Transliteracy: Crossing divides


  • Sue Thomas De Montfort University
  • Chris Joseph De Montfort University
  • Jess Laccetti De Montfort University
  • Bruce Mason De Montfort University
  • Simon Mills De Montfort University
  • Simon Perril De Montfort University
  • Kate Pullinger De Montfort University



transliteracy, new media, writing, publishing, reading, literacy, media literacy, digital literacy, convergence, Web 2.0, internet


Transliteracy might provide a unifying perspective on what it means to be literate in the twenty-first century. It is not a new behavior but has only been identified as a working concept since the internet generated new ways of thinking about human communication. This article defines transliteracy as “the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks” and opens the debate with examples from history, orality, philosophy, literature, and ethnography. We invite responses, expansion, and development.

Author Biographies

Sue Thomas, De Montfort University

Writer and Professor of New Media who founded the trAce Online Writing Centre in 1995 and, with Kate Pullinger, the online MA in Creative Writing and New Media in 2006. Her most recent book is 'Hello World: travels in virtuality' (2004).

Chris Joseph, De Montfort University

Digital writer and artist, currently Digital Writer?in?Residence at the DMU Institute of Creative Technologies and collaborator with Kate Pullinger on works including the award?winning 'Inanimate Alice'.

Jess Laccetti, De Montfort University

Doctoral student at the Institute of Creative Technologies researching Web fictions within a narrative and feminist theoretical context. She is also an active researcher, teacher, and blogger.

Bruce Mason, De Montfort University

Specialist in ethnography, folklore, linguistics and Artificial Intelligence and is currently postdoctoral researcher on the AHRC?funded project ?Tags, Networks, Narrative?. In October 2007 he began to work on a new project analyzing the impact of the Million Penguins wiki novel.

Simon Mills, De Montfort University

Senior Lecturer in New Media, De Montfort University. His research interests include the Philosophy of Technology, phenomenology and Digital Aesthetics. He also runs the PGDip in New Media Publishing.

Simon Perril, De Montfort University

Poet and Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing and English with an interest in experimental poetry. His current creative project is a book of poems concerning early and silent cinema. Samples of work and mp3 files of readings can be found in the authors section of ?The Archive of the Now.?

Kate Pullinger, De Montfort University

Author of 'A Little Stranger' and 'Weird Sister' among other works of print fiction; collaborates with Chris Joseph on the digital fiction, 'Inanimate Alice'. She worked with Sue Thomas to develop and teach the Online MA in Creative Writing and New Media at DMU where she is a Reader in Creative Writing and New Media.




How to Cite

Thomas, S., Joseph, C., Laccetti, J., Mason, B., Mills, S., Perril, S., & Pullinger, K. (2007). Transliteracy: Crossing divides. First Monday, 12(12).