ELO 2020 Prize Winners

We are pleased to announce the 2020 ELO Prize winners.

The Robert Coover Award for a Work of Electronic Literature

  • 1st Place: The Library of Nonhuman Books by Karen Ann Donnachie & Andy Simionato
  • Runner Up: Déprise (Loss of Grasp) by Serge Bouchardon and Vincent Volckaert
  • Committee Members: Annie Abrahams, Giovanna di Rosario, Talan Memmott

The Robert Coover Award for a Work of Electronic Literature honors the year’s best work of electronic literature, of any form or genre. It comes with a $1000 stipend.  The Winner of the 2020 Award is The Library of Nonhuman Books by Karen Ann Donnachie & Andy Simionato

According to the judges: “With The Library of Nonhuman Books, Karen Ann Donnachie & Andy Simionato have produced a work that is perhaps best defined as multiple. Rather than a stand alone work of electronic literature, what we have here is a system that touches upon machine reading, the algorithmic manipulation of text, and authorship.  The “work” in this regard is in the production of a complex set of operations capable of producing endless texts. Though, the end result may in fact be a physical book, what is most interesting from an electronic literature perspective is the potential for a literary practice dominated by the machine.”

The Runner up for the 2020 Coover Award is Déprise (Loss of Grasp) by Serge Bouchardon and Vincent Volckaert

According to the judges, “Déprise by Serge Bouchardon and Vincent Volckaert is an intelligent and literary sophisticated interactive narrative that has contributed to spread elit around the world. Published in French in 2010, it has been translated in ten languages. Déprise is one of the many digital works that has experienced the obsolescence of programming software. However, Bouchardon migrated the text (and four translations) written in Flash into JavaScript to save his work.”

The N. Katherine Hayles Award for Criticism of Electronic Literature

  • 1st Place: Critical Code Studies by Mark C. Marino (MIT Press)
  • Honorable Mention: Adventure Games: Playing the Outsider by Aaron Reed, John Murray, and Anastasia Salter (Bloomsbury)
  • Shortlisted Titles:
    • “Creative Making As Creative Writing,” issue 4.1 of the Journal of Creative Writing Studies, edited by Kathi Inman Berens.
    • Playing Nature: Ecology in Video Games by Alenda Y. Chang.
  • Committee Members: Lai-Tze Fan, Jon Saklofske, Caleb Milligan

The N. Katherine Hayles Award for Criticism of Electronic Literature honors the best work of criticism of electronic literature of any length. Endowed through a generous donation from N. Katherine Hayles and others, this annual prize recognizes excellence in the field. The Prize for 1st Place comes with a $1000 award.  The 2020 N.  Katherine Hayles award goes to Critical Code Studies by Mark C. Marino is the recipient of the 2020 N. Katherine Hayles Award.

Critical Code Studies is an important and necessary book, staging an instructive, provocative, and creative interruption into the field of computer science and related creative projects.  Challenging fundamental assumptions and habits of critical practice, it argues for the political and cultural necessity of becoming critically lucid about this invisibilized layer of meaning, materiality, and process that is at the heart of every experience of electronic literature. Understanding code for its linguistic capacity and meaning-making flexibility, as a subtle layer of signs that communicate essential socio-political contexts, this book’s varied case studies are instrumental in unfolding the complexity and richness of CCS’ interventional possibility.

Honourable Mention: Adventure Games: Playing the Outsider by Aaron Reed, John Murray, and Anastasia Salter

Adventure Games is a collaborative work that mixes history, theory, close readings, and larger implications in a comprehensive analysis of the thoroughly e-literary genre of adventure games, braiding electronic literature into broader and more inclusive critical conversations.  Reaching out to audiences beyond academia, this volume identifies and counters marginalization and othering aspects of particular interactive experiences via a radical inclusion, collectively considering design elements, mechanics, and dynamics; choice and episodic structures; innovation in story, puzzle & exploration; walking simulators and the representation of space;  character and conversation focused games and queer modalities of play; and emerging technologies of perception and play.

The Marjorie C. Luesebrink Career Achievement Award

  • Winner: Judy Malloy
  • Committee: Matt Kirschenbaum, Perla Sasson Henry, and Jessica Pressman

The Marjorie C. Luesebrink Career Achievement Award honors a visionary artist and/or scholar who has brought excellence to the field of electronic literature and has inspired others to help create and build the field. Bestowed by the Electronic Literature Organization and funded through a generous donation, it comes with the following: a $1000 award that can go directly to the awardee or to a young scholar who would use the funds in support of developing content for online resources about the awardee’s achievements; 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 Artist or Scholar selected for this award should demonstrate excellence in four or more of the following categories:

  • Creation of opportunities for younger scholars
  • Publication of influential academic studies of electronic literature
  • Practice-based artistic research in the field, with significant presentations and exhibitions of creative work
  • Curatorial activities, particularly including editing and the organization of exhibitions, conferences, workshops, roundtables and research groups
  • Preservationist work, whether individual or institutional
  • Active participation in conferences and exhibitions, both national and international
  • Contribution to ELO as an organization, whether as a member of the Board of Directors or Literary Art Board or as informal advisor

We are delighted to announce this year’s winner of the Marjorie C. Luesebrink Career Achievement Award, pioneer in digital writing  Judy Malloy.

The judges offered the following celebration of Judy Malloy:

For the duration, breadth, and perhaps above all the constancy of her contributions to the field of electronic literature, we select Judy Malloy for the Marjorie C. Luesebrink Career Achievement Award. Since Uncle Roger, Its Name Was Penelope, and other pioneering works of first-generation e-lit, Judy Malloy has presented a striking and original body of creative work, programming, and scholarship in the field of electronic literature. Throughout her career she has written poems, narratives and essays that explore who we are, where we come from, and our relationship with others and technology. Her visionary creative and critical work as well as her teaching have inspired many. She has done all of this without benefit of a permanent academic appointment.

Malloy has been a particularly strong advocate for women in the field, as evidenced by her 2003 MIT Press volume on Women, Art, and Technology, one of the first of its kind. Like her later volume on Social Media Poetics, it is a “sourcebook,” collecting the writings of others for documentation and dissemination. That she has continued preserving her own earliest work, updating it for the Web and new platforms, speaks to her ongoing interest in reaching an audience; as does her long-running Writer’s Notebook on the WELL, a kind of blog avant la lettre. For all of these reasons, Judy Malloy is our unanimous choice.

ELO awards these prizes at its annual conference. The call for next year’s awards will be issued months before via ELO’s website.

A PDF of the press release is available here.