Announcing the Twitter Fiction Festival! Online from Nov. 28-Dec. 2, 2012 #twitterfiction

Today at an event at the New York Public Library, Twitter’s Andrew Fitzgerald announced the first ever Twitter Fiction Festival, which will take place from November 28 to December 2, 2012.

 

Anyone can apply, published, not-published, self-published. An estimated 12-20 authors will take part, judged by the strength of the creativity of their submission. The festival, which will have a schedule of events, will take place entirely online. (With a few fun events IRL, including one at NYPL on December 2!)

Fitzgerald, who himself is a fiction writer, argues that Twitter is a platform ripe for experimentation and that we are only in the early stages of learning what we can do with the 140 character tweet. Great examples of authors experimenting with Twitter include Jennifer Egan and Teju Cole.

Why is Twitter doing this? As Fitzgerald explained, Twitter believes that it “is a platform that could be exceptionally powerful for storytellers,” Fitzgerald said. “Fiction is part of that.”


“Fiction is an area where we have seen a couple of experiments, but we’d really like to inspire more,” he said. “To think of Twitter as a place to tell stories as performance, to write as performance. We want to encourage more of that. We think it makes Twitter as a platform a more exciting place.”

And we are excited to say that @plympton, which believes in the potential of digital storytelling, will be part of the Twitter Fiction Festival! We don’t know what we will do yet, but if you want to collaborate, sign up here to join our discussion group at twitterfiction[at]plympton.com (this is a mailchimp form, but we move you over to our plympton list)


What are some of the past efforts of narrative on Twitter? A great example was Pulitzer Prize-winner Jennifer Egan’s short story Black Box, which was published both on Twitter and in the magazine this past May. As Deborah Treisman, fiction editor of The New Yorker, explained at the #twitterfiction event: Egan spent over a year on it, with an intent to be published on Twitter, even though she was not herself a Twitter user. The  8,500 word story was parceled out between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.  for 10 days. It was an example of “tune in” fiction, Fitzgerald said.

Another great example of narrative fiction on Twitter is Arjun Baju, winner of the Shorty Award, who tells terse narratives in exactly 140 characters.

Last, The Guardian recently asked novelists to write a complete story in 140 characters (inspired by Ernest Hemingway, as was “Six Word Memoirs“?). Some of our favorites:

James Meek: He said he was leaving her. “But I love you,” she said. “I know,” he said. “Thanks. It’s what gave me the strength to love somebody else.”

 

Helen Fielding: OK. Should not have logged on to your email but suggest if going on marriedaffair.com don’t use our children’s names as password.

For more information, email fictionfestival[at]twitter[dot]com or apply below (this is the Google doc Andrew created, embedded, and yes there really is a Google form book theme!)