Jill Axline, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Communication, took her interest in characters’ emotional and cognitive processing and passion for “brazenly immodest anti-heroes” to New York City in May for the book industry’s first “Hackathon.”
The Hackathon, held for the first time in conjunction with the BookExpo America convention, was created to improve online book discovery and attracted people from fields ranging from technology to publishing, including Axline and her two group members.
Axline left the event a co-founder of Evoke, the competition’s winning project. An app designed to generate book recommendations based on reader preferences for protagonists, Evoke allows readers to search different literary genres to help find character relationships that fuel similar, desired emotions.
“[My seventh-grade English teacher] taught me to read with passion – to adore, loathe and lament all for the love of the story,” Axline said. “He showed me that books are social objects … years later, that’s what I study in my Ph.D. program because I continue to be astounded at the power of our capacity to socially interact with stories. As crucial as these connections are to our narrative experiences, they are not currently central to how we discover books online.”
– Rebecca Harrison ‘14