The Winter House

Naomi Alderman

The short story is based on the oldest and most enduring form of narrative in the world – that of the human desire to tell a story. The Winter House team was interested in exploring the possible future of the short story form and reimagining how it might work in the digital environment.

The Winter House (Naomi Alderman) includes game-like interactive elements, but is nonetheless a single narrative with a third-person narrator. The visualisation of the story puts the words centre-stage: the team wanted to make something that was still very much text-based rather than simply being an animation.

The aim is that, as well as being a good story, The Winter House might be a useful teaching aid around issues of women’s equality in the early twentieth century, a topic in both history and citizenship.

It could act as a starting point for discussion, stimulating questions such as:

• Why might a man of this era not want his wife to have a university education?

• How hard was it for a woman at this time to receive a university education?

• How unusual would Professor Tregarran have been for his time?

The story could also be used for English language teaching, by encouraging readers to participate in a relevant and exciting way by writing their own stories or interpreting existing ones – even in a mixed-media format.

Students could:

• Make a Cluedo-inspired board game

• Create a 12-panel murder mystery comic strip/graphic novel

• Use Windows Movie Maker to make a 60-second murder mystery.

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