Short Story Dispensers, delivering free fiction and poetry at the push of a button, will launch this Friday on the third-annual Arts Everywhere Day in an effort to bring more visibility to the literary talent at UNC.
The dispensers will print stories on recyclable paper with biodegradable ink at eight different locations: Frank Porter Graham Student Union, Davis Library, the FedEx Global Education Center, South Building, UNC Adams School of Dentistry, UNC Medical Center, Greenlaw Hall and the Chapel Hill Public Library.
“You print them off and hold them in a very physical way and, to me, it's kind of a bridge between these two forms of learning and of absorbing English and literature,” said Daniel Wallace, the Creative Writing Program director. “I think that’s it going to be great, because you’ll be able to read it, and if you really like it, you can give it somebody.”
The dispensers are a collaboration between Arts Everywhere, UNC Press, the Department of English and Comparative Literature and French publishing company Short Édition.
“It’s rare that you have this opportunity to showcase the literary talent all around us," Wallace said. "You can see paintings. You can hear music, but unless you’re really looking for it, it’s hard to see and it’s hard to notice and appreciate all the literary artistry that’s right here on campus."
Short Édition created the Short Story Dispenser in 2016 to offer the public quick literary experiences in unexpected places like a bus stop or waiting room.
Typically, Short Story Dispensers have buttons for 1-minute stories, 3-minute stories and 5-minute stories, appealing to an on-the-go reader.
UNC’s dispensers are the first customized machines to reflect a local community of writers. The dispensers will only have two buttons: “Carolina Stories” and “Global Stories.”
“Carolina Stories” will include stories written by UNC students, faculty and staff members. “Global Stories” will feature a mix of classic and contemporary authors from around the world.