Research Group Electronic Literature
Book award

Scott Rettberg won the Hayles award for "Electronic Literature"

The 2019 N. Katherine Hayles Award for Criticism of Electronic Literature was awarded to UiB professor Scott Rettberg, for his monograph Electronic Literature.

Mann i dress står foran hekk og holder en gjennomsiktig pris.
Scott Rettberg holding the prize.
Marianne Gunderson

Main content

The award, which was announced at the Electronic Literature Organization's annual conference in July 2019 in Cork, is given to the "the best work of criticism of electronic literature of any length", and is financed by a generous donation from the distinguished researcher N. Katherine Hayles and other donors. 

According to the judges, “No other work addresses with such consistency the varied and extensive selection of born digital literary works over the past two decades.” They continue, “Also, one finds here a substantive (and varied) context in critical theory and creative practices. It is the first monograph [we] know of that articulates electronic literature as both a scholarly field and a viable creative practice with much, much room for development.”

The announcement from the ELO also praises Rettberg's broader research on electronic literature, which is tightly woven into the book itself. They write, "Not only has Rettberg been pivotal in the formation of this field, but after moving to Norway, he expanded the field through spearheading the ELMCIP directory, an extensive database of digital works, many of which appear in this book."

Rettberg commented, "I have immense respect for N. Katherine Hayles, whose work has been a vital influence on my career. Winning the award for best book of criticism of electronic literature that bears her name means a great deal to me. I'm proud of the book I wrote and the field that it describes, and I hope this award helps to get the book out there and read and taught."

The second and third prizes are shared this year by the anthology  Small Screen Fictions, which was co-edited by Astrid Ensslin, Pavel Frelik, and Lisa Swanstrom, and the monography The Digital Literary Sphere by Simone Murray. The 2018 winner of the Hayles Award was Joseph Tabbi, editor of The Bloomsbury Handbook of Electronic Literature. Tabbi has just joined the faculty of the University of Bergen Institute of Foreign Language.

In 2016, along with co-authors Roderick Coover, Arthur Nishimoto, and Daria Tsoupikova, Rettberg was awarded the Robert Coover Award for a Work of Electronic Literature for Hearts and Minds: The Interrogations Project. Rettberg is the first person to receive both the top award for criticism and for creative work in the field of Electronic Literature.