WATCH ABOVE: Margaret Atwood is releasing her latest material on Twitter one tweet at a time. The short stories are part of the #TwitterFiction Festival running until Friday. Peter Kim reports.
TORONTO — Twitter has long been a platform narrating real life to millions, but now it’s delving into the world of fiction with over 20 featured authors as part of the #TwitterFiction Festival.
Margaret Atwood is the biggest name to contribute her talent to the event. According the event’s website Atwood’s piece will be “composed of words drawn from film preview copy seen on a plane, Margaret Atwood suggests setups, characters, and a danger-filled roller-coaster of a plot.”
The celebrated Canadian author will begin on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. and go until 1:00 p.m.
Twitter’s 140 character limit has spawned a new form of literature called “Twitter lit” says Jason Boyd, Co-Director at Ryerson’s Centre for Digital Humanities.
“I actually think that people are reading more and different kinds of literature because we have literature created using the digital technologies,” said Boyd. “The Twitter lit that I’ve seen uses the collaborative function, so that is literature that is written by a whole bunch of people at once.”
The #TwitterFiction Festival runs until May 15 and curious readers can follow along using the #TwitterFiction hashtag. Readers are also encouraged to submit their own work.
Despite changing consumption habits, interest in books is still strong according to the Toronto Public Library.
“As a five-year trend, total circulation fell slightly; but 2014 had the fifth highest circulation since 2000,” said Michelle Leung, spokesperson for the Toronto Public Library.
“When compared to 2013, total circulation was stable with 32 million transactions.”
Electronic circulation, ebooks and digital magazines, increased by 65.7 per cent. The circulation of physical material, books, videos, fell five per cent.
Despite the shift, some still find comfort in a paperback.
“There’s something about a book; you can dog-ear a page and you can have a coffee stain on that,” said Fiona Jack in defence of hardcopy books.
Her friend Ashley also reads them to support her favourite authors.
“E-books are sometimes cheaper, and maybe this isn’t the way it really is, but I really like Thomas King and I want all my money to go to him, so I’ll pay for the more expensive item.”
The festival is sponsored by Penguin Random House, The Association of American Publishers, and Twitter.
Full list of featured authors:
- Abigail Tarttelin (@Abigailsbrain) – light-hearted subversions of heteronormative gender stereotyping inspired by the We Need Diverse Books campaign and the womynists from 1994 comedy, PCU.
- Anna Todd (@imaginator1dx) – what would happen if a teenage boy found his favorite actress’ iPhone sitting on a desk?
- Beth Cato (@BethCato) – evocative fantasy and science fiction poems and short stories.
- Celeste Ng (@pronounced_ing) – a hidden note bearing only a call number leads to a most unusual love story.
- Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) – a story about technology, privacy, and vulnerability.
- Congressman Steve Israel (@BySteveIsrael) – the “Zen of Dick Cheney” reveals the inner-Cheney through secret NSA recordings of his meditations.
- Dennis Mahoney (@Giganticide) – a tragic love story of a white trapper, a native maiden, and their bloodthirsty fathers.
- Eric Jerome Dickey (@ericjdickey) – a never-before-seen scene from Tempted by Trouble.
- Ian Doescher (@iandoescher) – love poetry from one Star Wars character to another, in iambic pentameter.
- Jackie Collins (@jackiejcollins) – a beautiful, young actress. A horny, old, married producer. An accomplished and elegant wife. Who will be the winner in this triangle?
- Jeanne Thornton (@manwhohatesfun) – community-powered occult mysteries starring trans-women detectives.
- Jonathan Evinson (@JonathanEvison) – join a character from the author’s upcoming novel on a seven-day Alaskan cruise.
- Kathleen Kent (@kathleenkent214) – forgotten messages from the Old West from Wyatt Earp, Annie Oakley, Wild Bill, Ike Clanton, and “No Les, No More” Lester Moore.
- Katie McGarry (@KatieMcGarry) – a chance encounter brings together a 17-year-old politician’s daughter and a tattooed drummer.
- Kristan Higgins (@Kristan_Higgins) – a 30-something woman attends Singles Night at the organic grocery store in hopes at finding The One.
- Lauren Beukes (@laurenbeukes) – crowd sourced literary genre mash-ups created on demand.
- Lemony Snicket (@LemonySnicket) – an amnesia stricken author enlists help from Twitter followers to solve a mystery.
- Liz Egan (@LizEgan) – most commutes are mind-numbingly monotonous. Not this one. 60 minutes, 60 tweets…for a life-changing journey, climb aboard!
- Maggie Stiefvater (@mstiefvater) – a god and a goddess debate whether or not to end the world.
- Margaret Atwood (@MargaretAtwood) – a story composed of words drawn from film preview copy seen on a plane.
- Matthew Dunn (@MatthewHDunn) – a thriller starring a CIA agent on the hunt for a terrorist told from multiple Twitter handles.
- Sophie Jordan (@SoVerySophie) – a young woman’s quest to shake up her dull life on the eve of her thirtieth birthday