Kristen Harrison: author empowerment and making books work online


Described by The Bookseller as “the ultimate hybrid company”, The Curved House is a creative agency that bridges the gap between traditional publishing and digital media – designing and producing books and limited editions for the likes of Random House and Waterstones, building websites, developing marketing ideas and running web and social media training sessions designed specifically to empower authors.

Founder Kristen Harrison highlighted some of publishing’s most exciting developments – especially the fine work of Faber & Faber – and some exciting new projects of her own. First was Visual Verse, an online anthology of art and words that counts among its patrons the former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion and the artist Mark Garry. The project is an online anthology of art and words where a series of images are curated and writers are invited to respond to them with a piece of poetry or fiction written within an hour.

“It came from the idea of producing a notebook for writers with these kinds of activities,” says Kristen. “My designer friend Pete helped me make the site. I could have done it as a book but it’s more effective this way as it’s more organic and shows writers how their work can manifest in a digital way. Anyone can upload a piece to the website and it’s not moderated (within reason).”

Kristen also unveiled an excellent new project she’s created to help develop children’s creative and visual literacy. There are two kinds of books: in the first there is text and kids can create their own illustrations; the second type have illustrations but no story so kids can write their own.