Ambient Lit, Michael Bond, Slam Poet Vanessa Tahay & more! Your Weekly Lit News Roundup by Laurel Dowswell

Ambient Literature Project Debuts at the British Library



What’s Ambient Literature? The Ambient Literature project, funded through a grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, is a collaboration between the University of Birmingham, University of West England, Bath Spa University and development partners Calvium, Ltd. The focus is:

“The study of emergent forms of literature that make use of novel technologies and social practices in order to create robust and evocative experiences for readers.” —

It Must Have Been Dark By Then, by composer Duncan Speakman, will run at the British Library from July 4 – July 8.  The mobile app/book takes listeners/readers through the cities they travel through, offering sounds and stories from locations, and “creating a map of where they are right now and of places that may not exist in the future.” For more about this fascinating project, visit their website here.

RIP Michael Bond

The author of the much-loved and very popular children’s books featuring Paddington Bear died on June 27 at 91. With more than 35M books sold worldwide, Bond’s stories touched many around the globe. Here’s HarperCollins’s executive publisher of children’s books, Ann-Janine Murtagh, quoted in The Guardian





“I feel privileged to have been Michael Bond’s publisher…He will be for ever remembered for his creation of the iconic Paddington, with his duffel coat and wellington boots, which touched my own heart as a child and will live on in the hearts of future generations.” — Ann-Janine Murtagh

China’s SAPPRFT Will Start Scoring Online Literature for Socialist Criteria

The media regulator in China, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television, has announced it will begin evaluating and scoring online literature sites on several criteria including points for content that “promotes the core values of socialism.” If outlets do not pass the scoring system, they could face public criticism and/or other punishment such as “‘rectification,’ a broad term that generally means reform in an outlet’s structural organization or the nature of its content.” With the largest online literature industry in the world, the country’s publishing platforms were valued at 10 billion yuan —around $1.47 billion in 2016.

Teen Vogue Highlights Slam Poet Vanessa Tahay

With their new franchise, Fresh Finds, “dedicated to highlighting the badass female-identifying artists, musicians, and filmmakers you need to know,” Allie Fasanella interviews 18-year-old Vanessa Tahay. This young slam poet who immigrated from Guatemala to Los Angeles when she was ten writes and performs about subjects such as immigration, Latin culture, and bullying. When asked what she wants people to take away from her poetry, she responds:

“I hope they understand that they are not alone, and that there are others out there that are just like us. I want to tell my Latinos that we need to fight, we need to not be ashamed of who we are, our culture is what makes us. That we are way stronger than what we think we are and together we can be so much more.” — Vanessa Tahay

But Wait! There’s more:

The Electronic Literature Organization moves to Washington State University Vancouver.

Celebrating the Bradford Literature Festival

Thai literature combines with classic paintings. 

Small Indian publisher Seagull Books is going global.

For our Video of the Week, I’m going back in time a little bit (2.24.17) with this powerful video uploaded by Get Lit and performed by Vanessa Tahay.


laurelsunshineLaurel Dowswell is the Features Editor at Change Seven. Her short story “I Am the Eggman” was nominated for the 2016 Pushcart Prize. She was a copy editor for an independent feminist newspaper in Santa Fe, NM, after being raised and educated in Florida. She lives and writes in Georgia, just outside of Atlanta with her son. She is currently working on a novel filled with oil paintings, family drama, a lot of red wine, and the spectrum of sexuality. Follow her on Twitter @laurels_idea

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