Hand Made High Tech

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The collected work from if:book’s 2011 essay series is now available in its second edition.

Throughout 2011, if:book Australia commissioned essays from ten Australian writers on the future of writing and reading in a future tilted towards the digital. Each writer drew on his or her experience in fields diverse as publishing, transmedia, gaming, and comics to observe the changes taking place in ‘books’ and discussing where this might lead for authors, readers, and reading culture. Hand Made High Tech is the result.

This second edition updates the original edition with essays by if:book founder Kate Eltham and director Simon Groth.

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About the Authors

Associate Professor Sherman Young is Associate Dean of Learning and Teaching in the Faculty of Arts at Macquarie University. He is also the Deputy Head of the Department of Media, Music and Cultural Studies, where he teaches new media theory and production. His research focuses on the cultural impact of the new media technologies. Sherman is the author of The Book is Dead, Long Live the Book (UNSW Press 2007) and Media Convergence (Palgrave, 2011).  Sherman has a PhD from the University of Queensland, examining Australian online services regulation. He also has a MA (Media, Technology & Law) from Macquarie University and a BSc (Design) from UNSW. Prior to becoming an academic, he ran a multimedia production company producing a variety of multimedia products for corporate and publishing clients.

Peter Donoghue retired from the publishing industry in March 2009, after a 35 year career in the Australian book trade. His last position was Managing Director of John Wiley and Sons Australia Ltd, a role he held for 16 years. He held numerous industry positions during his career, including President of the Australian Publishers Association (1996/1997),  and a Director of CAL (1993-2003). After retirement he set up a small consultancy operation to offer advice and support to a range of Australian publishers, booksellers and wholesalers, and established a blog Pub Date Critical (peterdonoughue.blogspot.com) through which he regularly comments on and debates industry issues and concerns.

Ryan Paine, a former editor of Voiceworks, has worked as a book editor at Wakefield Press in Adelaide, was Director of Format Festival’s Academy of Words, also in Adelaide, and has had book reviews published inThe Big Issue, Australian Book Review and on Radio National’s The Book Show. He has had stories and essays published in various places of low repute but high quality, has many friends in low places with lofty ideas about a new world order, but is currently learning how to stop worrying and start living in South-east Asia. Hit him up if you’re in the neighbourhood.

John Birmingham is a Brisbane based author, blogger and journalist. He files for a wide range of magazines and newspapers and writes for publishers in Australia, America, the UK and Europe.

Bronwen Clune is founder and CEO of Norg Media, a company dedicated to creating people-powered news sites around the world. Bronwen launched Norg in 2006 with what she says was a very ‘green’ outlook on how the web worked. Not one to sit on the sidelines and very much in awe of the changes she saw it bringing to media, she wanted to explore that for herself. After somewhat of an epiphany and an intense few months of idea-jamming, she launched her vision for a future news organisation.

Born from the Oklahoma flatlands of farmers and spring thunderstorms, Jason Nelson stumbled into creating awkward and wondrous digital poems and interactive stories of odd lives, building confounding art games and all manner of curious digital creatures. Currently he professes Net Art and Electronic Literature at Australia’s Griffith University in the Gold Coast’s contradictory shores. Aside from coaxing his students into breaking, playing and morphing their creativity with all manner of technologies, he exhibits widely in galleries and journals, with work featured around globe at FILE, ACM, LEA, ISEA, SIGGRAPH, ELO and dozens of other acronyms. There are awards to list (Paris Biennale Media Poetry Prize), organizational boards he frequents (Australia Council Literature Board), and numerous other accolades (Webby Award), but in the web-based realm where his work resides, Jason is most proud of the millions of visitors his artwork/digital poetry portal attracts each year.

Myke Bartlett is a freelance journalist, emerging novelist and veteran podcaster. His work has appeared in publications such as Metro, Dumbo Feather and The Age newspaper. Currently, he earns a crust reviewing cultural things for Melbourne glossy The Weekly Review. Over the last few years his podcasted fiction has been downloaded more than half a million times. In 2011, he won the Text Prize for his young adult novel The Relic, which will be published in August 2012.

Jackie Ryan is the writer, director and designer of Burger Force comics. In between being consumed by Burger Force, she has devised and directed a number of short films and music videos. Some of these have won awards. Jackie’s film work can be seen at jackieryan.net. Burger Force comics live at burgerforce.com.

Paul Callaghan is a freelance writer and independent game developer who has worked in the games industry since 1998 as a programmer, designer, writer, and teacher. He has spoken about writing for games, play, what education can learn from game development, and the fundamentals of game design at the National Screenwriters’ Conference, GCAP, VITTA, TEDxMelbourne, the Emerging Writers’ Festival, the State Library of Victoria, Screen Australia, ACMI, CAE, and RMIT.  His writing on games, play, and storytelling has appeared online at if:book Australia, Kill Your Darlings, ibrary, The Edge, and The Australia Council for the Arts, and in print in the Emerging Writers’ Festival Reader, Newswrite, Storyline, and Meanjin. He is also the director of the Freeplay Independent Games Festival, a yearly event looking at the cultural and artistic side of games, and has written award-winning short-stories, short films, comics, too many articles to count, and is currently working on a novel.

Christy Dena is Director of Universe Creation 101, where she is currently writing, designing and directing a web-driven comedy-drama called AUTHENTIC IN ALL CAPS. She works as an experience designer and writer on transmedia projects, and has consulted on multiple films, TV shows, alternate reality games and performance projects around the world. Christy co-wrote the Writer’s Guide to Making a Digital Living, wrote the first PhD on transmedia, and curated Transmedia Victoria.