Monday, April 10, 2017

New YA module led by author Laura Lam added to MA Creative Writing @EdinburghNapier

Laura Lam • photo © Elizabeth May
We're proud to announce an exciting new module in writing for young adult audiences on our genre fiction-focused MA Creative Writing programme  - and it will be led by Laura Lam, author of the acclaimed Micah Grey YA fantasy trilogy.

The MA at Edinburgh Napier University has always welcomed YA writers, especially those creating genre fiction. But a specialist moudle in YA writing practise is a bold new innovation.

Writing YA Fiction is launching in time for the 2017-18 academic year, with the optional module due to run in Trimester 2. Students will create narratives for YA audiences set in science fiction and fantasy worlds, but contemporary settings will also be part of the module.

"It's exciting to invent my own module for the Edinburgh Naper Creative Writing MA," says Laura Lam, who joined the course as a part-time lecturer in September 2016. "I've enjoyed teaching on the existing modules, but now I'm getting the chance to build my own."

Laura's first YA novel, Pantomime, was originally published in 2013 and reissued last year by Pan Macmillan. It was shortlisted for numerous prizes and won the 2014 Bisexual Book Award for Speculative Fiction. 

Six of Crows author Leigh Bardugo called Pantomime "a fantastical, richly drawn, poignant take on a classic coming-of-age story ... a vibrant tale told with surety and grace."

Shadowplay - the second book in the Micah Grey series - was first published in 2014 and also reissued by Pan Macmillan last year. The finale of Laura's YA trilogy - the long-awaited Masquerade - was unleashed in paperback just two months ago by Pan Macmillan. Students taking the module will benefit from Laura's professional and personal experience in this exciting area.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Goblin author & MA Creative Writing graduate secures Creative Scotland funding for 2nd novel

A proto-version of HellSans appears in Gutter 16, out soon
Last month we were proudly showcasing the cover of Goblin, a novel by MA Creative Writing graduate Ever Dundas, to be published by Freight in May. But the good news doesn't stop there - Creative Scotland has just announced funding for Ever's work on her second novel, HellSans.

It's a great boost for Ever who has fibromyalgia, a chronic condition with symptoms that include chronic pain, exhaustion and cognitive problems. The illness forced her to give up part-time work, so the funding will go a long way to help her keep writing.

HellSans is a near-future sci-fi thriller with lashings of body horror. Ever calls her fun action thriller an excoriating indictment of normative society and the current UK government. Here's a blurb for the work in progress:
HellSans is a ubiquitous font; when exposed to it, most people experience contentment, but a minority are allergic. The HellSans allergy sufferers (HSAs) are persecuted and live in poverty in a ghetto on the edge of the capital city. 

Jane, CEO of the company that manufactures the Inex (a cyborg doll-like creature that replaces mobile phones) is successful and famous until she falls ill with the allergy and becomes embroiled in a government conspiracy. She loses her job and her wealth, ending up in the ghetto where she meets Icho, a scientist who has invented a cure for HSA.
Icho is on the run from governmental factions and The Elegy Seraphs (the ghetto ‘terrorist’ group), who have their own agenda for the cure. Jane and Icho work together to expose government corruption and bring the cure to the ghetto.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Stunning cover art for MA graduate's novel GOBLIN, published in May by Freight Books

'A captivating and capricious debut’ - Mary Paulson-Ellis, author The Other Mrs Walker
It's been a while coming but this May sees the long-awaited publication of Goblin by Ever Dundas, a graduate of the MA Creative Writing programme at Edinburgh Napier University. [In case you're wondering, the amazing cover art is by her talented husband Cinn.]

Scottish publisher Freight Books is unleashing the novel which started life as Ever's major project while she was on the MA. That makes it the third major project to be published as a novel, following Wasp by Ian Garbutt and Truestory by Catherine Simpson.

Here's the official Freight Books blurb for this utterly beguiling debut:
Goblin is an outcast girl growing up in London during World War Two. After witnessing a shocking event, she increasingly takes refuge in a self-constructed but magical imaginary world. Having been rejected by her mother, she leads a feral life amidst the craters of London’s Blitz, and takes comfort in her family of animals, abandoned pets she’s rescued from the city streets. 

In 2011, a chance meeting and an unwanted phone call compels an elderly Goblin to return to London amidst the riots and face the ghosts of her past. Will she discover the truth buried deep in her fractured memory or retreat to the safety of near madness?
We couldn't be more pleased to see Goblin revealed at last. Ever was a part-time student during the first two years of our programme, when her short stories were already winning praise and prizes. She is represented by Jenny Brown at Jenny Brown Associates.

Monday, February 20, 2017

New books from MA Creative Writing lecturers, 2000AD signing event in Edinburgh this Friday

It's not just students on the MA Creative Writing programme at Edinburgh Napier who are getting their work published - lecturers David Bishop and Laura Lam both have books coming this spring. 

Indeed, the first book is already out - it's THRILL-POWER OVERLOAD, an unfiltered history of iconic British comic 2000AD, written by David and one of our graduate students, Karl Stock.

On sale now: #TPO40 by David Bishop & Karl Stock
This massive hardback started life as a series of articles written by former 2000AD editor David to mark the comic's 25th anniversary back in 2002, before being revised into a book for the 30th birthday. Now the story has been updated again - this time by Karl - for 2000AD's ruby anniversary.

The full colour, lushly illustrated tome was launched in London a few days ago, but now Scottish readers have a chance to get their copy signed by both authors during a special 2000AD 40th birthday signing at Waterstones West End in Edinburgh at 12.30pm this Friday, February 24th

Published March 2017: Masquerade by Laura Lam
Next month Tor Books is publishing Masquerade by Laura Lam, the long-awaited final volume in her Micah Grey trilogy. The  fantasy series was launched back in 2013 when Pantomime was released by YA publisher Strange Chemistry, soon followed by the second book Shadowplay. 

But Micah Grey, the other characters - and readers - were left in limbo after the imprint went out of business. Happily Tor picked up the rights to Pantomime and Shadowplay, reissuing them as paperbacks and commissioning the final novel in the award-winning series.

Advance copy of Shattered Minds by Laura Lam
Laura already has another book being prepped for publication in Shattered Minds, the second novel in her Pacifica series. [The first volume, False Hearts, was released to considerable acclaim last summer and was a BBC Radio 2 Book Club selection. It's getting published in paperback this April]

Advanced reading copies of Shattered Minds are now out in the world, with the official hardback in bookshops this June. It's going to be a busy year!

Monday, January 23, 2017

2017 news bonanza: BSFA awards story longlist, Oran Mor play & acclaimed authors visit MA

The new year has brought plenty of good news for the genre fiction focused MA Creative Writing programme at Edinburgh Napier University.

MA graduate Caroline Grebbell
Recent graduate Caroline Grebbell is rubbing shoulders with acclaimed authors such as China Miéville, Una McCormack and Bruce Sterling on the longlist for the British Science Fiction 2017 Awards for short story.

Her story Model Organisms was first published in Scottish SF journal Shoreline of Infinity last summer, but was originally written as a homework exercise on the MA's Writing Genre Fiction module.

Caroline was surprised but delighted by the longlist news. "Not quite sure how that happened but very exciting all the same," she said. "Not a bad wee journey for a Genre homework!"

Another recent graduate is also celebrating a 2017 success. Jane Livingstone has collaborated with Jonathan Cairney on Jocky Wilson Said, a new play being staged at Glasgow's prestigious Òran Mór venue in March this year. Set in 1979, the play focuses on what happens when Scottish darts star Jocky Wilson finds himself alone on the road in America during an exhibition tour.

The play will be performed March 20-25 as part of this year's first A Play, A Pie and A Pint season, one of Scotland's premier showcases for new plays. It is a second commission from A Play, A Pie and A Pint for Jane. She was also featured last season with her play Miss Veitch's Roses, which she developed through mentoring on the Creative Writing MA at Edinburgh Napier.

Laura Lam (l), V E Schwab & Dhonielle Clayoton
The new year is also promising plenty of exciting new guest speakers for current students on the MA programme. Last Friday's Writing Genre Fiction class was treated to not one but two acclaimed writers, Victoria [V.E.] Schwab and Dhonielle Clayton, talking about writing, their divergent career paths and the importance of diversity representation in genre fiction.

Dhonielle Clayton is co-writer of the Tiny Pretty Things series and co-founder of Cake Literary, a book development agency that focuses on handcrafted yet high concept stories for readers of middle grade, YA and women's fiction, all with diversity at their heart. Victoria Schwab is a New York Times bestselling author of the Gathering of Shadows fantasy series, and other books.

Both speakers offered fascinating and funny insights into being a professional writer of genre fiction, and the life that lies ahead for our students once they graduate from the programme.

The MA  team has several more guest speakers lined up for the rest of this trimester, but 2017 is already off to a cracking start. Onwards!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Laura Lam & Elizabeth May @ Waterstone's Edinburgh West End tomorrow

New MA Creative Writing lecturer Laura Lam and her fellow writer Elizabeth May will be discussing their latest novels tomorrow night [Thursday, September 8th] at Waterstone's Edinburgh West End.

The event coincides with Laura's first day of teaching on the creative writing programme at Edinburgh Napier University, so there might well be a few of our students in the audience.

Laura will be talking about her SF thriller False Hearts - a radical departure from the YA fantasy novels in her beloved Micah Grey series. But the new direction has brought great reviews and a place on the BBC Radio 2 Book Club.

Elizabeth will be talking about The Falconer and its sequel, The Vanishing Throne - the first two volumes of an acclaimed YA fantasy trilogy set partially in Edinburgh. [You can read more about Elizabeth May and her books here.]

The events starts at 6.30pm [click here for ticket details].

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Acclaimed author Laura Lam to teach on Creative Writing MA at Edinburgh Napier

Laura Lam • photo by Elizabeth May
We are delighted to announce that acclaimed author Laura Lam is now a part-time lecturer with the MA Creative Writing programme at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland. She will be mentoring students and teaching on several modules 1.5 days a week until at least the end of this calendar year.

Laura has long been a friend of the course, appearing as a guest speaker several times since the 2013 publication of her first novel, the award-winning YA fantasy Pantomime - book one of the acclaimed Micah Grey trilogy. [The final volume, Masquerade, is out early 2017.]

Her career has blossomed in the past three years, with her speculative fiction thriller False Hearts published to stunning reviews in June this year and being chosen for the BBC Radio 2 Book Club.

The Creative Writing programme at Edinburgh Napier has been fortunate to host several outstanding writers in residence, including multi-award-winning science fiction visionary Ken MacLeod and Robert Shearman, who scripted the episode of Doctor Who that reintroduced the Daleks in 2005.

But Laura is the first addition to our teaching staff since the MA launched in 2009, joining former literary agent Sam Boyce and ex-2000AD editor David Bishop. We're absolutely delighted to welcome Laura to the course.

"I'm thrilled to join the team at Edinburgh Napier," she says. "I've loved visiting the Creative Writing MA here and interacting with such enthusiastic, talented genre fiction writers. I'm looking forward to meeting the new group of students when they arrive next month, sharing what I know with them, and watching them grow as writers."

Laura is represented by Juliet Mushens of United Talent Agency. If you'd like to know more about Laura and her writing, visit her website here. 

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Launched in 2009, the Creative Writing MA programme at Edinburgh Napier has won acclaimed for its innovative approach to teaching and learning. Eschewing peer review workshops and poetry, it focuses on genre fiction, crafting scripts for graphic novels, and experimental writing.

The MA is already full for this September, but will re-open on 10/10/2016 for applications to join the September 2017 cohort. If you want to know more about our unique selection process, click here - and if you're ready to apply, click the relevant button at the upper right hand side of this blog.