The UP Library has been sharing regular short stories on their Instagram account as #InstaNovels. The short stories can be read in one sitting and offer a “moment to unwind” while scrolling on Instagram. The initiative was suggested by Library Director Ms Lindiwe Soyizwapi, and is run by Project Manager Kelly Liebenberg as a “first in Africa”. Liebenberg explains that the initiative was inspired by a similar project of the New York Public Library and was started by UP Libraries as a way to encourage meaningful engagement and reading on Instagram, and “tap into a generation of digital readers”.

Liebenberg said that students cite their lack of regular reading on short time, and interest, and that #InstaNovels bridges “the gap between those two problems” by offering interesting and classic stories that can be read in 20-60 minutes. These “stories on stories” are posted on @uplibrary‘s Instagram stories and highlights, and work to “bring classical stories to new audiences”, in a design that complements Instagram’s userface and is easy to engage with. All #InstaNovels are available to read at any time, in the highlights on UP Library’s page.


…students cite their lack of regular reading on short time, and interest…


UP Library’s first #InstaNovel was The Night Before Christmas, by Clement Clarke Moore, and they have since featured four more, including a Sherlock Holmes detective story, Edgar Allen Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher, Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper, and Uthlakanyana by Henry Callaway.

UP Library has also opened submissions to #InstaNovels, where aspiring writers can submit their short stories or poetry to be featured in the initiative. Submitted writing will be edited and published as an #InstaNovel, celebrating local authors and stories. Liebenberg, at the Mind-Altering Books Webinar, invited submissions as an “opportunity to alter some minds”. Submissions and inquiries can be sent to kelly.liebenberg@up.ac.za.


Image: Kayla Thomas

Editor at | kaylathomas1998@icloud.com | view posts

Kayla is the Editor of PDBY for 2020 and 2021. She joined the copy team in 2017, and became head layout editor in 2018 before starting her term as Editor. Kayla is obsessed with PDBY and is considering moving into the office to live with Pssst... forever. You can reach her by email.