Young writers and artists are on a quest for literary success

By Jamie Hill - 10 December 2020

Arts and CultureFamily

Young people from Swindon are part way through writing and illustrating their first book, an interactive fantasy adventure, and they need your support to get it published.

Community arts and education company, Digital Writes, has been working with young aspiring writers and artists to enable them to collaborate to write an illustrated, interactive fantasy novel, which they’ll publish in print format and as a text-based video game. The printed book will be available to buy through Amazon and available to borrow from secondary school and public libraries. The app will be available for download from all the usual video game app stores.



These kinds of gamebooks, initially popular in the 1980s and 90s, have had something of a resurgence lately, with titles by Charlie Higson and Rhianna Pratchett. Keith P. Phillips, one of the authors of the original series, is tutoring on the Digital Writes project. Keith said, “We have been running workshops in storytelling, creative writing, and illustration over Zoom and sharing work through Discord. The students have produced some amazing work. I mean, really amazing. As good as anything from the series. They really deserved to get published.”



Young participant, Lauren, said, “We already write and draw things, but nothing comes out of it. It would be cool to see our book in the library and see other people enjoying what we’ve made.” Some of the young people have ambitions to become writers or artists, and are thrilled to be working with professionals. They’re also very excited at the prospect of seeing their work in print. Without this project, they say, “we wouldn't have any chance to be part of producing a full sized book.”



But the project needs additional support to be able to continue. Keith explained, “The original project was funded by Arts Council England, thanks to the continued generosity of National Lottery players. It was a generous grant, but the saga the young people have created, called A Moral Paradox, is of epic proportions! It’s going to need another five months to complete.”



Digital Writes needs funding to continue workshops, to collate all the work into the one book and the one app, to proof read, play-test and publish it. So they and the young writers and artists have put together a crowdfunding campaign.



One of the teachers supporting the project is Ms Urquhart from Lydiard Park Academy. Ms Urquhart said, “Our students have had a brilliant experience, growing in creative confidence and developing their social and communication skills as well as gaining a wealth of cutting-edge technical expertise. Please support this latest fantastic creation!"



To pledge your support for this project, please go to https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/a-moral-paradox



We need more young people to join our quest


As well as funding support, A Moral Paradox needs more young people to help create it. Workshop leader and visual artist Keira Georgeson said, “Our young writers and artists are proper authors writing a proper book. We want them to feel the excitement of going into a public library and seeing their book on the shelf. But it’s not exclusive. We’re eager to invite everyone to join. All you need is your imagination and a love of fantasy, whether that’s in books, films, or video games. Your ideas are important.”



To get involved and secure your place on this unique programme, type “immersive authorship” into your favourite search engine or look for Digital Writes on social media. 



Instagram: @digital_writes

Facebook: facebook.com/digitalwrites/

Twitter: @digital_writes

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