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Whale tale reading project making waves online

By Plymouth Herald  |  Posted: November 16, 2012

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A million people have listened online to Plymouth’s revolutionary Moby-Dick project.

Celebrities ranging from the Prime Minister to Stephen Fry have read chapters of the classic novel.

The Moby-Dick Big Read, hosted by Peninsula Arts at Plymouth University, was launched live on the Hoe at the Plymouth International Book Festival in September with a reading by the actor Simon Callow.

Since then the readings have been listened to more than a million times on the SoundCloud website.

Dr Philip Hoare, artist in residence at Plymouth University’s Marine Institute, co-curated the project alongside artist Angela Cockayne, from Bath Spa University.

Dr Hoare said: “Moby-Dick has captured everyone’s imagination. To hit the one millionth listener mark is very gratifying, especially since we are still less than halfway through the project, with so many extraordinary readings yet to come – and quite a few surprises.

“I am sure Herman Melville would be amazed at this ambitious new interpretation of his miraculous and prophetic book, and certainly gratified to know he has such an international audience.”

The Moby-Dick Big Read has 136 chapters being released daily at www.mobydickbigread.com, a website commissioned by Peninsula Arts and developed by the University’s Institute of Digital Arts and Technology (i-DAT), a National Portfolio Organisation of Arts Council England.

The readers so far have included Tilda Swinton, Pet Shop Boys lead singer Neil Tennant and Sherlock Holmes actor Benedict Cumberbatch.

Two celebrity chefs, Rick Stein and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, are adding their names to the roster.

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