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We are delighted to announce that Writing Magazine have come on board to sponsor the Digital Journalism award for 2020!
“If you’ve always wanted to write (but never known how to start) or if you’ve already got a book under your belt, Writing magazine is just what you need to practice, develop and publish your written work. Filled with author profiles, tips from agents and advice from publishers, Writing magazine is a great way to get you started – or back in the saddle – with writing your very own fiction and poetry. Discover how to beat writer’s block, develop a character, write for children or choose a genre – it’s all there in every issue.”
This is the brilliant prize on offer:
- News announcement of the winning piece, on the Writing Magazine website.
- Feature on Writing Magazine email (this goes out to 18,000 people).
- Social media post.
- Coverage of the winning piece inside the magazine.
- Two free annual digital subscriptions and one free annual print subscription. We can also offer one winner unlimited access to The Writer’s App.
NB As we have only just secured this sponsorship we will extend the entry window for journalistic entries until 12 noon UK time, Friday 11th December 2020.
The 2020 New Media Writing prize is open!
A little later than usual, but we are open for entries.
Please read the following details carefully before sending your entries.
- Enter via the entry form at https://newmediawritingprize.co.uk/enter/ This is the only way to enter.
- This year, there is only ONE category, the if:book UK New Media Writing prize. You can enter fiction, poetry, journalism, games, anything as long as it is interactive and makes use of digital media. We especially encourage student work and we will give special consideration to entries from students at undergraduate or postgraduate level.
- There is one award this year, of £1000, for the winner.
- There will be commendations for any shortlisted work the judges feel is deserving of a special mention.
- Please go to FAQs for more details about what the judges are looking for.
- 6. Make sure you read the competition rules.
Maria Ivanova talks about her 2020 winning work, The Life of Grand Duchess Elizabeth:
At some point, I learned about a wonderful person who devoted herself completely to serving people.
Princess Elizabeth of Hesse and by Rhine was the granddaughter of the British monarch, Queen Victoria. She came to Russia at the end of the 19th century, to marry the Grand Duke Sergey (Tsar Nicolai’s uncle), becoming Grand Duchess Elizabeth Fedorovna. There she organized a large-scale charitable organisation, one of the most progressive at its time.
Studying the charitable activities of the Grand Duchess, I was amazed at its ambition and scale: dozens of visits every day; hundreds of open foundations and committees; hundreds of thousands of people receiving support; millions raised to help the sick, poor and destitute.
I was surprised to discover how little known Elizabeth Fedorovna was in Russia. Our team began to think about how to tell the story of such a great personality, using contemporary technologies. Our goal was to make Elizaveta Fedorovna Romanova closer and more understandable, to show that her activities did not remain in the past, but are significant today. For many people Elizabeth Feodorovna became a ‘beacon’, as she herself used to say: “My main aim is to alleviate the suffering of the human race and to reveal the divine light to them, to become a beacon of light, God willing.”
In light of our experience in animation and design, we chose the format of ‘multimedia storytelling’. This format, standing between cinema and the press, seemed the best way to immerse the viewer in this very many-faceted biography. We didn’t want to retell her life chronologically, as the goal was to show her development as a person, who, despite all the tragic events, devoted herself to helping others.
But it was still a difficult task, as we had no experience, people or means for this. And for me personally, it’s still a mystery how everything came together. Despite everything, there were people who volunteered, not only to collect information, translate into English, fund the online platform, but also throughout the project, help with layout and programming, develop music and write an original soundtrack.
We began studying the life of the princess in the summer of 2018, from the few books available. The most difficult task was to convey her real personality, which is why we chose to narrate with quotes and documentary photographs. It took almost half a year to work on the material, concept and direction, and then another six months for the visual solution, eventually struggling to make it work online. Only by 2020 could we present the English version of this project.
Anna and Maria
We are still surprised at how many different people our project has united around itself. I will list only the main authors who participated in the development during these two years, although there were many more participants!
Concept, Drawing, Animation: Maria Ivanova
Text, Concept: Maria Kotova
Design, Editing, Publishing: Anna Gorovaya
Music: Alexey Logvinov
This again shows how Princess Elizabeth Fedorovna can inspire and motivate to action, and why at she managed to perform so many significant, altruistic acts.
We believe that our project will become the link between the modern audience and the history of Elizabeth Feodorovna, one of the first martyrs of the post-revolutionary Bolshevik regime.
Maria Ivanova, Belarus
The tenth anniversary of the New Media Writing Prize was a resounding success yesterday (Jan 15th) with a diverse display of digital interactive storytelling. Featuring a wonderful hands-on experience of VR narratives from One to One Development Trust, and entries from 6 continents, this year’s event truly showed how rich the world of new media writing is.
The afternoon session with One to One’s Dreaming Methods allowed participants to try out the amazing Digital Fiction Curios VR world. Dreaming Methods is responsible for some of the internet’s earliest media-rich digital fiction. As with much of the work submitted to the New Media Writing Prize over the years, a lot of it was created in Flash, a technology that will be removed from all major web browsers in 2020. Curios archives and re-purposes three of our Flash works originally made as far back as 1999 and makes it uniquely possible to explore them in VR.
Over 100 people passed through the digital doors and were able to explore the beautiful world of the digital curiosity shop.
The digital fiction curiosity shop.
The Future Journalism award was won by Mahmoud El Wakea’s ‘Made in Prison’, an investigation of Jihadi radicalisation in Egypt. A powerful use of text, media and interactivity.
The Unicorn Training Student award was won by Kenneth Sanchez for ‘Escaping the Chaos’. His emotive portrayal of Venezuelan migrants in Peru really brought to life the personal dramas of people trying to better their lives.
The Dot award for 2019 went to Claire Pollard, the editor of Modern Poetry in Translation: the £500 award will allow MPiT to digitise their magazine, offering interactivity and digital enhancements to their print work. We will feature more about this project soon!
Finally, the if:book UK New Media Writing Prize, the main category, was won by Maria Ivanova and her team of writers from Belarus. ‘The Life of Grand Duchess Elizabeth’ is a beautifully designed and moving account of the inspiring life a Russian Duchess. Her’s what Maria and Anna of the team said to us:
Read it for yourself!
The judges have been busy discussing an amazing array of entries from all around the world, in all the categories. Keep your eye on this page and on social media for all the shortlists.
Remember that the 2019 Tenth Anniversary awards evening will be on January 15th 2020 at Bournemouth University. Go to Eventbrite to book a place -it’s free to attend and it will the best awards evening of the year!
Here’s the lineup:
Virtual Reality Storytelling: Hands-on – 3pm – 5pm, FG06, Fusion Building
Experience a range of immersive digital fiction works by One To One Developments Trust‘s creative studio Dreaming Methods which has been producing cutting-edge electronic literature for 20 years. Meet the artists, Andy Campbell and Judi Alston, and step inside Digital Fiction Curios, a magical Virtual Reality curiosity shop/digital archive created in collaboration with Professor Alice Bell (Sheffield Hallam University).
Pre awards drinks – 5pm – 6pm, Fusion Building
NMWP Awards Ceremony – 6pm – 8.30pm, Allsebrook Lecture Theatre
We will showcase the shortlisters, and the judges will be awarding prizes for:
- The if:book New Media Writing Prize: £1000
- The Unicorn Student Award – £750. Donated by Unicorn Training, Bournemouth.
- The Dot Award: £500 to get a new project started. Donated by if:book UK.
- The Future Journalism Award, £750 for the best digital interactive journalism. Awarded by Future PLC
Light buffet and drinks – 8.30pm Fusion Building.
Please register at Eventbrite -link below. It’s free, but registering helps us to get in enough food and drink!
On July 18th NMWP Organiser Jim Pope chaired the wonderful Digital Conversations event, hosted by the Digital Humanities team at the British Library.
It was a lovely evening, with four NMWP stars speaking about their work past, present and future. We were all wowed by Andy Campbell, Christine Wilks, Amira Hanafi, and Kayt Lackie. What we learned is that technology combined with creativity and passion will lead to remarkable innovation:
NMWP partner Andy Campbell has a truly amazing digital CV. He showed us his latest work with Virtual Reality. In Andy’s hands, Virtual Reality is going to be the powerful storytelling platform it has promised to be for a long time, but has not yet manifested in the mainstream. Andy’s work shows the huge potential for the form.
Christine Wilks won our very first New Media Writing Prize in 2010, and she continues to tred a unique path with her game-like and poetic digital stories; currently, she is designing her own game engine (yes, really!) because she is not satisfied with the possibilities of the existing game mechanics.
Amira’s work in very challenging environments is an inspiration, and her NMWP18 winner, A Dictionary of the Revolution, is a fine example of how digital technology can bring new voices to the stories we might not otherwise hear.
if:book UK director and sponsor Chris Meade introduced Kayt Lackie, whose innovative digital town project won the 2018 Dot Award. Kayt’s work in Elliot Lake, Canada, is a lesson in community spirit, determination, and artistic nous – we heard how her virtual town project has been beset with pretty huge disasters (e.g the collapse of the roof of the project headquarters), but how the artist’s drive will get the piece completed.
All in all, the audience was clearly hugely engaged, and the Q and A showed how much our speakers had affected people’s thinking. ‘New’ media do things that ‘old’ media cannot, but the key thread in all the presentations was the artistic vision and skills, to do something new and something important.
We at the NMWP are hugely grateful to Stella Wisdom and the BL for putting this event on. Brilliant.
If you weren’t there, you can find out about the work of these top writer/artists by going to their webpsaces:
New Media Writing Prize on the road
As part of our tenth anniversary celebrations we have been taking the nmwp on the road.
In February, if:book UK boss, Chris Meade, and event organiser, Jim Pope, spoke about the nmwp at the wonderful Confluence event at Google’s Academy, London. The event was hosted by Byte the Bookand brought together digital storytellers of all shapes and sizes. Chris and Jim looked at the ways in which technology might be influencing the kinds of digital stories nmwp entrants are making, and wondered what the future might hold for digital interactive ‘writing’. Whereas the arrival of the digital tablet seemed to open a big door for digital stories back in 2010 when the competition began, the nmwp has not seen a corresponding wave of app-based work – the internet browser is, after nearly 10 years, still the main platform the avant garde, experimental, and individual pieces the competition seems to attract. Chris and Jim also noted that conventional publishers have had a look at digital-born narrative, and turned around! The great bulk of entries the nmwp has received from around the world over the past nine years, are from solo artists, small collectives, or embryonic digital publishing houses. Corporates have not really embraced digital-born storytelling, instead focussing their efforts upon e-books and audio-books.
Speakers at Confluence
The British Library
Last week, Chris and Jim were at the British Library speaking to an audience of BL staff. Organised by Stella Wisdom, digital curator at the BL, the talk covered a brief history of digital literature, from Michael Joyce’s influential afternoon, a story, right through to the latest nmwp winner, Amira Hanafi’s Dictionary of the Revolution. It was noted that at the heart of all the forms of digital writing, the ‘classic’ cornerstones are still needed – great words, great characters, great stories, great plots. Of course, in the digital environment, images, sounds, and interactivity are all key, but the ‘message’ has to be strong, no matter what the vehicle. Finally, Chris and Jim acknowledged how much poetry and games are now part of this fascinating world: we are seeing innovative poetic forms from writers such as Davd Devanny, Christine Wilks and Jason nelson, and ‘narrative-aware’ games from the likes of Serge Bouchardon and Cassie McQuater.
A Dictionary of the Revolutionby Amira Hanafi
Keep an eye out for more nmwp 10th events! (Hint: July 18th at the British Library, Andy Campbell, Christine Wilks, Amira Hanafi, and Kayt Lackie will be speaking about their amazing work)
After the success of the last four MIX conferences, MIX 2019 returns to the beautiful surroundings of Bath Spa University’s Corsham Court Campus in Wiltshire between 1st and 2nd July 2019. This year’s conference will be a more intimate, single strand version, curated for a smaller audience to give time and space to instigate conversations around digital writing with a focus on experiential storytelling, including immersive technologies and new forms of publishing, from transmedia and poetry film to virtual reality to AI in storytelling. Confirmed speakers include publisher, Maja Thomas, Chief Innovation Officer, Hachette Innovation Program; Thomas Zandegiocomo, Artistic Director Zebra Poetry Film Festival, Berlin; Guy Gadney, CEO of To Play For and Charisma.ai, a storytelling platform powered by artificial intelligence, Dr Donna Hancox, transmedia and digital storytelling scholar, and writer and activist Nikesh Shukla.
Bath Spa University is the UK’s foremost provider of creative writing programmes at undergraduate, masters and PhD level and MIX is well-established as an innovative forum for the discussion and exploration of writing and technology. MIX has attracted an international cohort of contributors from the UK, Australia, and Europe as well as North and South America. MIX is situated within the international research centres, the Centre for Cultural and Creative Industries, in collaboration with the Centre for Media Research, Creative Writing Research Centre, and the online magazine of writing and technology, The Writing Platform.
A conference where creative writing and media creation intersect with and/or are dependent upon technology should be as interdisciplinary as possible, and that’s what we are aiming for with MIX 2019. The conference will host a vibrant mix of academic papers, practitioner presentations and keynotes.
Experiential storytelling encompasses works that foreground the experience of the audience or reader. Works that offer authentic and often personalised experiences are becoming increasingly prevalent and this year MIX offers opportunities to think about what that might mean for digitally-mediated narratives. Additional themes for this year’s conference include immersion and publishing; we define these themes broadly and are interested in how new forms of storytelling can respond to and learn from emerging works that explore the potential of immersive technologies. Our Ethics of Storytelling panel will be curated and chaired by writer Nikesh Shukla, and we’d like to encourage a broad range of responses on that theme. We are also interested in new models of publishing across Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality, Ambient Literature, as well as the influence of the grammars of film and theatre on new forms of storytelling.
Within the single-strand programme there will be four themed panels. We would like to encourage the submission of research papers and artist/practitioner presentations on the following topics;
- Emerging forms of digitally-mediated narrative, including projects that use artificial intelligence, machine learning, algorithmic writing practices and locative-aware narratives.
- Poetry film, including the future of poetry film, current developments in social media sharing, current developments in poetry film content and practice.
- Immersive technologies and narrative, including Extended and Mixed Reality, VR, Augmented Reality, and Ambient Literature
- Ethics of Storytelling, including accessibility and appropriation, but also issues around technology and ethics, i.e embodiment in VR, algorithmic bias in cultural works that use AI, etc.
We are interested in work that takes a wide variety of forms, including digital fiction, poetry film, text-based digital art, collaborations between writers and technologists, hybrid and cross-media practice, transmedia practice, as well as our on-going themes of the future of the book, new forms of publishing, convergent media cultures. We’ll also look for papers and presentations on ambient literature, including mobile, locative, pervasive and other site-specific forms.
Papers that deal with pedagogy specific to the panel themes are also welcome.
Alongside scholars and researchers, artists, creative writers and creative technologists are especially encouraged to submit proposals.
We are looking for proposals for 15 minute papers/ presentations or 60 minute panels (composed of three 15 minute papers with time for q&a). Please submit 300 word abstracts for each paper/presentation you are proposing by Monday 4th February 2019.
Please include a 100 word biography (include biographies of all other speakers if you are proposing a panel).
When you submit, please select which one of the following topics your submission addresses;
Emerging forms of digitally-mediated narrative
Immersive technologies and narrative
Ethics of Storytelling
We will let you know whether your submission has been successful by the end of February 2019.
For queries on your conference submission, email firstname.lastname@example.org
A Dictionary of the Revolution wins at the 2018 New Media Writing Prize awards
Egyptian digital writer Amira Hanafi has won the 2018 if:book UK New Media Writing Prize. The international awards event, which celebrates and showcases exciting and inventive digital stories across a range of formats, platforms and media, is in its ninth year and was held at Bournemouth University.
Event organiser, Jim Pope, said: “We’ve had entries from everywhere in the world. It’s really important to mention that we really are global and welcome work from everywhere.”
A Dictionary of the Revolution by Cairo-based Amira, explored people’s words and definitions in the wake of the Arab Spring in Egypt.
Speaking by pre-recorded video, Amira said: “Thank you very much for recognising A Dictionary of the Revolution with the New Media Writing Prize. Thanks to the jury for selecting the work and recognising practitioners of digital literature, e-literature, new media writing and strengthening the field in general.
“The work is a series of 125 texts, over 200 people, talking about the language of the Egyptian revolution. My team and I recorded 200 hours of conversation; the material I worked with for a few years. I intended it to be a printed book, but as I worked to build an audio clip library, I started to realise that print was not the medium for this project because the narrative I put together was a complex and chaotic memory and non-linear narrative.”
Guests, Stella Wisdom and Jerry Jenkins, opened the evening, speaking about how the British Library curates, preserves and exhibits all kinds of digital writing. The range and scale of the material the BL is collecting and displaying is quite remarkable. To see the presentation slides go to slideshare.
Brad Gyori and Mary Hogarth, judges and BU academics, took to the stage to announce the 2018 What’s New In Publishing Award to Lithuanian team Outriders, for TRACES: Traversing the Past, an online interactive documentary piece which examines the routes taken in the 1940s by Lithuanian deportees to Siberia.
Brad Gyori and Mary Hogarth
Team member Karolis Vyšniauskas, speaking by Skype from Vilnius, said: “The biggest challenge in creating this piece was the need for more time – it’s very hard to edit down these interviews and interesting material, including when people don’t say a lot, but are ‘saying’ everything by this. It was a self-funded project, as it usually is with us, but somehow we pulled through.”
“In Lithuania, there is a problem where journalists tend to see new media projects not as a tool for storytelling, but a tool for new technology, and it should be the opposite. A journalists’ work continues – journalism is really, really necessary these days, and it’s good to see bright faces because sometimes you can feel alone in journalism, but you are not alone.”
A packed house at BU’s Allsebrook lecture theatre, hears the TRACES team talk about their winning piece.
Chris Meade, Director of if:book UK, awarded the 2018 if:book sponsored Dot award to The VESSEL project, by Canadian Kate Lackey.
Kate, speaking from Ontario, said: “The VESSEL project is a trans-media narrative and integrated alternate reality game set in the town of Elliot Lake in remote northern Ontario. This is a community arts initiative driven by a group of professional and amateur artists, writers, musicians, crafts people and visual media artists, who are collectively called the VESSEL trans-media storytelling lab. This is not-for-profit and its mandate is to investigate how media representation can progress community renewal.”
Kate Lackie explains her VESSEL project to if:book UK director Chris Meade
2017 Dot award winner, Lou Sarabadzic, also gave a brief talk on her NERDS project which looked at pop culture film names, like Into The Wild, and how these could influence content generators who shared their understanding through images.
Lou Sarabadzic and Chris Meade
Jackie Kennedy, Chief Operating Officer of Unicorn Training, awarded the 2018 Unicorn Training Student Prize to BU student Corrie Smith for Captain Geriatric, an interactive story which asks viewers to explore the fictional town of Dumpleton – home to ageing superhero, Captain Geriatric. The prize, open to anyone who is a student at the time of content creation, offers winners a three-month paid internship at the company’s HQ in Bournemouth.
Unicorn’s Jackie Kennedy with Corrie Smith
Corrie said: “Captain Geriatric is basically something I wanted as a kid, but didn’t have – interactive stories. I’m a kid at heart, so when I was back at school, I created a superhero, and people created all of these young and fit ones. But why can’t we have an old war veteran who’s come back to save the day?”
NMWP 10th anniversary events will be taking place throughout 2019. Keep visiting this website and our Facebook page.