Author Annabel Smith is known for her bestseller Whisky Charlie Foxtrot.

She also wrote New Map of the Universe, which was shortlisted for the WA Premier’s Book Awards, and the digital interactive novel, The Ark. She focused on the latter work when she spoke to SIDE Year 10 English students this week. The online web conference linked to two units of work studied by students this semester, Expressing Meaning and The World Online.

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Annabel has had numerous works of short fiction published in literary journals and anthologies. She has a PhD in Writing and is an Australia Council Creative Australia Fellow. She also teaches creative writing and regularly runs workshops at libraries and writers’ centres. In recent years she has become interested in exploring experimental forms of fiction.

Set in the future, The Ark explores the fears and concerns raised by the environmental predicament facing the world today. Her novel moves between text and visual materials and is available as an ebook. It has a supporting website that allows readers to explore the novel in a multimodal form, moving beyond the text to audio/visual interpretations including an animation of the novel’s setting, ‘The Bunker'. The website also provides a forum for readers to create and contribute to the novel as co-creators.

During the session Annabel discussed the inspiration for her work and the way in which the novel developed, especially the work of collaborators like architects and digital designers. At the end of the session teachers and students were invited to discuss the way in which multimodal texts enhance understanding, especially through the use of audio to create mood and atmosphere.