Hayles and Coover Prizes Announced at ELO 2015

August 7, 2015 in Awards, ELO

At the close of the international conference in Bergen, Norway, the Electronic Literature Organization is happy to announce the winners of the 2015 ELO Prizes.  The Robert Coover Prize goes to Samantha Gorman and Danny Cannizzaro for their interactive app novella Pry.  The N. Katherine Hayles Award goes to Sandy Baldwin: The Internet Unconscious: On the Subject of Electronic Literature.

Instituted in 2014, these two awards are the top honors the organization awards, and these two winning works stand a top a field of extraordinary contributions from the past year.

Sandy Baldwin’s monograph epitomizes the pinnacle of scholarship in the field. The site for Baldwin’s book, explains,

There is electronic literature that consists of works, and the authors and communities and practices around such works. This is not a book about that electronic literature. It is not a book that charts histories or genres of this emerging field, not a book setting out methods of reading and understanding. The Internet Unconscious is a book on the poetics of net writing, or more precisely on the subject of writing the net. By ‘writing the net’, Sandy Baldwin proposes three ways of analysis: 1) an understanding of the net as a loosely linked collocation of inscriptions, of writing practices and materials ranging from fundamental TCP/IP protocols to CAPTCHA and Facebook; 2) as a discursive field that codifies and organizes these practices and materials into text (and into textual practices of reading, archiving, etc.), and into an aesthetic institution of ‘electronic literature’; and 3) as a project engaged by a subject, a commitment of the writers’ body to the work of the net.

The Internet Unconscious describes the poetics of the net’s “becoming-literary,” by employing concepts that are both technically-specific and poetically-charged, providing a coherent and persuasive theory. The incorporation and projection of sites and technical protocols produces an uncanny displacement of the writer’s body onto diverse part objects, and in turn to an intense and real inhabitation of the net through writing. The fundamental poetic situation of net writing is the phenomenology of “as-if.” Net writing involves construal of the world through the imaginary.

The story app Pry transforms the narrative experience of reading by bringing in stunning visuals and captivating touch-based interaction. The Website for the innovative interactive novella Pry reads,

Six years ago, James – a demolition expert – returned from the Gulf War. Explore James’ mind as his vision fails and his past collides with his present. PRY is a book without borders: a hybrid of cinema, gaming, and text. At any point, pinch James’ eyes open to witness his external world or pry apart the text of his thoughts to dive deeper into his subconscious. Through these and other unique reading interactions, unravel the fabric of memory and discover a story shaped by the lies we tell ourselves: lies revealed when you pull apart the narrative and read between the lines.

Honorable Mention for the Coover Prize went to Daniel Howe and John Cayley’s “The Readers Project / How It Is in Common Tongues.” Also, shortlisted were:  K. Reed Petty’s “Belated,” Caitlin Fisher’s “Everyone at this party is Dead/Cardamom of the Dead,” and  Patrick Jagoda’s “The Portal | The Sandbox.”

Honorable Mention for the Hayles Prize went to Lori Emerson for Reading Writing Interfaces (Minnesota). Also, shortlisted were Jessica Pressman’s Digital Modernism (Oxford), Anastasia Salter and John Murray’s Flash: Building the Interactive Web (MIT), and Brian Kim Stefans’ “Against Desire” (electronic book review).

The Robert Coover Award for a Work of Electronic Literature is an award given for the best work of electronic literature of any length or genre. Bestowed by the Electronic Literature Organization and funded through a generous donation from supporters and members of the ELO, this $1000 annual prize aims to recognize creative excellence. The prize comes with a plaque showing the name of the winner and an acknowledgement of the achievement, and a one-year membership in the Electronic Literature Organization at the Associate Level. The Coover Prize was judged by Jim Andrews, Brian Kim Stefans, and Jason Lewis.

The N. Katherine Hayles Award for Criticism of Electronic Literature is an award given for the best work of criticism, of any length, on the topic of electronic literature. Bestowed by the Electronic Literature Organization and funded through a generous donation from N. Katherine Hayles and others, this $1000 annual prize aims to recognize excellence in the field. The prize comes with a plaque showing the name of the winner and an acknowledgement of the achievement, and a one-year membership in the Electronic Literature Organization at the Associate Level. The Hayles Prize was judged by Manuel Portela, Will Luers, and Maria Mencia.

Literary Advisory Board member Rob Wittig coordinated the judging process on both prizes this year.  Judges for the Coover Award included Jim Andrews, Brian Kim Stefans, and Jason Lewis. Judges for the Hayles Award included Manuel Portela, Will Luers, and Maria Mencia.