Jaded Ibis Press Publishes Math Textbook As Fiction

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Debut author Halvor Aakhus makes mathematics cool in award-winning novel

I was always upset with how ridiculous mathematics or sciences are portrayed even in great works of literature, or in the media and film.

Jaded Ibis Press, an imprint of Jaded Ibis Productions, has published another seminal work of literature. Book of Knut: A Novel by Knut Knudson is the debut novel of former mathematics and music wunderkind, Halvor Aakhus. The book won the $10,000 Henfield Prize for Fiction.

In the story, a mathematician finds a novel (Book of Knut, a novel by Knut Knudson) written by her dead lover and transforms it into an annotated mathematical textbook, complete with real homework problems. The book also combines text with paintings, musical scores, and mathematical graphs — all created by Aakhus.

“When if first started this project,” said Aakhus in a recent video interview “one of the things that I wanted to do was try to figure out how to make the artistic presentation of science and math more accurate . I was always upset with how ridiculous mathematics or sciences are portrayed even in great works of literature, or in the media and film, and how some ‘genius’ giving a lecture on first-year undergraduate mathematics is always inaccurate. So, I wanted to figure out how to recreate the actual process of science and the process of math as accurately as I possibly could.”

Book of Knut is published to resemble a reconstructed math textbook. In addition to full-color, black-and-white, and ebook editions, Book of Knut will be published as an interactive multimedia book complete with original music, videos, a teaching guide, and math quizzes.

Halvor Aakhus attended college math courses while still in high school and went on to study music composition for piano at the prestigious Jacobs School of Music. After further music studies in France, Aakhus returned to the United States, and worked in various kitchen jobs and graveyard shifts at gas stations before taking a B.A. in mathematics and an M.F.A. in creative writing. He now teaches literature and writing at University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, Jaded Ibis Productions researches and publishes narratives that represent a continuum of literary history and the future of narrative arts. The company’s intent is to facilitate the convergence of diverse media and art forms, and give wide exposure to literary, visual and musical artists of exceptional talent.

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Debra Di Blasi

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