching in Further and Higher Education for over 25 years. His PhD is the only detailed published study of how readers react to new-media fiction, and has paved the way for areas of teaching at Bournemouth University, the development of dedicated writing software, and new-media projects at Dorset schools ( , and last year’s Poole Literary Festival. As well as several recent publications around his research interactive fiction, James has also published 6 novels for children and teenagers, including Spin The Bottle (Penguin) which was listed as one of the best teenage novels of 1998 by the Federation of Children’s Book Groups.

Christine Wilks is a British writer and artist who creates electronic literature and art for the web at and remixes at She also designs and creates e-learning experiences with Her digital fiction, ‘Underbelly’, won the MaMSIE Digital Media Competition 2011 and the New Media Writing Prize 2010. Her work is published in online journals and anthologies, including the ‘Electronic Literature Collection, Volume 2′, ‘Hyperrhiz, Issue 8′ and ‘Third Hand Plays’ at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Blog. She has presented her work at international festivals, conferences and arts events. She has Masters Degrees in Creative Writing and New Media, and in Fine Art.

Sophie Rochester is founder of The Literary Platform. She worked for five years at 4th Estate and Jonathan Cape (Random House) before moving to the digital agency GT London in 2000. In 2002, she joined Colman Getty working for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction and the Guardian Hay Festival. Since 2007 she has worked as an independent literary consultant and in 2010 founded The Literary Platform, a website dedicated to exploring new platforms for literature.

Andy Campbell is a digital writer and artist who has been working at the forefront of digital fiction since 1994. He is the founder of Dreaming Methods, an atmospheric new media writing website which has been pushing the boundaries of creative reading and writing for over 10 years. Previously a judge for the New Media Writing Prize 2010, he currently works as Digital Director for One to One Development Trust – a charity which produces innovative film, print and web design work – and this year became Creative Developer for the pioneering transmedia project Inanimate Alice.

Looking to submit a work of new media writing?
Visit the official site for the Prize here

why we need a new-media writing prize in 2011

We all know what a book is; we all know what a film is;  we all know what a stage play is….. when we think of new-media writing, who can safely say what it is? Despite the publication on floppy disk in 1987 of Michel Joyce’s pioneering hypertext ‘afternoon, a story’, storytelling for new-media continues to be a marginal, experimental form. Video games are huge as we know, proving there’s no shortage of interest in interactive narrative. But games are often criticised for their lack of narrative ambition, and complex, character and emotion-driven ‘literature’ in the new media is hard to find. Conventional publishers are dying to jump aboard the iPad wave, eg ‘Alice for the iPad’. Games developers are working hard to create ‘games’ which contain  novelistic, ’serious’ narratives, eg ‘Heavy Rain’. Nonetheless, examples of really well written, well designed stories created specifically for new media are very rare.

Thus we need an event which gives a platform to writers who wish to tell stories in new media while demonstrating the true potential of new media. We believe we can showcase what new media really offers to the art of writing, narrative, storytelling. Ths competition celebrates the newness of new media. We aren’t interested in old media which has just been transferred onto a PC or tablet. We want work that has been conceived for new media: Joyce’s ‘afternoon’ could never be published as a printed book – it would simply not work. ‘Afternoon’ is multi-stranded, non-linear, tangential: it only exists in hyper-text form. So, we are hoping to see ‘writing’ that includes images, video, sounds, animation, hyper-links, interactivity of all kinds, non-linear structures, branching pathways, choice for the reader. And of course, we are looking for great stories, fiction or non-fiction, that engage and engross.

In 2010 we received entries from all around the world, showing us that new media writing is a fertile ground for creativity. Last year’s winner, Christine Wilks, showed that new media can do things that paper, film, TV, radio, and the stage cannot do: her ‘Underbelly’ beautifully blended words, with voices, animations and video to tell a complex story of women’s struggles with work and femaleness. This piece could not be a book, it is not a film, it could not be shown on TV, or broadcast on radio. It is NEW! So new that we still don’t have word for what this form is – personally, I’ll be sorry if we settle for ‘iBook’ – these works are not books, they simply are new, combining all previous forms.

With the New Media Writing Prize for 2011 we hope to see works that cannot exist in print or anywhere else but in new media, and maybe along the way we’ll come up with a new word for these new writings. We will certainly be helping to develop a form of writing that is exciting, challenging and fascinating.

Good luck to all the entrants in 2011.

Jim Pope

New Media Writing Prize Organiser

the future for ‘books’

As a writer, teacher, and one of the judges for the New Media Writing Prize, I’ve been very interested to read the thoughts of my co-judges, and to see the competition entries.

Here are a few observations about the ’state of the art’ which I think suggest potential for the future of the ‘book’. Of course, soon we’ll need a new word for the kind of writing that exists on computers, iPads, Kindles, mobile phones, etc,  but not in print.

Firstly, as Andy Campbell already said, new media writing at its best and most rewarding should not be able to exist on paper: some new media writing out there could easily be printed, and in some cases might even be better in print. So that isn’t really making best use of the potential of the colour monitors, sound, interactivity, animation, and so on, that new media can offer.

Secondly, books are already very easy to use: we all know how to turn a page and how to read a book (ie from left to right, top to bottom, then turn the page…). But some new media narratives (fiction and non-fiction) produced so far have been difficult to use: navigation from screen to screen, or page to page, if you like, is difficult to work out, or maybe doesn’t take you to a place that makes any kind of sense. So writers need to plan carefully how they build their navigation into their new media ‘books’.

Thirdly, a common problem with new media writing is that the story is hard to find or is not very interesting. No one reads a book, or watches a film for long, if an appealing story with interesting characters doesn’t begin to emerge. Digital ‘books’ should do for us what the best films, books, plays, radio programmes do: that is, they interest us, grab us so we don’t give up and find something else to do.

Finally, new media offers the chance for the ‘reader’ to interact, that is, make things happen on the screen, or decide what to read next, (or watch next, or listen to). But such reader involvement has to have a point. Think of it like this: if you turned the page of your book and it constantly led you to blank pages, or pages of gobbledy-gook, you’d pretty soon find a better book. So, in new media, everything that the ‘reader’ is asked to do (e.g. click on an icon, move forward to a new screen, watch a video clip) should mean something, should be helping to develop the story in some interesting way.

I hope that helps suggest what I believe ‘books’ need to become in the new media world, if they are to take their place amongst all the other established ways we ‘read’. We judges have already seen some fascinating examples of new media writing. Whichever piece ultimately wins the prize, I’m very pleased that the Poole Literary festival has initiated this platform for new-media writing.

Jim Pope – New Media Writing Prize judge – Senior Lecturer Media School, Bournemouth University