LOCAL NEWS

BYU Vending Machines Dispense Short Stories

Nov 10, 2020, 1:51 PM | Updated: Nov 11, 2020, 5:35 am

PROVO, Utah – They are far from the typical vending machines found on college campuses.

At Brigham Young University, two new dispensers are offering a different kind of fare — short stories.

“I thought, ‘what a brilliant way to not be staring at your phone all the time!’” said Leslee Thorne-Murphy, an English professor and associate dean at the BYU College of Humanities.

Thorne-Murphy said she first saw the Short Edition dispensers in an urban mall in London and helped bring the idea to BYU as part of an initiative launched by the College of Humanities.

BYU English professor Leslee Thorne-Murphy got the idea for the short story vending machines from a mall in London. (Andrew Adams, KSL TV)

Three contactless buttons allow a student to select either a 1, 3, or 5-minute read, and the machine prints out a story selected at random from its database.

Stories range from famous works to student-submitted stories that have been added through writing contests.

“Short Edition is running a contest for university students at all the campuses that have these dispensers,” Thorne-Murphy said.

In addition to students competing for monetary prizes and the potential to have their stories published, Thorne-Murphy said BYU is competing with other universities ranging from the Harvard Medical School to William & Mary to Michigan State University and the University of Iowa in terms of numbers of student submissions.

“If we win, we get a free dispenser!” Thorne-Murphy said.

The two dispensers—one permanently situated in the library and the other in the middle of a campus tour that began near the Cougareat in the Wilkinson Center—have already proven to be a popular attraction for students.

Thorne-Murphy said the number of stories distributed is already in the thousands.

“I think it’s really cool, especially to share people’s ideas that don’t usually get shared,” student Hayden Taylor said. “Most of us don’t go strolling around, like, poetry websites or short story websites—if those exist but I’m assuming they do—so this is a very easily accessible way that lots of people around campus and other places can learn about new stories.”

Student Michael Camit said he also liked the idea behind the dispensers.

“There’s a lot of guys out there who like to write but they don’t really have a way to get it out,” Camit said. “There’s no guarantee that someone gets published or anything, but I like this because it gives people a shot, you know.”

Thorne-Murphy said she hoped the story dispensers would continue to inspire those on campus.

“Why go to a candy dispenser when you can have a piece of good literature instead!” Thorne-Murphy said. “It’s a great alternative!”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

The front page of "Kid News" (Credit: KSL TV)...
Peter Rosen, KSL TV

Meet the Editor-in-Chief of ‘Kid News’

A seven-year Mei wanted a job when she was four, so her mom guided her to write her own news stories under "Kid News"
1 day ago
The aftermath of the explosion (Credit: Pleasant Grove Fire Department)...
Michael Houck, KSL TV

Propane explosion causes minor power outage in Pleasant Grove

A propane tank exploded in a shed and caught power poles on fire in Pleasant Grove on Saturday afternoon, according to fire crews.
1 day ago
File - Generic Highway...
Mike Anderson, KSL TV

UHP urges cautious driving as deadly trend continues

2022 is well on track to beat out 2021, which was already the deadliest year that Utah’s had on its roads in over two decades.
1 day ago
...
Michael Houck, KSL TV

Suspect arrested for robbery at Salt Lake airport

One man is in police custody after hitting a woman and attempting to steal her bag at the Salt Lake International Airport on Saturday afternoon, according to police.
1 day ago
Traffic backed up to one line in the Farmington fatal crash. (Credit: UDOT)...
Michael Houck, KSL TV

Reckless driving appears to be the cause in Saturday’s fatal crash

One motorcyclist passed away after hitting the back of a car on Interstate-15 Saturday night, according to UHP.
1 day ago
One person was stabbed to death at 1650 South State Street in Salt Lake City Saturday night. (Salt ...
Cary J. Schwanitz, KSL TV

Salt Lake man arrested in connection with fatal stabbing Saturday night

Salt Lake Police arrested a man in connection with a fatal stabbing Saturday night.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Make Money Online Easily...

4 Ways that You Can Make Money Online Easily in Just a Few Clicks

Here are 4 ways that you can make money online easily in no time at all! Some are as simple as just a few clicks away.
tips to winterize your home...
Bonneville Digital SLC

Tips to Winterize Your Home | The Top 5 Ways You Can Prepare for the Cold Utah Winter Ahead

Before the snow hits, here are the top 5 tips to winterize your home to prepare for the cold Utah winter this year.
BYU Vending Machines Dispense Short Stories