Zach Dodson

Zach's thesis explored the writing, design and function of a hybrid illluminated novel.

PhD awarded 2023

Zach Dodson is a practitioner of the narrative arts in many forms. As the co-founder of featherproof books, he has designed and published many award-winning books. He is the author of the illuminated novel, Bats of the Republic (Doubleday, 2015). He is an Associate Professor of Design at Victoria University of Wellington where he teaches visual, design, and game students the principles of narrative architecture.

Zach's thesis explored the writing and design of a hybrid illuminated novel and its function as a hermeneutically-sealed location for meaning-making. Through practice-based research in creative writing and design, the possibilities for interconnected multi-valent illustrated stories were explored in a novel and supporting critical essay.

The critical essay argues that interconnectedness, an emerging idea in systems theory and science, can also be applied to literary texts. Hybrid books in particular, by incorporating elements of both text and design, display qualities of interconnectedness. Their multi-modal nature highlights how design can inform, and even become, the story content. The content, in turn, influences the designed form. This is borne out in the hybrid novel KUU, the creative part of the thesis.

Read more:

Zach's website