About the 2016 residents
Kathryn is the author of Poems from Here and The Bangalore Set. Her publishing credits include Muse India and The Four Quarters Magazine (India); Six Seasons Review (Bangladesh); Himal Southasian (Nepal); PopMatters, Prelude and Weber–The Contemporary West (USA); The Letters Page (UK); Blackmail Press (New Zealand); the anthology How Does One Dress to Buy Dragonfruit? (Hong Kong); Gulf Times (Qatar), and Meanjin, Cordite Poetry Review, Verity La, Tincture Journal, Social Alternatives and Transnational Literature (Australia). Interested in innovative forms, Kathryn has presented new media writing at East West University, Peopletree and Carmel College, as well as at Curtin University and the University of South Australia. Kathryn’s work with Paper Monster Press in the Philippines led to her nomination for the 2013 Pushcart Prize; her poem ‘any form whatsoever’ was translated to feature in the Finnish journal Tuli & Savu. Within Australia, Kathryn has been a resident with Australian Poetry’s Cafe Poet Program and with Vitalstatistix’s Forever Now; she has most recently completed residencies at 1ShanthiRoad and the Kena Artists’ Initiative in India. Winner of the Dorothy Porter Award for poetry at the 2013 Melbourne Lord Mayor’s Creative Writing Awards, Kathryn was longlisted for the University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize in 2014. In 2016, Kathryn was one of six poets commissioned to work on the Poetry Object project with the Red Room Company in Sydney.
About the project
My project as a DWIR will concentrate on portraying specific spaces through digital text and imagery. This exploration will take the form of various activities: the first is a six week-long collaborative project called Friends with Drinks, in which I will gather and curate various text, sound and image fragments from participants to explore the various ways in which people engage with the ritual of drinking—whether it be morning coffee in Rome, midday chai in Lucknow, an afternoon beer in Prague, a martini in New York or a glass of hot water before bedtime in Doha. After an early call-out for submissions, disseminated by a dedicated Facebook page, Instagram account and blog, as well as the DWIR Twitter and WordPress accounts, I will invite participants from around the world to contribute a text, image or sound file that encapsulates their drinking rituals, links to the space they inhabit and represent a particular element of their home and culture. Each submission will be edited and added by me to the Friends with Drinks blog in order to creative a digital documentary/cartography of various sites around the world. To ensure the Friends with Drinks project attracts participants, I plan to send it the project outlines to my existing creative networks, nationally and internationally. In this way, the call for submissions and permission for use agreements can be passed on rapidly through social media—in the past, I have successfully employed the same call-out method for the collaborative project I undertook as a Forever Now resident with Vitalstatistix. I will also blog bi-weekly on the development of the project, sharing my research on how to present the digital submissions I receive and asking for advice and suggestions from followers. During the last week of the residency, I plan to finalise and digitally ‘launch’ the Friends with Drinks project, making the blog live for contributors and audience to explore and comment on. It is my intention that the Friends with Drinks project will gather together a digital community that will continue as a feature of the digital landscape—like so many other creative blogs, including Sad Stuff on the Street; Peter Wildman, and the Hooked Blog.
Carla was born in Adelaide, Australia, and only ‘escaped’ for three years to work as a magazine journalist and stylist in Sydney. Previously, she was a gossip columnist and fashion editor at Adelaide’s daily newspaper, The Advertiser. She has since freelanced for titles including Woman’s Day and Shop Til You Drop. These days, she plays mum to twin lads Alessio and Sebastian. Published with Penguin and HarperCollins, her books include Catch of the Day, Cityglitter, Second Chance, and the ‘Astonvale‘ rom-com mystery series, kicking off with A Pretty Mess. Visit www.carlacaruso.com.au or www.theunitalianwife.com.
About the project
My project is called ‘Mermadelaide’ and would be told across various social media platforms – Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, using #mermadelaide as its tag. The story would follow a mermaid, enjoying a quiet, discreet life off of Goolwa – called Luna – who winds up in the city of Adelaide after being discovered by a baddie, Ty. Down south for a bachelor party, he loathes the very idea of mermaids, convinced his fisherman dad was drowned by one when Ty was a boy. Ty dumps Luna in the back of his 4WD and plans to have her secretly turned into canned ‘tuna’ at the city fishery he works at. But luckily his fraternal twin, Wade, gets to Luna first, helping her escape when he discovers her there. What Wade – a Channing Tatum lookalike! – doesn’t know is that he’s left his ‘imprint’ on Luna and she can’t escape the city until he kisses her to ‘release’ her. As well as Luna trying to find Wade again – and avoid Ty – she’s also on the lookout for a rebellious mermaid cousin who fled for the city years earlier and now hangs out in a ‘flipside’ of Adelaide, only frequented by magic folk like pixies and witches. Luna wants to warn her cousin about guys like Ty and make sure she’s okay. Luna’s just got to find the mysterious entry to this world first… I would use various means to tell the story, so that it’s like a comic book-style adventure but produced digitally and using different medium over the six weeks, such as artwork by my illustrator sister, photography and video by my husband, and makeup artistry. As well as text by me! I would also encourage ‘readers’ to interact with the story by coming up with travel tips for Luna along her journey, like heading to the Ghost Ships Bar for a mermaid cocktail, or advising her on where to get the best sushi in town. And to also offer ‘sightings’ of where they’ve ‘seen’ her (or hints of where she’s been) around Adelaide with their own pics, plus advising Luna what her next plan of attack should be, helping to shape the story.
James is a collector, wanderer and wonderer. He has been interested in writing since childhood, the days in which he’d write about dragons fighting the cartoon characters that he would watch on television every Saturday morning. James is a massive advocate for digital publishing and for the freedom to experiment that comes to contemporary writers. He has spent most of his work-life online, writing reviews and news for Glam Adelaide, working in communications, sharing stories with local zine makers and writing enthusiasts at the University of Adelaide as well as publishing an ongoing thought and travel blog.
About the project
Modern technologies, things like Google Maps, smart phones, advanced surveillance and big data tracking, have created a new, electric sub-world that we are all living in without even realising it. We are all living double (or triple, quadruple… septuple) lives in which we are navigating both physical, “real-life” experiences while also directing “avatars” of ourselves online. Combining this theory with the idea that to each person you are a somewhat different person we can begin to see that our lives are not simple, one-track stories, but complex webs. A single person can be stretched across the universe, leaving living echoes of themselves everywhere they go. Our social media profiles can become people in their own rights, and even take over the real human if we let them. What this strain does to the modern human is one of the main concerns of the proposed story, Operation Electric Forever.
James’ Digital Writer’s Residency project will be an experiment in exploring the world, both physical and mental, through digital forms. It will draw upon his own experiences and, hopefully, the experiences of others to create a fictional, dramatic and magic-realist “travel blog”.
About the 2015 residents
Find out more about Rebecca Douglas here.
The Digital Writer in Residence project continues in 2015 with the first resident being Samuel Jozeps. You can find out more about Sam and his project here.
About the 2014 residents
Marianna Shek (NT)
Marianna is a writer and producer who has completed a Doctorate of Visual Arts in transmedia writing. She is also a lecturer in the animation and games department at the Griffith Film School. Storytelling is her passion and her approach is to use the most evocative media to tell the narrative. Her short films Love and Other Commodities (2012) and The Backpack (2011) has screened at international film festivals. Her short stories have been published in The Creative Manoeuvres, Underneath The Juniper Tree and Antipodean Sci-Fi. An excited writing project she collaborated on was published early 2015 by Tiny Owl Workshop titled The Lane of Unusual Traders.
Marianna Shek created an online story called Limerance, a romantic drama that unfolded through blogs, websites and social media. One of the themes underlying the story was the idea of voyeurism – the private versus public space afforded by the internet. This project was shortlisted for the New Media Writing Prize in UK.
Marianna also released regular updates to discuss the development of the project as well as short interviews with various practitioners working in interactive narrative to look more closely at the digital writer’s toolkit.
Jennifer Mills (SA)
Jennifer is the author of the novels Gone (UQP, 2011) and The Diamond Anchor (UQP, 2009) and a collection of short stories, The Rest is Weight (UQP, 2012). The Rest is Weight was shortlisted for the 2013 Queensland Literary Awards Steele Rudd Award for an Australian Short Story Collection and longlisted for the 2013 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award.
Mills was awarded the 2014 Barbara Hanrahan Fellowship by the Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature. In 2012 Mills was named a Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelist. Previous awards include the 2008 Marian Eldridge Award for Young Emerging Women Writers, the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, and the Northern Territory Literary Awards.
Mills’ fiction, non-fiction and poetry have been widely published, appearing in Meanjin, Hecate, Overland, Heat, Island, the Lifted Brow, the Griffith Review, Best Australian Stories, and New Australian Stories, and broadcast, recorded and performed from Adelaide to Berlin. Mills was Asialink writer in residence in Beijing in 2010. She is a regular reviewer for Overland literary journal and has contributed criticism to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Wheeler Centre, and the Sydney Review of Books. She is currently the fiction editor at Overland. Mills lives in a very small town in South Australia, and is working on another novel.
During her June residency, Jennifer Mills hosted a live Q&A for regional writers on writing craft, working online and how to sustain your writing practice in regional locations and engaged our online writing community through weekly writing challenges, and trialled creative writing experiments through social media. She also created an interactive story using quiz software Animal, Mountain, Reader, Writer.
At the end of the residency she hosted a final live reading and evaluation session online. You can view Experiments in Digital Fiction online here if you missed it.
Ben Walter (TAS)
Ben is a Tasmanian writer whose fiction and poetry have appeared in Island, Griffith Review, Overland, The Lifted Brow, The Review of Australian Fiction, The Canary Press and a wide range of other publications.
Walter is the author of Below Tree Level, a book and literary installation funded by the Australia Council, and has twice won Express Media’s Award for Best Project/Work for young people in Tasmania, for the craft/fiction anthology I Sleep in Haysheds and Corners, and the underground literary collective, Under the Fat Man.
Walter’s debut poetry manuscript, Lurching, was shortlisted in the Tasmanian Literary Prizes for 2013. He has recently completed his first novel. Ben focussed on collaboration between Tasmanian and mainland writers, started a new Facebook group, held a live Google hangout event and talked to writers online about what their needs were and would help them collaborate. He also live tweeted/Skyped a fictional event #downwithrain.
Jack Heath (ACT)
Jack’s science fiction and action-adventure novels are published internationally. He has been shortlisted for the Nottinghamshire Brilliant Book Award, two Aurealis Awards, the National Year of Reading “Our Story” Collection, a Young Australians Best Book Award, a Kids Own Australian Literature Award and the Young Australian of the Year Award.
He already has a substantial online presence, with more than 1,600 likes on Facebook, 1,700 Twitter followers and more than 5,600 reads on Wattpad. His videos have been viewed more than 90,000 times on Youtube, and he co-hosts a writing techniques podcast called Unwritten Rules.
Jack focussed on teaching writing craft. Each day he uploaded a new video on a writing technique and challenged the viewer to try it. Links were posted to Twitter, Facebook, Wattpad, Tumblr and Reddit, as well as the DWIR blog. Writers could comment and feedback on the 41 videos.
Stella Young dec. (VIC)
Stella was a writer, comedian, activist and former Editor of ABC’s Ramp Up website. Born in Stawell in Western Victoria, Stella cut her activist teeth at the age of 14 by conducting an access audit of shops on the local main street. It didn’t take long – it was a pretty short street.
After that she was extremely active in the disability community in a variety of roles, including membership of the Victorian Disability Advisory Council, Ministerial Advisory Council for the Department of Victorian communities and Women With Disabilities Victoria. Stella was a two-time state finalist in the Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s Raw Comedy competition; and has hosted eight seasons of Australia’s first disability culture program No Limits, aired on Channel 31 and community stations across the country.
With a strong interest in issues facing women and young people with disabilities, Stella has worked with the Youth Disability Advocacy Service to establish the LiveAccess project, advocating for better access to live music venues. She held a degree in Journalism from Deakin University and a Diploma of Secondary Education from the University of Melbourne. Prior to joining the ABC, Stella worked in Public Programs at Melbourne Museum, where she taught kids about bugs, dinosaurs and other weird and wonderful things. Her writing regularly appeared in Frankie Magazine, Daily Life and The Drum, and her face on ABC TV’s Q&A. Stella tweeted daily writing tips and prompts, hosted two live Twitter Q&As, published a summary of these on Storify, and blogged.
It was with deep sadness that the world lost Stella late 2014. After Stella passed away in December, we commissioned Carly Findlay to write a tribute on our behalf.
Connor Tomas O’Brien (NSW)
Connor is the director of the Digital Writers’ Festival, designer of Voiceworks magazine, and co-founder of ebookstore platform Tomely. He is working on a novel examining the nature of memory in our hyperconnected, hypermediated “like economy”. Connor worked on a project called The Story of You, working with 50 writers telling each others life stories via social media. This involved writing craft and storytelling development, as well as producing new creative content.
The 2014 project was assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.