We The Humanities: Interview with Simon Groth, if:book

This week you can find me over at @wethehumanities, a rotating Twitter account where people working in the humanities get to share ideas, experiences, and stories. I’m using my week to talk about the grey areas between fact and fiction, dream and experience, stories and everyday life – as well as people who cross back and forth over the walls of universities and academic institutions.

Today we’re joined by Simon Groth, a Brisbane-based writer and editor who also leads if:book Australia, exploring the future of literature in the digital age.

Simon is currently completing a doctoral thesis at Queensland University of Technology, which “sits somewhere between creative writing and media studies.” 

He explains:

I’m looking at how digital tools can be (and are being) used to change the relationship between writers and readers. In particular, I’ve been fascinated by the technical innovation of experimental writers from around the 1960s. These writers took radical steps such as removing the binding of books in order to give the reader greater control over the narrative.

Part of what I’m investigating is how contemporary digital tools can bring greater nuance and subtlety to this kind of innovation. It also means I have to write a novel-length work without a predetermined order of chapters, which at some point I’ll be turning over to a small group of ‘play testers’. Basically, it’s been a three-year study into how I like to make things difficult for myself.

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