Advocacy, education and outreach in support of Vancouver's public spaces

By VPSN Blog

May 13, 2017 at 7:00 AM

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Want to explore a story while walking Vancouver’s streets? Check out our Active Fiction ebook!

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Active Fiction lets you take a walk through a story. Photo: Jaspal Marwah

Active Fiction lets you take a walk through a story. Photo: Jaspal Marwah

By Jaspal Marwah, founder & director, Active Fiction Project

Have you ever wanted to walk the city alongside the characters in a favourite novel? Or experience what it might be like to amble the streets under the guidance of an all-knowing narrator, someone who knew your story even before you did?

Since 2014, the VPSN’s Active Fiction project has brought a mashup of public art, literary fiction and walking tours to the streets of Vancouver. And now, starting Saturday, May 13, you can borrow a brand-new interactive ebook of the stories from the VPSN’s Active Fiction project! We’re publishing the ebook in partnership with the Vancouver Public Library as part of VPL’s Write On event celebrating local writers.

So if you missed out on some of the past stories, or you want to try out new options and endings in some of your favourite stories, follow this link to borrow the ebook from VPL’s local writers collection, using your VPL library card.

Where public space and literature intersect

As fans know, Active Fiction brings real-life “create your own adventure” stories to Vancouver, where readers follow a short fictional story as it unravels in the city’s streets. We work with local writers to create stories that take place in a Vancouver neighbourhood. The stories feature you, the reader, as the protagonist. Chapters are “hidden” in public spaces throughout the same neighbourhood in which the story takes place.


Literary adventures in public space. Photo: Kari Lund Teigen

Active Fiction allows readers to experience a story that they discover by walking or biking through the same neighbourhood in which the story unfolds.​ In this way, the reader plays an active role both in shaping the narrative and in actually moving through the story’s physical space.

In Active Fiction, Vancouver’s streets, neighbourhoods, local shops, parks and cemeteries offer dimensions for readers to explore. The project explores what might happen when a private act, like reading, becomes something that can be easily shared with friends and neighbours. This playful approach to engaging with a neighbourhood blurs the lines between fiction and reality and offers readers a new experience – one that brings them closer to the story than in the traditional manner of reading a book.

The city’s public spaces are great commons: places for encountering others, for understanding our points of connection with strangers passing in the street, for creating our own stories of who we – and others – are. Active Fiction echoes our collective experience of the social life of public spaces, reminding us that, just as in real life, the streets are where the stories are. 

More Active Fiction on the way

To read some of the previous Active Fiction stories, don’t forget to check out the ebook.

Want to experience it ‘in real life’? We’ll be bringing new Active Fiction stories to Vancouver streets later this year, so sign up for our mailing list and be the first to know!

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