Identity: Annual NovelTM Workshop 2016

I am very pleased to announce the upcoming workshop for the NovelTM research group. This year’s theme is “Identity” and will be taking place at the Banff Research Centre in Banff, Alberta. For two days participants will meet and share new work that uses computational modelling to understand the various ways that novels construct identity…

The Devoir Challenge. How to write like an American Bestseller

by ANDREW PIPER When the books editor of Le Devoir, Catherine Lalonde, called to ask if my lab would supply a data-driven guide on how to write like a bestseller, I enthusiastically said yes. But I expected everyone else would say no. Surely writers will be allergic to data. And surely Quebecois and Canadian writers won’t want to…

How Andrew Piper predicted the Giller Prize

This Fall we created a lab challenge to see if anyone could predict this year’s Giller Prize winner using a computer. The winner was announced last night, and it turns out I correctly predicted the winner. But I still lost the challenge. In this lies an instructive tale about humans, computers, and predicting human behaviour.…

Can a computer predict a literary prize?

This evening the Giller Prize winner will be announced. For those not in the know, the Giller Prize is Canada’s most prestigious literary award. Like the Man Booker in the UK or National Book Award in the US, the Giller Prize serves as a way of signalling to Canadian readers important new fiction. It relies…

Text Mining the Novel

Welcome to NovelTM, a multi-university digital humanities initiative led by Andrew Piper at McGill University. This project brings together researchers and partners from 21 different academic and non-academic institutions to produce the first large-scale quantitative history of the novel. Our aim is to bring new computational approaches in the field of text mining to the study of literature as…

McGill-led partnership projects receive SSHRC funding

Three innovative research partnerships at McGill University have received significant long-term investments from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) partnership grants program, totaling more than $6.8 million. Each project will use novel approaches to advance knowledge and understanding on critical issues of intellectual, social, economic and cultural significance — from teaching computers to…