March 11, 2016
Two popular apps that support young artists and writers are calling on teens to create works, twisting the fate of heroes and villains. “Twist Fate,” an art and writing challenge for 13 to 17 year olds, is being hosted by DeviantArt, the world’s largest community for visual art, and by Wattpad, the world’s largest community of readers and writers.
“Wattpad and DeviantArt are home to some of the most active and inspiring creative youth communities on the net. They offer a rich and motivating context for young people to connect, learn, and get feedback from others who share their interests and passions,” said Mimi Ito, co-founder of the Connected Learning Alliance and UC Irvine cultural anthropologist who specializes in learning. “This challenge is an opportunity for more educators and youth to tap into this creative energy and experience how social online platforms can fuel learning and engagement in the arts.”
Young people are invited to submit entries on the website of either DeviantArt or Wattpad from March 6 through April 6, 2016. The best stories, comic panels, illustrations, or other creations will be chosen as finalists that will be reviewed by a panel of editors who will decide which ones to publish in a book. And, the book will be made available to the public in libraries across the country.
The editors are: writers Sara Ryan (author of Bad Houses, The Rules for Hearts, and Empress of the World) and Lauren Kate (author of Fallen, Torment, Passion, Rapture, Fallen in Love, and The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove), Walt Disney Animation Studios story artist Brian Kesinger and Antero Garcia, assistant professor of English at Colorado State University.
Twist Fate is being sponsored by the Connected Learning Alliance (CLA), National Writing Project (NWP) and Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). They are encouraging teachers, librarians and after-school program coordinators to inform students about the challenge in an effort to connect their interests in art and writing to learning.
“The creative Wattpad community is used to remixing and reimagining existing story worlds,” said Wattpad’s co-founder and CEO Allen Lau. “With the Twist Fate Challenge, teens have an incredible opportunity to use text and multimedia to create a work of fiction on Wattpad that could appear on school library shelves across North America.”
Added Christina Cantrill, of NWP: “Since we know that writing happens in many ways with words and images across mediums and communities, this project allows youth to channel their interests and understanding into new skills which, in turn, will support them navigating a rapidly changing world of participatory engagement and communications.”
The mission is to nurture the artist in everyone, said Angelo Sotira, DeviantArt’s co-founder and CEO. “Young people experiment with all kinds of expression so, we are really excited to participate with the partners on this project—all of which share our same commitment and mission. The Twist Fate project, linked with serious educators, is a new opportunity for our community to teach and give voice to teens in a peer setting. We have always done this organically and on a huge scale, but this is the first time we have partnered directly with library and school programs.”
The challenge also is part of YALSA’s Teen Tech Week campaign, in which libraries nationwide showcase their digital resources and services that are available to help teens succeed in school and prepare for college and 21st century careers.
“The Twist Fate challenge provides libraries and classrooms across the globe an opportunity to link connected learning, creativity and technology and gives students a chance to improve their skills and get to know supportive, social communities that can help connect them as mentors, fellow artists, and friends,” YALSA President Candice Mack said.