Digital Possibilities for Literature

Mary Harrington and Chris Meade

2008, 64 pages. Arts Council England, 14 Great Peter Street, London SW1P 3NQ, UK, 0845-300-6590,

if:book, an organization exploring the potential of new media for creative readers and writers and the future of the book in the digital age (, was commissioned by the literature department of Arts Council England (ACE) to gather an overview of how companies, organizations and individuals in the commercial and funded sectors are using Web 2.0 to market fiction, poetry and live literature; spot writing talent; guide readers and potential readers; create, share and review writing.

The publication asks how the Internet can help us support new writing, build lasting and wide-reaching communities of interest, and take advantage of unparalleled access to a global conversation to further the aims of literature. What does the Internet offer aspiring writers—and what new creative forms are emerging from this crucible of possibility? And, just as urgently, how does literature survive in the era of free content? No conclusive answers are provided to these questions. The aim is rather to understand what the questions are, to explore existing activity in the sector and to draw out promising themes and avenues for further exploration.