Here are the slides (only) for a talk that I gave to MA creative writing students who are studying a module called ‘Digital London’, in the department of English, Linguistics and Cultural Studies (ELCS) at the University of Westminster.
Speaking at the invitation of the brilliant Rachel Lichtenstein, my talk needed a starting point, so I traced the idea of ‘digital london’ back to Cyberia, which in 1994 was certainly the UK’s (and possibly the world’s) first internet cafe. Shifting forward to the turn of the century I discussed my 2003 novel Foxy-T (Faber and Faber), which is set in the East End of London, in a fictional version of what was by then the globally ubiquitous ‘internet shop’.
Then I looked in detail at three of my large-scale digital literature projects: Ivy4evr a week-long, real-time interactive drama pilot for mobile phones that I wrote for Blast Theory and Channel 4 in 2010; Missorts, a permanent GPS-triggered soundwork and public work of fiction for the city of Bristol, and; Shackleton’s Man Goes South (Science Museum), discussing the innovative publishing model that was developed for my most recent novel, the first that the Science Museum had ever published.
I’m sorry that there are no notes — I delivered the talk with just a few headings on index cards to prompt, and answering questions and clarifications as they arose — but in talking about these three digital projects, among the aspects that I discussed in depth were audience/user research and testing, access to data (before and after), that the digital (work) is not bounded by the device, and the need to collaborate and to find new ways to go where readers are, at a time when the physical square-footage of the traditional booktrade is diminishing. I also discussed language, and interaction design, including some impacts of these ways of working on my more traditionally published prose fiction.