Electronic Literature Workshops Online

This winter I’ll be giving five electronic literature workshops through Blue Metropolis’s Teleliterature Program. This series of on-line writing workshops is aimed at helping to develop students’ literary interests and creativity, to enrich the educational and cultural life of students in remote regions and to promote Quebec literature. Many well-known Québec authors have participated over the past five years. This will be the program’s first foray into the realm of electronic literature. It’s an exciting twist to this already Internet-based program. What better way to introduce students to electronic literature than via the Internet?

Each workshop lasts an hour. The teachers are asked to introduce the author, the pedagogical guide and to try some exercises before the session, so this week I’ve been writing lesson plans. Here kids, try this at home:

Introduction to Electronic Literature: Putting Your Postcard Stories On the Map

This one-hour workshop will introduce students to electronic literature, a genre of web-based writing that combines literary and new media practices. The workshop objectives are two-fold: to engage students in reading new and experimental literature online, and to encourage them to experiment with creating and sharing their own stories online.

Using examples from my own work, I will introduce possibilities for using the web creatively to tell stories, and discuss ways to use the web to reach a broad audience. Many of my web-based works combine short fiction with photography and maps to tell stories about places that are important to me. In one recent project, Entre Ville, I use poetry, photography and Quicktime video to tell stories about my back alleyway. In my most recent work, Les huit quartiers du sommeil, I use Google Maps to tell stories about the eight different Montreal neighbourhoods I’ve lived in.

I will invite the students to participate in the workshop by asking them bring with them to class a very short, 250-words or less, “postcard” story about a place that’s important to them. I will demonstrate how to use Google Maps “My Maps” to literally put their stories on the map. The students may choose to continue to experiment with Google Maps once the workshop is done. For example, they might create one map containing all their stories, and/or they might like to add photos to their maps. I will also provide links to many other works of electronic literature for the students to read/view.

For those of you following along at home, here are a few of the recommended readings:

Electronic Literature Organization
The Electronic Literature Organization was established in 1999 to promote and facilitate the writing, publishing, and reading of electronic literature. The ELO works to assist writers and publishers in bringing their literary works to a wider, global readership and to provide them with the infrastructure necessary to reach one another.

Electronic Literature Collection Volume One
The Electronic Literature Collection Volume One, published on the web and on CD-ROM, is intended to provide for reading, classroom use, sharing, and reference on and off the network. Anyone can request a free CD-ROM from: Electronic Literature Organization / Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) / B0131 McKeldin Library / University of Maryland / College Park, MD 20742.

Electronic Literature: What is it? By N. Katherine Hayles
This essay surveys the development and current state of electronic literature, from the popularity of hypertext fiction in the 1980’s to the present, focusing primarily on hypertext fiction, network fiction, interactive fiction, locative narratives, installation pieces, “codework,” generative art and the Flash poem.

Drunken Boat – Online Journal
Issue 8 contains the Drunken Boat Panliterary Awards & links to other online journals.

Born Magazine
An experimental venue marrying literary arts and interactive media. Original projects brought to life through creative collaboration between writers and artists.
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