Are you a writer who wants to experiment with telling stories via a smartphone?

Do you want to be part of the conversation around how technology can disrupt and innovate?

Storytelling is a vital part of being human. From the campfire, via the pen, through the book, the screen, and smartphone, we tell, read, and hear stories. But the ways we do this are changing. How can storytelling keep up? How can we use digital tech to write stories in new forms and in new ways?

Beyond the Book is a new scheme that aims to develop innovative models for writing and publication, promoting dialogue between writers, technologists and new publishers. Paper Nations wants to help writers work with technologists to go ‘beyond the book’ – developing writing for media such as phones, games and immersive technology. They want to subvert the mainstream, with a wider range of voices and new ways of writing.

Paper Nations’ first round of Beyond the Book commissions will focus on developing writing for smartphones.


How will it work?

Beyond the Book will support three writers with a connection to Somerset, Gloucestershire, or Wiltshire over six months to experiment with the possibilities of telling stories using a smartphone.

Paper Nations will offer support to develop text-based digital projects and the opportunity to reach local, national, and international audiences.

Beyond the Book is led by writer, Professor Kate Pullinger, and delivered by Paper Nations.

Based at Bath Spa University, the Paper Nations team has partnered with a panel of experts who want to see work that is innovative, experimental, and shows a curiosity about the potential of smartphones.


What are they looking for?

Storytelling via your smartphone. Your stories have to be engaging. Beyond that, there are few rules. Paper Nations are  looking for new ideas and thinking! Your projects could look at how text is experienced on a screen, or how the functions of a smartphone – such as sensors, cameras, or GPS – can be used to tell a story.

You may develop a work of ambient literature, an experiment in augmented reality, or a poetry film. Or something completely new. They are looking to support text-based works, which could include text shared through audio, (but aren’t looking for films that focus only on visual images, scripts, or plays.)

That’s the brief. What you create is up to you. They’re not looking for novels or film scripts on a screen.They’re looking for innovation and experimentation; they’re looking for a new way to tell a story.


Paper Nations are offering three writers commissions of up to £5,000 each to develop their work. This is a chance to realise an ambition, experiment with a new form, take an idea in a totally new direction, and create innovative partnerships. The commission should be used, in part, by writers to access a creative technologist or to gain digital skills that bring ideas to life.

Writers will also create a series of short articles for The Writing Platform –a collaboration between Bath Spa University and Queensland Institute of Technology, which shares digital knowledge with writers.

Paper Nations will support writers to create a finished digital work, which will be showcased at a premiere in Bath in spring 2020, and at Bath Spa University’s MIX 2021 – a leading conference on writing and technology.

Who is eligible?

Writers need to have a meaningful connection to the upper South West region of the UK (Somerset, Gloucestershire, and Wiltshire). It is not a requirement to be based there, but you will need a demonstrable connection, history, or commitment to the region.

Paper Nations will accept applications from collaborations. These could include a writer and a technologist or a writing team.

You must be aged over 16.

Writers need to be available to start work in November 2019 and have their final piece ready for a public audience in April 2020.

Applications open on 1st July 2019 on and will close on 1st September 2019. Successful applicants will be announced by the end of October 2019.

Further essential information, including full details of what’s on offer and how to apply are available on the Paper Nations website.