Named Gimbal, the app has been launched by Manchester-based publisher, Comma Press, and features 28 shorts by writers from around the world. Each story is set in a different city, from Athens to Zurich, Baghdad to Naples and New York to Zagreb. Among the other British writers are David Constantine (with stories set in Salford and Paris), Sean O’Brien (Newcastle and Berlin) and Zoe Lambert (Sarajevo).
Martyn’s story, about an asylum-seeker in Leeds, was reissued as an e-book single in 2012 but first appeared in The Book of Leeds, published by Comma Press in 2006 as part of their Reading the City project – a series of anthologies featuring stories set in more than 50 urban locations. Gimbal (named after a device which was used in ancient times to steady a ship’s compass), has taken a selection of these stories, and others from Literature Across Frontiers’ Tramlines project, and made them available via a free app for iPhones, iPods and iPads.
“Choose a city – anywhere in the world – and be transported to it by its fiction,” Comma Press says. “The Gimbal navigates as it narrates. With it you can travel by train, tram, metro, bus or indeed on foot, experiencing each new landscape through the eyes of a fictional character. Choose a story according to the city you wish to visit, or the length of time you have to spare, and the listen function will lead you across an interactive map of that city accompanied by an audio reading.”
“I’m pleased and flattered to have my story included in such a prestigious international project. Publishing is going through an e-revolution and an i-revolution at the moment and the short-story form seems especially well-suited to these new media. It’s exciting to be part of the search for innovative ways to bring literature to as wide an audience as possible.”