New Scientist Discovers Electronic Literature

Members of the Electronic Literature Organization no doubt remember the first time they heard about electronic literature. That exhilarating moment wrapped around a sense of possibility and a desire to get their hands on either the tools of creation or the mind-blowing creations or both. Over the past month, the popular science journal New Scientist has been publishing posts marking its discovery of electronic literature in a series called Storytelling 2.0.

The posts mention ELO and ELO co-founder Robert Coover along with works by Jay Bushman and others. There’s even a mention of ELO-President Nick Montfort, alluding to his work on his IF platform Curveship.

Check out the posts and join the conversation as New Scientist readers discover e-lit.

The posts:

Electronic Literature Videos

Bringing electronic literature artists and critics into your classroom can be as easy as a quick jog through YouTube or Vimeo.

Here is the beginning of a playlist of videos of varying lengths discussing electronic literature. Please send us links to videos you nominate for the list.

Currently we are featuring:

  • E-literature Explains, Mark Marino, a very short introduction to the idea of e-lit (87 secs)
  • Exploring Interactive Fiction, Nick Montfort, introduction to the literary form of IF (6 minutes)
  • N. Katherine Hayles, herself, extended interview on electronic literature (30 minutes)
  • Dr. Fox Harrell at the UBC Centre for Cross Faculty Inquiry, himself, discussion of emergent storytelling forms (9 min.)
  • “The Time of Codework,” Rita Raley, discusses codework and e-lit. (8 minutes)
  • “Regards Croisés: Perspectives on Digital Literature,” Sandy Baldwin, introduces his collection of essays digital literature, co-edited with Philippe Bootz (5 min.)
  • “Noah Wardrip-Fruin,” NWF introduces his perspectives on software objects in Expressive Processing (8 min, but part 1 of 4)
  • “The Gameshelf #8: Modern Interactive Fiction ,” Jason McIntosh, introduction to contemporary IF

These titles represent just an initial list.

We are also compiling lists of videos of readings/performances of works and walk-throughs. If you have any favorite videos of or about electronic literature, please refer them to us via email or Twitter @eliterature or #elit_videos. We also encourage you to make them and tag them e-lit.

This is just the beginning of a growing set of resources we are building to facilitate incorporating electronic literature into your classroom or the many informal educational spaces online. Stay tuned. Blinked, Is Back

We apologize for our site being down as we switched to a new hosting service. We worked to restore the Web publication of the Electronic Literature Collection, volume 1 first so that teachers and students, as well as general readers, would have access to it. The organization will be continuing to develop the site, and will be working to ensure that there is less downtime in the future, as we also pursue our three main projects: The Electronic Literature Collection, The Electronic Literature Directory, and our series of conferences.

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New ELO Officers & 3 New Board Members

With the 4th International Conference, ELO announces its new officers and board members.

Taking over the reins from Joseph Tabbi will be incoming President Nick Montfort and Vice President Dene Grigar. Also, ELO announces 3 new members to the ELO Board of Directors: Fox Harrell, Carolyn Guertin, and Jason Nelson. Sandy Baldwin will take over as Treasurer and Mark Marino will continue as Director of Communication.

The term of the ELO President is three years.

Below you will find bios:

Nick Montfort, President

Nick Montfort writes computational and constrained poetry, develops computer games, and is a critic, theorist, and scholar of computational art and media. He is associate professor of digital media in the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He earned a Ph.D. in computer and information science from the University of Pennsylvania.

Montfort’s digital media writing projects include the group blog Grand Text Auto, the ppg256 series of 256-character poetry generators; Ream, a 500-page poem written on one day; Mystery House Taken Over, a collaborative “occupation” of a classic game; Implementation, a novel on stickers written with Scott Rettberg; and several works of interactive fiction: Book and Volume, Ad Verbum, and Winchester’s Nightmare.

Montfort, with Ian Bogost, wrote Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System (MIT Press, 2009), the first book in the Platform Studies series. He wrote Twisty Little Passages: An Approach to Interactive Fiction (MIT Press, 2003), and, with William Gillespie, 2002: A Palindrome Story (Spineless Books, 2002), which the Oulipo acknowledged as the world’s longest literary palindrome. He also edited The Electronic Literature Collection Volume 1 (with N. Katherine Hayles, Stephanie Strickland, and Scott Rettberg, ELO, 2006) and The New Media Reader (with Noah Wardrip-Fruin, MIT Press, 2003). His current work is on narrative variation in interactive fiction and the role of platforms in creative computing.

Dene Grigar, Vice President:

Dene Grigar is an Associate Professor and Director of the Digital Technology and Culture Program at Washington State University Vancouver who works in the area of electronic literature, emergent technology and cognition, and ephemera. She is the author of “Fallow Field: A Story in Two Parts” and “The Jungfrau Tapes: A Conversation with Diana Slattery about The Glide Project“, both of which have appeared in the Iowa Review Web, and When Ghosts Will Die (with Canadian multimedia artist Steve Gibson), a piece that experiments with motion tracking technology to produce networked narratives. Her most recent project is the “Fort Vancouver Mobile Project,” a locative / mixed media effort that brings together a core team of 20 scholars, digital storytellers, new media producers, historians, and archaeologists to create location-aware nonfiction content for mobile phones to be used at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. She serves as Associate Editor for Leonardo Reviews

New Board Members

Fox Harrell:

Fox Harrell is a researcher, author, and artist exploring the relationship between imaginative cognition and computation. He and his laboratory, the Imagination, Computation, and Expression [ICE] Lab/Studio develop new forms of computational narrative, gaming, and related digital infrastructures and technical-cultural media with a basis in computer science, cognitive science, and digital media arts. He is an Assistant Professor of Digital Media in the department of Literature, Communication, and Culture at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Carolyn Guertin:

Carolyn Guertin has a dual appointment in new media. She is Director of the eCreate Lab and Assistant Professor of Digital Media in the Department of English at the University of Texas at Arlington. She is also a faculty member at Transart Institute in Berlin, Germany and Linz, Austria, an international low residency MFA program in new media at Danube University Krems. She is curator of the celebrated collection Assemblage: The Online Women’s New Media Gallery out of the U.K., and was Senior McLuhan Fellow at the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto, where she was SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow from 2004-06. She has been a Literary Adviser to the Electronic Literature Organization since its inception, is a member of the MLA Committee on Information Technology, and is an editorial board member of Convergence.

She earned her PhD with a study of cyberfeminist digital narrative and the technologies of memory in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta, Canada. She has taught, exhibited and published internationally, and does theoretical work in: cyberfeminism, hacktivism, born-digital arts and literatures, (global) film futures, information aesthetics, postliteracy and the social practices surrounding technology (especially social networking and participatory culture). She is working on a new book on new media art, authorship and the politics of creation in our digital world.

Jason Nelson:

Born from the computerless land of farmers and spring thunderstorms, Jason Nelson somehow stumbled into creating awkward and wondrous digital poems and interactive stories of odd lives. Currently he teaches Net Art and Electronic Literature at Griffith University in the Gold Coast’s contradictory lands. Aside from coaxing his students into breaking, playing and morphing their creativity with all manner of technologies, he exhibits widely in galleries and journals, with work featured around globe in New York, Mexico, Taiwan, Spain, Singapore and Brazil, at FILE, ACM, LEA, ISEA, ACM, ELO and dozens of other acronyms. But in the web based realm where his work resides, Jason is most proud of the millions of visitors his artwork/digital poetry portal attracts each year.

ELO Archive and Innovate underway @ Brown

With the start of Deena Larsen’s workshop, E-Lit 101, the 4th International Conference & Festival of the Electronic Literature Organization is underway at Brown University where both ELO, literary hypertext, and hypertext itself ostensibly began.

The workshop, attended by approximately 150 electronic literary scholars and artists, marks a look back at the foundational work of Robert Coover and the continuation of the ELO PAD project (ARCHIVE) and an the group’s visionary glimpse at the future of electronic literature.

Conference details can be found here.

Twitter stream is tagged: #ELOAI streaming from @eliterature

Among with readings, performances, screenings, and critical panels, the conference will also announce the Electronic Literature Directory 2.0 and the Electronic Literature Collection, volume 2.

The conference features a number of tributes to Robert Coover, including artwork and panels that re-explore the work that continues to fascinate and drive this digital avant-garde.

Electronic literature jobs at the University of Bergen

ELO Co-founder and Board member, Scott Rettberg, sends word of 2 opportunities in Norway! (Note: Summer deadlines for applications.)

Two opportunities are now available at the University of Bergen’s Digital Culture program ( for scholars of electronic literature.



Read more Electronic literature jobs at the University of Bergen

PhD studentship at the Edinburgh College of Art

Announcing an  opportunity for an electronic lit-related Ph.D. in Scotland!
edinburgh college of art

PhD Studentship.
£13,290 per annum maintenance will be provided, and course fees will be paid for three years.

Research proposals are invited from applicants who wish to undertake a practice-based PhD researching networked, distributed and collaborative authorship in electronic arts and literature practices and the subsequent implications for how creative communities form and creative practice emerges. The PhD research project will explore questions through employing theoretical and practical methods within the context of a larger European wide research project.

Developing a Network-Based Creative Community: Electronic Literature as a Model of Creativity and Innovation in Practice is a 1 million Euro, three year research project funded by the Humanities in the European Research Area Joint Research Programme. The project involves an academic consortium, including Edinburgh College of Art, University of Bergen (Norway), Blekinge Institute of Technology (Sweden), University of Amsterdam (Nederlands), University of Ljubljana (Slovenia), University of Jyväskylä (Finland) and University College Falmouth (England). Focusing on a particular creative community, of electronic literature practitioners, the project inquires into how creative communities of practitioners form within transnational and transcultural contexts, within a globalised and distributed communications environment, seeking to gain insight into and understanding of the social effects and manifestations of creativity. Creative communities can be regarded as microcosms of larger communities. Within networked culture creative communities tend to be international and yet reflective of cultural specificity, acting as a lens through which social change can be observed. Such communities exist as local and global phenomena, in ‘creative cities’ and ‘global networks’, and appear to draw value from this conjunction of opposites. Whilst creativity is often perceived as the product of the individual artist, or creative ensemble, it can also be considered an emergent phenomenon of communities, driving change and facilitating individual or ensemble creativity. Creativity can be a performative activity released when engaged through and by a community and can thus be considered an activity of exchange that enables (creates) people and communities. Understanding creativity as emergent from and innate to the interactions of people facilitates a non-instrumentalist analysis.
Read more PhD studentship at the Edinburgh College of Art

Poemas no meio

by Rui Torres. Poemas no meio do caminho, written in Portuguese, is a poetry project that offers the reader different reading possibilities, depending on her navigational decisions. There are two available versions: the horizontal and the vertical. The horizontal version is a 3D panorama including video that the reader can drag; the vertical version uses html to allow the reader to read and play with the texts in a more conventional and simple way. One of the key aspects of Poemas no meio do caminho is that the reader can decide whether she wants to keep her reading path – that is, keep her poems in the middle of her road. Automatically, then, the poem that every reader has created has a stabilized form in a blog where other readers can share and debate the collection of poems.

Experience the piece

Featured in the Electronic Literature Collection Volume 2


by Christine Wilks. From birdsong to video game music to the ringing sounds of tinnitus, sound is at the core of Tailspin as both theme and structural device. A story of intergenerational conflict unfolds through sound as a woman negotiates between her father, who was “nothing more than an aircraft fitter” during WWII, and her children, who are often absorbed by their games and frightened by his anger at the noise that they make. Metaphorically associating imperfect hearing with imperfect communication, Tailspin is an elegant exploration of the different intensities, waves and frequencies of familial affect.

Experience the piece

Featured in the Electronic Literature Collection Volume 2

Entre Ville

by J.R. Carpenter. Entre Ville is J.R. Carpenter’s affectionate and keenly perceptive homage to her former Montréal neighborhood, Mile End, and its many inhabitants. With poetic text framed by videos documenting the texture and sounds of the back alleyways, Entre Ville is a richly layered and sensorial exploration of the entre ville, the interior city. Some of the visuals are superimposed upon maps of her neighborhood, the flattened, putatively objective Cartesian view of space punctured by the subjective eye of the handheld camera, its unsmoothed movements suggesting a perspective from/of the streets. The heart of the piece, though, concerns the relations between (entre) neighbors, what Carpenter names as “an intimacy born of proximity.”

Experience the piece

Featured in the Electronic Literature Collection Volume 2