Bridport & West Dorset News, Views, Videos & Curiosities

Digital first for Dorset at new Bridport festival

A NEW digital edition of The Waste Land, by the UK’s favourite poet TS Eliot, is to be shown in public for the first time in Bridport.

The Waste Land app for iPad will kick-start a debate – sponsored by Bridport-based Watershed PR – about The Future of the Word.

The event on Saturday, November 19 is a coup for the new Bridport Open Book Festival, set up by Bridport Arts Centre to tie in with the famous Bridport Prize and celebrate reading and writing.

Faber’s Head of Digital Henry Volans, who published the app with Touch Press, said: ‘Though it has been presented at industry conferences in New York, London and Frankfurt, The Waste Land for iPad has never been shown at a public event.

‘So this is an exciting opportunity. Publishers spend much of their lives discussing the digital future of books but they rarely ask readers what they want.

‘Here’s a rare chance to bridge that gap, to bring a pioneering digital book to a book festival and provoke debate around new ways of presenting literature. Sceptics welcome!’

Mr Volans will be on a panel at Bridport Arts Centre alongside Jonathan Hudston (who runs the Real West Dorset site and is a director of Watershed PR), The Bridport News’ news editor James Tourgout, Bridport writer Katherine Locke and Exeter-based poet and IT specialist Damian Furniss.

Screenshot of Fiona Shaw performing the Death by Water of The Waste Land by TS Eliot in The Waste Land app for iPad

Fiona Shaw performing The Waste Land

The Waste Land app is much more than just an electronic book. It includes a specially-commissioned film of actor Fiona Shaw performing the poem, archive recordings by Alec Guinness, Ted Hughes and Eliot himself that are otherwise hard to find, a new reading by actor Viggo Mortenson, and numerous interviews with such luminaries as Nobel Prize winner Seamus Heaney, many of these filmed by the BBC.

The Waste Land app has just been shortlisted for a 2012 Interaction Award by the Interaction Design Association (IxDA) for Disrupting – Re-imagining completely an existing product or service by creating new behaviors, usages or markets. The app is up against products including the Ford SmartGauge, Nike+ GPS and the Morgan Stanley Matrix.

TS Eliot (1888-1965) is buried not far from Bridport at East Coker in Somerset. He was voted the nation’s favourite poet in a BBC poll in 2009The Waste Land, first published in 1922, is commonly regarded as the 20th century’s greatest poem.

Tickets (£5 / £6) are available from Bridport Arts Centre (01308 424204).