Writing is Turning Digital!

(Digital Writers’ Festival, 2018)

Have you ever wanted to pursue writing, but lacked the resources and direction to start? Or, did you do an intensive Google search just to realise the closest writing groups or literary events are 1000 kilometres away?

Thankfully, those days are over. Say hello to the Digital Writers’ Festival, a festival held completely online and open to everyone. Last week, one of our lovely writers Ellen Dimitriou sat down and had a chat with the people behind this innovative event.

For those who haven’t heard of the Digital Writers’ Festival before, can you please explain what it’s about?

DWF is an online festival dedicated to making conversations around writing craft more accessible, as well as exploring the unique ways that technology and storytelling influence each other. We work with close to 150 artists each year to deliver a program that encompasses commissioned creative work, interactive projects, seminars, live streams and the DWF Podcast.

Part of what I think is so exciting and special about this digital festival is that it can span distance and be collaborative. The festival is accessible anywhere, anytime, by anyone with an internet connection, and 90% of what we offer is free.

How can aspiring writers get involved with DWF?

There are loads of ways to get involved this year!

We release a daily writing prompt so folks can enter the Swinburne Microfiction Challenge – there’s a $1000 prize for an overall winner, as well as a daily favourite chosen for publication by Seizure.

The Seminars are a great way to develop your craft – this year, we’re running seminars covering poetry with Eileen Chong, Magical Realism with Shokoofeh Azar, Crime Writing with Angela Savage and Creative Non-Fiction with Emily Meller.

Earth, Monstrous Body is a collaborative literary piece created in Google Maps, which you can contribute work to speculating about and riffing on our technological and environmental future.

Resonance invites our audience to contribute to the DWF Podcast by leaving us a voicemail. Send us a secret, a memory, a story or more and our producers will edit it into a special episode.

We also run an open call-out in July each year, so folks can apply to be artists in the festival.

What kind of content is featured on DWF?

There’s a number you can call to hear poets read their work, a 360° room where the objects speak to you, a virtual lecture in a virtual space, conversations about the future of labour, creativity, queer narratives and disability-led filmmaking. There’s a digital anthology produced with rad pan-African collective Jalada Africa, a TinyLetter with Frankenstein-themed digital fiction produced with Voiceworks and daily Twine comics produced with Homecooked Comics Festival. You can email a book, you can teach a baby AI to talk, you can contribute in all the ways mentioned above.

What kind of opportunities arise for writers involved with DWF?

At its heart, the festival has always been about reaching a national and global audience, unbound by physical space, and creating a collaborative and dynamic digital space for storytellers to connect with one another.

DWF is for anyone with an internet connection and an interest in storytelling and technology. We’re particularly keen to reach folks who might not otherwise be able to engage with the Emerging Writers’ Festival – for example, who might be living regionally, or interstate from us, or who are housebound for any number of reasons. It’s also a great space for us to reach and engage with international artists and audiences, which we can’t always do!

Do you have any further comments and/or anything you’d like to add?

See you in cyberspace!

The festival has already kicked off and is running until the 3rd of November, so head on over to their website and get those creative juices flowing!

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