if:book uk was founded in 2009 by Chris Meade with Bob Stein, founder of the Institute for the Future of the Book in New York. We are a charitable company, a think and do tank exploring digital possibilities for literature.  

We’re also connect with if:book Australia, based in Brisbane and have worked with many writers including Doris Lessing, David Almond, Kate Pullinger, Naomi Alderman, Cory Doctorow and Daljit Nagra.

We’ve been funded by Arts Council England, The Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, The Jerwood Poetry Fund and many others.

For a funding application we once asked some of the colleagues and friends we’ve worked with and talked with if they would be prepared to send us a statement about if:book UK. It seems a waste to hide all these kind words in an application form, so we’ve posted them here.

Jose Furtado & Chris Meade

Jose Afonso Furtado and Chris Meade, Lisbon 2011

“if:book is highly regarded by the international network of those debating the future of the book and the creative potential of new media for readers and writers.

I know quite well the work of if:book London, for its research on the evolution of intellectual discourse as it shifts from printed pages to networked screens, its projects developed in schools and communities  and its concern for creating the tools to make these new forms of reading and writing more and more user-friendly.  The bookfutures.com blog is one I regularly refer my twitter followers to as a source of information and new ideas and in my classes I use the example of if:book’s activity as a study case.

We were delighted to welcome Chris Meade to our recent conference on Portugal’s national reading plan, and having chaired his presentation I can testify how his talk was very well received and stimulated new ideas and new paths in the promotion of reading.

– José Afonso Furtado.

José Furtado is an award winning tweeter about the future of the book, former President of the Portuguese Institute for Books and Libraries, a department of the Ministry for Culture. At the moment, he is Director of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Art Library (http://www.biblarte.gulbenkian.pt/) , teaches in Post-Graduation “Books and Publishing in Digital Era” at the  Universidade Católica de Lisboa and member of the Commission of Honour of the Portuguese National Reading Plan

“The work carried out by if:book in the investigation and definition of pioneering strategies related to books, reading and education in the digital age, as well as the projects they develop in collaboration with different partners, represents an example of innovative ideas and good practices for institutions working in the field of culture and education for young people.

For this reason, the Foundation Germán Sánchez Ruipérez looks on if:book as a potential strategic partner to carry out joint initiatives aimed at promoting reading among children and youth and to design innovative programs addressed to libraries and schools.”


– Javier Fierro
Deputy Director of t he International Centre of Children’s and Young People’s Literature
Fundación Germán Sánchez Ruipérez (Spain)

“Working on the technological future of reading it is easy to be seduced by the power of technology or the cultural heritage of books. Chris Meade and the if:book UK team help us think more subtly about what we construct, through their own analysis, ideas, and through the vibrant network of experts that they have built and maintain.”

– Tim Regan, Microsoft Research

“In my opinion if:book does essential work to expand the boundaries of literature and storytelling using new media technologies.  It has played a central role in stimulating writers, publishers and others to think more creatively about the future of their crafts and businesses at a time of unprecedented change and opportunity.  No one else is doing what if:book are doing, and it should be supported.”

Timo Hannay, Managing Director, Digital Science, Macmillan Publishers Ltd


‘Working with if:book has been both exciting and deeply inspirational. Their work has profoundly affected my thinking about the future of publishing and literary culture.

I’ve always been astonished at if:book’s ability to cut through confusion and offer a vision of a future where literary culture and technology collide to their mutual advantage”

– Bill Thompson, journalist

“if:book is at the forefront of thinking about writing and reading in the digital age.  While publishers are busy trying to figure out how to make money and manage content, if:book is enabling writers and readers to experiment with new forms, new ways to tell stories, as well as leading vital conversations about what the future holds for bookshops and libraries. “

– Kate Pullinger

“If:book makes a vital contribution to the development and awareness of digital writing in the UK. No other agency has the knowledge or the reach to fulfil that very important remit. They are talented, informed and inspiring.”

– Sue Thomas, Professor of New Media, De Montfort University, and former founder and Artistic Director of the trAce Online Writing Centre

“A genuine people’s champion with an unswerving focus on community enrichment through engaging literature”

– Dean Johnson, Brandwidth Executive Creative Director, former CSD Vice President



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