International Literature Showcase offers £7,500 of new commissions and announces new work exploring digital innovation

The International Literature Showcase (ILS) has today issued an open call for three creative commissions each worth £2,500 to explore how literature is written, translated, presented, mediated or expanded online. This is the second of two calls for work that will form the ILS Collection, a series of work examining how global technology has impacted the written word.


The announcement comes as the ILS reveals the names of the first two artists who were commissioned for the project in November, and whose work will soon be showcased on the ILS website. Hazel Grain, a performer, writer and director, with extensive experience devising interactive narratives, will unveil her project, A Tendency To Spill, in March, launching a chatbot that will help create short stories. Berlin-based fiction and poetry writer Martin Jackson will introduce his collaborative project, tutorials, in February, a poetry collection shared online via Google Docs that any visitor to the site can read, comment, or suggest edits to during its creation. This will run until June 2017, inverting the usual private experience of writing and providing a unique opportunity to test the limits of collaboration.

“I’m delighted to receive this commission. It gives me a much needed opportunity to develop my writing on my own terms, to further my explorations of digital intimacy, and to collaborate with chat bot coders.”
— Hazel Grain

Proposals for this second round of commissions should be submitted by 8 March 2017 and are open to artists from anywhere in the world. Full guidelines can be found here on the ILS website.

“With new technologies continuing to open up new possibilities for the creation and distribution of creative work, we are delighted to be able to support artists and writers to develop new projects that explore the full potential digital innovation has to offer, that might otherwise not have been possible.”
— Chris Gribble, Chief Executive of Writers’ Centre Norwich

Run by Writers’ Centre Norwich, the British Council and Arts Council England, the ILS is a ten-month programme offered to selected UK writers and literature organisations to help promote and export their work across the world, through events, special commissions and an online platform (www.litshowcase.org). Free to access, this online space also helps bring together the wider professional global community to share expertise and build collaborations.


In total, the ILS will award £12,500 for ILS Collection submissions. These come in addition to the £7,000 presented by the ILS to 14 of its selected 40 UK writers for work examining the theme ‘Crossing Borders’, a selection of original essays, poetry, fiction, non-fiction and graphic biography covering everything from political and social realities to notions of transgression and the examination of boundaries. The ILS has already started to publish this topical collection of work on their website including Everything is Foreign by Karrie Fransman, The Woman Next to Me by Kerry Hudson and Family Circle by Jan Carson.