I am a huge fan of LitHub – an American website started by a team including the founder of Electric Literature. I got a commission from features editor Jess Bergman via Twitter (a first for me) to cover literary bots.
Linguist and programmer Esther Seyffarth defined a bot in a Medium post last year as “a program or agent that generates content and posts it to Twitter automatically, following some schedule or reacting to some trigger.” In the case of Twitter’s literary bots, or “corpus-fed” bots, programmers take a body of work—for example, the text file of War & Peace as it stands at Project Gutenberg—and build a program that “reads” the novel, 140 characters at a time, “aloud” by publishing sensible whole-word extracts as tweets from a dedicated Twitter account.
Literature, in the manic context of Twitter, feels like a novelty—the joy of witnessing something, somewhere, committed publishing an entire work. But at times, the bots feels uncanny too. Coincidences that arise between their tweets and the memes, gifs and beef that frame them can be as disruptive as it is delightful. Novels, titles and poems “out of place” unsettle us: not amping our anxiety like the news does, but sounding through the fog to wake up something deeper. We double-take, re-read and find originality in repetition. (Read more on the site).
As well as harking back to horny early puberty fantasies, the stories in Joanna Walsh’s Grow A Pair also resound with tender-hearted humour, aimed at adults whose sexual flights of fancy have been curtailed to the “most private thing I’m willing to admit” field on an internet dating site.
The rest of this rude post is available to read on the Erotic Review (NSFW), or click below to see more reviews I’ve written recently:
Dazed and Confused called Nell Zink’s The Wallcreeper its book of 2014. Ever since its publication by the tiny New York publisher the Dorothy Project, Zink has been gaining more and more praise for her extraordinary writing.
I spoke to her for 3AM Magazine about the radical protagonist of her debut novel, on her moving out of the US to pursue a writing career, how reviewers have been coping with the racial and sexual complexity of Mislaid, and what effect Jonathan Franzen’s promotion of her work has had on her success so far.
Click here to read on 3AM.
Other authors you might like to discover from my recent interviews:
London’s 10 Best Zine And Mini Comic Shops
Where are London’s best zine shops?
If the rustling of leaves underfoot makes you want to curl up in the corner with a coffee and a Xeroxed fanzine, you can shop at one of the ten best I’ve picked from across town.
My two personal favourites:
ICA, the Mall
If you’re looking for self published art books and zines, head to the ICA bookshop on the Mall. The selection is curated to include a huge variety of materials and techniques including riso printing, collage, photocopying, and digital colour news printing. It also covers more traditional topics such as poetry and architecture. The ICA does a regular monthly review of new zines on its blog, should you wish to check this out before visiting.
Ti Pi Tin, Stoke Newington
On 47 Stoke Newington High Street sits Ti Pi Tin, an art book shop with a cute selection of illustrated work. For starters, check out the the zingy, colourful Windowpane by Joe Kessler, and The Elder — a riso-printed witchy forest fairy tale by Esther Mcmanus. Perfect for browsing at the weekends.
Hackney style stars in ‘people’s history’ of British fashion
Author Nina Manandhar has previously featured portraits of shoppers on Ridley Road as part of her London photography book, Money On My Oyster. She herself has lived in Hackney for over seven years.
What We Wore includes a series featuring Winston Milton, born and bred in Hackney, who is a friend of the author.
She said: “Hackney has changed so much in the time since these photos were taken. There is a thriving community of creatives here, but it’s really important to me as an artist that the new communities mix with the ones that have been here for years and Winston is a really good example of someone who bridges that divide.”
Click here to read about how people in east London are fighting to protect historic buildings from developers.