Does Twitter offer any promise for literature?

The Twitter Fiction Festival gets underway today. Would-be authors from around the world have been invited to share their stories and, possibly, give a new twist to the written word.

Pulitzer Prize winning author Jennifer Egan experimented with a short story for The New Yorker earlier this year made up entirely of tweets.

Today on The Daily Circuit, host Kerri Miller asked Egan if there’s any real literary value writing, beyond pure experimentation, to “tweeting” a story.

“You would be a better judge of the literary value than I would, since I wrote it, but what I can say is that the particular story that I wrote could not have been written any other way except in these very small structural units that I wrote with Twitter in mind. Although I should mention that I wrote them by hand, because that’s how I write fiction.

To the extent that I ended up being able to write a story that I am really proud of, I have to say – I think it may be better than anything else I’ve done – Twitter made that possible, so to that extent it had a real literary impact, at least on me.”

Here are the first tweets of Egan’s short story “Black Box,” about a futuristic female spy and her mission as recorded in her mission log.

People rarely look the way you expect them to, even when you’ve seen pictures.

The first thirty seconds in a person’s presence are the most important.

If you’re having trouble perceiving and projecting, focus on projecting.

Necessary ingredients for a successful projection: giggles; bare legs; shyness.

The goal is to be both irresistible and invisible.

When you succeed, a certain sharpness will go out of his eyes.

What do you think? Is Twitter going to be the birthplace of great new works of literature?

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