A Literary Magazine for the YouTube Generation

By Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg

Literary magazine Electric Literature pairs authors with animators to create inventive animations inspired by short stories. Online editor Benjamin Samuel explains how the web videos are a part of the magazine's mission to embrace digital media in publishing:

Electric Literature is a publisher that uses technology and media to support writers and readers in an evolving literary landscape. We were founded in response to fears and speculation that publishing (and especially independent publishing) was doomed. Through the use of an innovative distribution model that utilized print-on-demand as well as all viable digital formats, we set out to prove that people were still reading and that even a small magazine could compensate writers fairly. Certainly the way people read and consume media is changing, and publishers and outlets must be willing to adapt to these demands of the public. We're still developing new projects and new ways to ensure that fiction remains a vital force in our culture.

Here Jonathan Ashley brings a sentence from Pulitzer Prize winning author Michael Cunningham's "Olympia" to life:

"Olympia" is available in print and digital editions of Electric Literature's first issue. Samuel describes the inspiration for the series: 

The idea behind our Single Sentence Animations was partially inspired by early MTV animations. Our founding editors, Scott and Andy, were looking for ways that literature and other forms of media could communicate. Collaborations between wordsmiths and visual artists seemed like a viable place to start. Each writer published in our anthologies of short fiction are asked to select a sentence from their story to be reinterpreted by an animator. We want the animators to create a new work of art, not a direct translation, and it's always surprising to see how prose takes to a new form.

Electric Literature also produced this highly entertaining viral video that demonstrates which of the year's fattest novels might actually save your life -- from a bullet:

See web-only content:
http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2011/11/a-literary-magazine-for-the-youtube-generation/248068/

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This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2011/11/a-literary-magazine-for-the-youtube-generation/248068/