Bebo urges scribes to take the literary path

22 Feb 2007

Bebo, which now has over one million Irish users, has joined forces with the Guardian Unlimited website to encourage its youthful user base to write their own stories.

The initiative coincides with the publication of Ziv Navoth’s new book Nanotales, an rollercoaster ride into the trials and tribulations of 146 people.

A nanotale is a new writing format, shorter than a short story, and designed to transport the reader into another world and back in less than seven minutes. A nanotale can cover any subject matter and is usually under 1,000 words.

The publisher of Nanotales, Frank Roddam of Ziji Publishing, explained: “Nanotales is a bold attempt to bridge the gap between the traditional and electronic delivery of literature. In this fast-paced world of digital media, there is a danger that a whole generation might think that traditional forms of literature are not for them; this is a generation with Attention Deficit Disorder. Nanotales will give them literature at their pace.”

Bebo said that for a generation with very little time but lots of ideas, it gives aspiring new writers an opportunity to showcase their work in a new democratic forum where it can be consumed and debated by a ready audience.

The social networking site launched a competition with The Guardian to encourage the social networking site’s youthful reader base to write their own nanotales.

The competition will be judged by by the general public and a panel comprising Alan Yentob, creative director of the BBC; Caroline Michel, managing director, William Morris agency; Sarah Crown, literary editor, Guardian Unlimited; Franc Roddam, film director and founder of Ziji Publishing; Joanna Shields, president of Bebo; and Ziv Navoth, Nanotales author and concept creator.

All entries can be uploaded to either:, or The winning authors will see their stories published next year in a new anthology of nanotales by Ziji Books.

The book’s publication and the competition coincide with the launch of Bebo Authors, a new platform for authors to upload video clips, writing tips and chapter extracts as well as interact with the authors of their favourite books.

Ziv Navothu will be the first author to be showcased on the new Bebo service.

“Bebo Authors is a natural fit. Every user on our site is an author – they write a chapter in the story of their lives every day within their blogs, the photos and videos they take and the comments they make. Bebo Authors can only foster and inspire what is already there,” commented Bebo president Joanna Shields.

By John Kennedy