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Irmak Suzan Ertas

Wink is a prototype for an interactive picture book platform. This platform aims to make reading into a mindfull and thought provoking process by using interactive and playful elements, multiple stories within one narrative and sound elements. Especially today where consumerism and low attention span is a rising issue especially amongst young readers, this was an important task to tackle. The thought of Wink emerged to find a more sustainable and creative way of reading for elementary school children.

Working as a children’s literature editor for years, I came to a realisation that picture books were turning into another object that kids read and consume on daily basis. At least this is what I observed in Turkey. Teachers and parents were finding it difficult to find new books constantly or were tired of rereading the same book. As a young person in the publishing sector, I believe there should be equal options for children as there is for adults; such as ebooks, audiobooks etc. But moreover a “book” that can be redefined, reread or be interacted with. So I revisited an old story I wrote, translated to English and named it, “Bee Within”.

Bee Within, is a story about grief and it is based on my experiences throughout the years. I erased it, rewrote it, edited it, destroyed it multiple times over the past years, simultaneously with new experiences of loss. In the end, I believe the story turned out to be an ode to remembering or might I say an ode to not being able to forget or an ode to the fear of forgetting which I now think is a great and sweet battle between death and life. I think it is an important subject to touch upon, especially for children dealing with trauma in many parts of the world.

Over the past two years, experimenting with storytelling techniques, interactivity options and workshops with children and adults, around reading and doing various exercises on Bee Within, I improved the story to be a more playful and interactive one which can be re-read, re-played and eventually re-formed non digitally to be reachable for all children.

irmak ertaş (?rmak erta?) is an experimental publisher, writer, human rights activist and editor. She is the manager of the young writers platform İlkyaz, which aims to globally promote young writers from Turkey. She likes to play with impossible ways of forming a sentence, words that need a massage and punctuation in her poetry. She is currently interested in and involved in research projects that engage with creativity for children, interactive literature, collective memory, healing and concrete poetry. Her work examines the implications of knot theory in relation to narratives, phonetic transcriptions and inscription. She enjoys using coding as an art form, open source and digital tools in expanding or exhibiting her work. After completing her masters degree at Piet Zwart Institute, she would like to pursue her project on interactive e- books for children and keep promoting young literature. She lives in between Turkey and The Netherlands.

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