Patrick Lenton is the winner of the inaugural Thiel Grant for Online Writing. His project documenting the experience of visiting the homes and lives of people he played an online role-playing game with 15 years ago will be backed by the $5000 award.
I and my fellow judges loved Patrick’s proposal and the brilliant way he already writes for audiences online. His concept engages memory and personal history, and will allow him and his readers to interrogate the role of the digital space in the recent past. Patrick’s concern with connections formed online being tested “IRL” was fascinating to all three judges, and seems well suited to the kind of micro-fiction that Patrick already (fabulously) writes. Warm congratulations Patrick! And thanks to all who submitted a proposal to this new grant. We hope that many of you pursue the projects that you pitched. In particular, we wish our shortlisted writers well. Keep reading (and clicking) for comments about why we loved each of their proposals so much…
Mez Breeze embraces the medium of digital writing, producing highly original work with striking visual force. We were impressed by the diversity of her creative practice and her willingness to present daring writing in an accessible way. We think that writers like Mez are redefining contemporary poetry.
P.S. Cottier‘s topical and timely proposal to explore the legacy of Frankenstein was among the funnest ideas pitched to the grant. It proposed to engage with literature and history in a rich and creative way, dissolving distinctions between prose and poetry, self and other, dead and alive. From a purely literary perspective, this was one of the strongest submissions we saw.
Nick Gadd‘s epic plan to circumnavigate suburban Melbourne on foot is impressive in itself; when told in exceptional prose and well-chosen photographs it’s mesmerising. Nick’s writing is breaking new ground in psychogeography and we encourage everyone to join him on his thoughtful wanderings down forgotten streets. Highly commended.
Anita Heiss has developed a unique position from which to research and disseminate writing by Indigenous Australians, and we were thrilled to receive a proposal from her to do just that. She identifies a gap in the literary/critical sector that we’d love to see explored, namely Indigenous language groups and their literary traditions. Anita’s thinking and writing will continue to inspire us.
Kate Iselin is at the top of her game, producing remarkable online writing that makes the political as personal as it’s ever been. Her focus on dating apps is of-the-moment, but takes this type of writing (and dating!) further than we’ve seen. I now read her blog compulsively, and anticipate a major following for Kate’s current and future work.
Meg Kovalik‘s resolution to open a box each week has already produced some powerful insights about psychology and the past. Her clear writing and suspenseful posts place her blog among the best expressions of this personal type of online writing that we’ve seen. We can’t wait to see what’s unboxed next, and wish Meg all the best with her project. Highly commended.
Tracy Sorensen also blogs within a recognisable genre of digital writing but does so in a way that goes brilliantly beyond the norm. She proposed a unique exploration of disease and its effects which blended genres and took history seriously. Her writing is equal parts disciplined and inventive and we all love her blog.
Okay, that’s it for now. Over to you Mr Lenton. 🙂