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The Writing Platform launches bursary fund for writers

Speaking at TOC New York on the 12th February 2012, author and Professor of Creative Writing and Digital Media at Bath Spa University, Kate Pullinger used her Keynote speech to announce the new Writing Platform Bursary for partnering writers and technologists. Kate also launched the first phase of the The Writing Platform website.

The Writing Platform Bursary is supported by the NALD Futures Fund. It is designed to support inter-disciplinary learning and collaboration between writers and technologists. The Writing Platform has recently surveyed 500+ writers and 67% stated that they are interested in collaborative working. The fund will support two one-off bursaries of £3000.

The Writing Platform Bursary is intended to encourage experimentation and innovation in digital publishing and the judges will be looking for projects that explore an issue that is relevant to the wider writing community and ideas that make creative use of existing, readily available, digital tools and platforms to achieve their aims. Kate Pullinger comments: “The new technologies bring with them new possibilities for writers who are interested in thinking about how telling a story through text on a screen can be different from telling a story on a page. The Writing Platform Bursary will enable writers and technologists to work together to experiment with text, screens, platforms, and stories. Get your ideas boiling, and apply!”

Chris Gribble for NALD Futures Fund comments: “NALD Futures is delighted to be able to support the Literary Platform's action research project, The Writing Platform Bursary. At a time of rapid and fundamental change in the creative and economic conditions in which writers work, this project will equip writers with the skills, tools and experience that will enable them to take control of their careers.”

Each bursary will be allocated to a project team, consisting of one writer and one technologist, who will work on a jointly conceived digital literature project for a period of three months (from 1st April – 30th June 2013). Applications to the Writing Platform Bursary will be judged by Kate Pullinger, Professor of Creative Writing and Digital Media at Bath Spa University; Joanna Ellis, Associate Director of The Literary Platform and Leila Johnston, creative technologist and Managing Editor of The Literary Platform. The deadline for applications is midday on Tuesday 12th March 2013. There is more information about the Writing Platform Bursary here.

The Writing Platform project is dedicated to putting the writer at the heart of debates and discussions about digital publishing and to equip them with the skills and knowledge they need to use the opportunities offered to their advantage. It is for all writers – emerging, established, not yet published, traditionally published and self-published and is designed to break down the barriers between different groups of writers and provide practical advice for all, from the complete novice to the technically engaged wishing to understand the complex debates around the digital transformation of the publishing industry.

The Writing Platform website aims to provide neutral information and informed opinion on digital developments in writing, reading and publishing to help inform writers’ practice and career choices. Launch content includes an article written exclusively for The Writing Platform by Margaret Atwood on online presence, the results of the survey and details of the Bursary application process. The site will be edited by Kate Pullinger and is conceived and project managed by The Literary Platform. Kate brings her considerable experience in writing for digital platforms, navigating the opportunities and pitfalls of digital publishing and her experience of being traditionally published to the editorial role.

Prior to launch, The Writing Platform conducted a survey of 500+ writers to establish a baseline of the motivations, ambitions and knowledge of writers to help shape the activity that The Writing Platform will deliver to the writing community. The survey reflects the need for an initiative that puts the writer at the heart of debates about digital publishing and reveals that:

• The major aspiration for writers is for their work to be read
• Writers are not finding out about new digital opportunities from their agents or publishers
• Writers do not feel well represented in debates around digital writing and publishing
• Writers want to learn about digital developments 

A series of writer focused events will run alongside the website and the Bursary, the first of which took place in London in November 2012, with additional events taking place across the UK in 2013.