The if:book uk new media writing prize is run by Bournemouth University and is approaching its 10th birthday. Find all the past winners at www.newmediawritingprize.co.uk
The Dot Award for Digital Literature was created in 2015 in memory of writer, designer and silver surfer Dorothy Meade.
This year’s if:book prize winner is Amira Hanafi from Egypt for A Dictionary of The Revolution, based in Egypt.
‘A dictionary of the revolution’ is an experiment in multi-vocal storytelling. It’s a digital publication containing 125 texts woven from the voices of hundreds of people who were asked to define the evolving language of the 2011 Egyptian revolution. The website is published in Arabic and English translation at http://qamosalthawra.com.
Material for the dictionary was collected in conversations with around 200 individuals in Egypt from March to August 2014. Participants reacted to vocabulary cards containing 160 words that were frequently used in political conversation, talking about what the words meant to them, who they heard using them, and how their meanings had changed since the revolution.
The text of the dictionary is woven from transcription of this speech. Each entry is accompanied by a diagram that shows its relationship to other words, the result of a machine reading of the complete text. Each user’s experience follows a unique path through a narrative web of concepts, objects, places, and characters. Youssef Faltas wrote the code for the interactive website.
The website also gives access to an archive of sound clips, images, and transcriptions collected for the project.
The winner of the Dot Award is Kayt Lackie and the VESSEL Project, based in Canada.
“The VESSEL Project is an alternate reality game set in a fictionalised version of Elliot Lake. A weekend-long festival where the town of Elliot Lake becomes the setting of a real-world ‘video game’ – where players, as themselves, solve puzzles/gather clues/overcome challenges while experiencing a story created and performed by community participants. Participants would include community groups, individuals, and businesses, all working in tandem to sustain an immersive story experience for players.
This would be the climax and culmination of a year-long community creativity project. Groups made up of citizens, led by professional artists, would come together to develop the fictional version of Elliot Lake which will be superimposed over reality. Creative digital media projects created by community members, supported by artists and an education initiative, would bring this world to life. These artistic endeavours would be used as storytelling material and artefacts in the alternate reality game, but would also become a virtual gallery of media arts celebrating the creativity of the community.”