Novelist and creative writing scholar becomes first co-editor of prestigious academic journal

An expert’s research in the field of creative writing and digital engagement has been recognized in a special issue of a leading international academic journal.

Associate Professor and leader in creative writing at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU), Dr Josie Barnard is the first ever co-editor of a special issue for writing in practicea peer-reviewed journal published by the National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE) – recognized as the UK’s largest creative writing organisation.

The Editorial Board made an exception to invite Dr. Barnard to co-edit a “Special Multimodal Writing Issue” of writing in practicewhich recognizes the importance of the impact of the “digital turn” on writers and writing.

Chief Editor of writing in practice, Professor Derek Neale, said: “Dr Barnard has introduced and made available to creative writers internationally an enabling new area of ​​research, which she pioneered: namely multimodal writing. The importance of the subject to creative writers internationally has already been indicated by the fact that the special issue received more than double the usual number of submissions.

Dr. Barnard was asked to co-edit the special issue because of her research on how to bridge the digital divide for writers.

“Barnard’s research, fit for the times, has provided contributors with tools to help negotiate the challenges and seize the opportunities of storytelling in a new era where digital is no longer optional,” Prof Neale continued. , adding that in the articles of a special issue; “Contributors have appealed to Barnard’s theories, sometimes explicitly, for help when negotiating new media technologies during a pandemic that has mandated digital engagement.”

“One of the goals of my research is to help writers feel empowered in the face of digital challenges, empowering them to seize opportunities,” Dr. Barnard explained.

“It is a great privilege to co-edit the very first special issue of writing in practice and I’m really proud to see that my research has helped writers, especially in this difficult time.

Heather McDonough's Josie Barnard
Dr. Josie Barnard (Image credit: Heather McDonough)

Following a double-blind peer review process, the multimodal writing special issue of writing in practice was published earlier this month and includes 15 papers from academics and practitioners – including two submissions by DMU colleagues Professor Simon Perril and Dr Joanne Dixon.

Aimed at sharing knowledge, methodologies and approaches to help writers cope with rapid technological change and adapt their practice to embrace technology, the volume explores how social media, artificial intelligence and online audiences can be seen as collaborative tools for the 21st century. writers.

Dr Barnard continued: “The traditional publishing model was linear, a writer would produce a story and send it to a publisher, and the publisher would then make the work available to the public. Whereas now, this process is much more complex and interactive, with “online” and social media making self-publishing and immediate author interactions with the public easily possible. For example, writers can collaborate with the public in “real time” on social media to revise their practice and work based on feedback. »

creative writing
Image: Shutterstock

Professor Neale added: “Whether directly or indirectly, the digital revolution has affected every aspect of the writing and publishing process.

“Writing – often seen as primarily text-based – now routinely involves multiple modes of reproduction and presentation, with photographs, emoji and audio – to name just three examples – integral to storytelling. in line.

“The explosion of new media can lead a writer to experiment with new technologies. Conversely, it could inspire renewed enthusiasm for using old technologies such as pens, pencils, paper.

“Repeatedly in this special issue we see writers using a different way of working, taking a multidimensional perspective on what writing might be, changing their attitude to writing about writing, with a greatly enriched appreciation of the theories of relevant and up-to-date practice.”

Posted on Thursday February 24th, 2022