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The vending machines installed last spring around UNC’s campus and the Chapel Hill community are serving up something different—short stories and poetry written by UNC faculty, students, and staff, along with short works of literature from around the world. At the push of a button, the story vending machines print a work of short fiction or poetry. Look for them at eight locations around campus and in Chapel Hill, including the Carolina Union, the Chapel Hill Public Library, and Greenlaw Hall. The machines are part of a collaboration between the Department of English & Comparative Literature, Arts Everywhere, UNC Press, and publishing company Short Edition.

This initiative provides an exciting new way for writers to connect to readers. UNC Press director John Sherer says of the project: “In a distracted age of algorithms Short Story Vending Machines Installed on Campus Connect UNC Writers and Readersand artificial intelligence, these dispensers are a uniquely clever way to bring creative writing to new audiences.” The machines were installed this week in celebration of the Arts Everywhere Day on April 12, but will remain on campus and in the community throughout the year. They will occasionally rotate to new locations around the UNC campus and the Chapel Hill community, with new stories being added regularly.

Creative Writing Program Director and professor Daniel Wallace is excited to sponsor more opportunities for students to get involved with the story machines in the months and years to come. “At its heart, this is a collaborative project. It’s just beginning,” Wallace says. “Bringing literature into the daily lives of people who may not normally be in that fictional fold is going to be valuable to everybody.”

Talent abounds at UNC, in Greenlaw and beyond, and the story machines are an innovative means of making that talent visible. Wallace continues, “I think these machines are going to shine a light on stories, on storytelling, and on the story writers who live and work in North Carolina, many of whom teach writing here in Greenlaw.”

For more information about the story vending machines and the Arts Everywhere campaign, click here.

By Carly Schnitzler, Graduate Communications Editor, department of English and comparative literature

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