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Comma Press launch reading app at London Book Fair

  • Date: 23 April 2013
  • Area: North
Visual of app screen

Visual of app screen. Credit: courtesy of Comma Press

Comma Press launched their new iPhone app on Tuesday 16 April at the London Book Fair. Developed in partnership with Literature Across Frontiers and software developers Toru Interactive, Gimbal: Navigate the City through Fiction! offers access to art for commuters and travellers.

Bringing together Literature Across Frontier's Tramlines project and the best of Comma's acclaimed Reading the City commissions, Gimbal is a new way of reading the city. By simply choosing a city the reader can be transported to it by its fiction and experience each new landscape through the eyes of a fictional character. Designed with the commuter in mind, the Gimbal enables the reader to escape the tedium of the everyday journey and take an alternative route.

Alison Boyle, Relationship Manager, Arts Council England commented 'The development of Gimbal supports the Arts Council's aim to fund new, high-quality literature that embraces new technologies. I particularly like the menu feature which allows the user to choose an experience based on length of journey, location, and type of transport.'

The project has involved 27 authors and 20 translators so far but Comma will be adding to the material over the coming months. Much of the text is presented in written and audio form in English plus the language spoken where the story is set. The Gimbal navigates as it narrates so the reader can travel by train, tram, metro, bus or indeed on foot, experiencing each new landscape through the eyes of a fictional character.

The launch at London Book Fair on 16 April 2013 featured readings from London-based author Alison MacLeod, North-based author Michelle Green, and Zagreb's Roman Simic.

Members of the Comma team have been exploring ways of fusing mobile technology and narrative for many years and have also been developing Story Bank, a free mp3 library of recorded readings by authors, on Comma's website since it founded. The Gimbal app can be downloaded for free here.

Comma Press is one of Arts Council England's National portfolio organisations and more information can be found on their website