Novelist goes for lottery cash to cast net wider

May 30, 1997

Despite the fact that novelist Sue Thomas reads books on her pocket organiser and publishes her work on the Internet she takes issue with colleagues who fear the death of the book.

Ms Thomas, Nottingham Trent University's creative writing course leader, has bid for Pounds 400,000 of lottery money to educate writers about the creative possibilities offered by the World Wide Web.

"There are so many people in this field antagonistic towards and afraid of the technology, it's a terrible shame," she says. "They are afraid of the loss of their copyright, the loss of freedom and the loss of the ability to make money from writing. They don't understand what the net has to offer."

Ms Thomas is creating an online literary community enabling writers to get feedback on their work. At the same time she hopes to develop a real-time virtual group for anyone interested in the written word. Writers and readers in virtual residence are also planned.

"Access to the Internet is more a question of intellectual access than physical access today," Ms Thomas said. "The key is to get people to understand the potential of the technology and to use it."

Ms Thomas became hooked on the Internet ten years ago. Her first novel tackled machine consciousness.

She gives a word of warning, however: "The Internet is full of very bad material but it should not regarded as a way of publishing your work if you have found it difficult to publish conventionally."

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