Tuesday, June 28, 2016

New learning journey for part-time MA Creative Writing students @EdinburghNapier University

Two years ago the MA Creative Writing team at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland introduced a new programme structure so students could use mentoring to honed their editorial collaboration skills - and get credits toward their degree for that work.

This September our new cohort of part-timers will embark on a learning journey quite different from anything we've ever done before. In the past, part-timers moved through the Creative Writing MA much the same way that full-timers did, but taking two years instead of one to complete it.

That meant taking pre-writing module Creating Narrative in trimester 1, while also starting two other modules - the practical theoretics challenge of Innovation and Authorship, plus the mentoring module Creative and Editorial Development. In their second year part-timers would then move on to writing practice modules in their second year, leading up to the MA's creative capstone - Major Project.

Our students read everything from Batman to Foucault and beyond...
The new part-time learning journey flips the course structure, swapping the taught trimester elements for years 1 and 2 to create a distinctly different student experience.

From this September new part-time students will spend their first year taking writing practice modules. As soon as they walk through the door we will be asking them to get writing, to start creating short stories and new work. In short, they get to be creative!

In the first trimester, they will take a single taught module - First Person Narrative. In the second trimester, they will choose two writing practice modules from a choice of five. Again, the focus in all of those is on practical creative challenges and development.

To help the new part-timers make the most of these opportunities, they will receive two 60-minute general mentoring sessions. These are not credit-bearing, but will enable the part-timers to hone the one-to-one collaborative skills they'll need to work with agents, editors, artists and other creatives.

In year two of the new part-time learning journey, students focus on full-length narratives and questioning big ideas that will prepare them for the challenge of Major Project.

The pre-writing Creating Narrative is crucial for this, with most students taking the story they develop here through to the end of the MA. Meanwhile Innovation and Authorship will ask them to question their thinking and define their place in a wider culture of ideas.

Running alongside these is our mentoring module, Creative and Editorial Development. This builds on the skills honed during year 1 so part-timers are able to make best use of their mentor and significant steps forward as they prepare for Major Project.

We believe this new structure for part-timers will make for an easier introduction to the programme and for a smoother learning journey toward Major Project. Before making this significant change, we consulted with our current cohort of part-timers - and most of them were envious of the opportunity the new structure will offer to their successors.

PS There is still time - just! - to apply for this September's intake of MA Creative Writing, as several people have deferred their places to next year. [Looks like September 2017 will be jam-packed!] If you are interested, go here to read more about our unique admissions process. To apply, click the relevant link at the top right hand side of this blog.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Exciting news & opportunities for MA Creative Writing @EdinburghNapier University

Now is the perfect time to apply for the MA Creative Writing programme at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland. We've got lots of exciting opportunities and news to share, but - unusually - we also have a few places left for the September 2016 intake.

Most years we are already full by now but several prospective students with unconditional offers of a place on the course have had to defer starting until September 2017. That's a shame for them, but it has created openings for late applications to our acclaimed MA programme.

If you've considered applying but thought it was too late for this September, there is still time to take action. There are direct links to our online application form on the right hand side of this blog - one for full-time students, one for part-timers.

If you want to know more about our MA and the application process, read this blogpost. But enough of the sales pitch, what about our exciting news and opportunities?

Firstly, we're proud to announce the creative writing programmes at Edinburgh Napier in Scotland and Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania, USA have signed an articulation agreement, enabling graduates of our MA to continue their studies on the Writing Popular Fiction MFA at Seton Hill.

What does that actually mean? Most students who graduate from the MA here at Edinburgh Napier have written the first 20,000 words of their Major Project, usually a novel. Going on to Seton Hill will give them continuing support and mentoring to finish that project.

Dr Nicole Peeler, director of the Seton Hill MFA
Seton Hill considers the MA as equivalent to a year spent on the MFA, meaning students articulating from Edinburgh Napier could complete the degree at Seton Hill in just over a year.

The MFA is a low residency programme [akin to distance learning], so students work from home most of the year and visit the Greensburg campus for week-long residencies.

And Seton Hill is offering a significant fee discount for the first few Edinburgh Napier MA Creative Writing graduates who articulate to the MFA.

Urban fantasy writer Nicole Peeler is director of the Writing Popular Fiction programme at Seton Hill, and is an enthusiastic supporter of the new agreement. [Click her name in this paragraph to read more about the MFA.]

More news: the Creative Writing MA programme team at Edinburgh Napier is expanding. We are in the final stages of recruiting a new part-time lecturer to help us grow and enhance the course.

Interviews are being held next month and - fingers crossed! - the new team member should be in place for the start of the 2016-17 academic year this September. Watch this space for more news...

One last piece of news: we are introducing a new learning journey for part-time students on our MA. When we discussed what we were doing with the current crop of part-timers, several of them admitted being jealous of the new structure their successors will enjoy!

Watch out for another blogpost later this week revealing the new-look part-time Creative Writing MA here at Edinburgh Napier. Frankly, we're not sure why we didn't think of it sooner... Onwards!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Freight Books to publish major project novel GOBLIN by MA graduate Ever Dundas in 2017

Ever Dundas signing her contract (photo © Jenny Brown Associates)
Hearty congratulations to Edinburgh Napier MA Creative Writing graduate Ever Dundas, whose debut novel Goblin will be published by Freight Books next spring.

It has been a long journey for this unique story. Ever wrote the opening chapters of Goblin as her major project while a part-time student on the MA between 2009 and 2011. She pitched it to Scotland's leading literary agent Jenny Brown in 2013, and completed Goblin 18 months later.

Now it has been contracted for 2017 by Glasgow's Freight Books, which was recently named Scottish Publisher of the Year at the Saltire Awards. We asked Ever how she felt after so many years of hard work to reach this point.

“I’m thrilled to be on Team Freight and I’m very much looking forward to unleashing Goblin on the world," she said. "It’s been a long and difficult journey to get here – I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia a few years ago, and trying to cope with chronic illness as I pursue a writing career has been a challenge. I wouldn’t have made it this far without the love and support of my amazing husband, Cinn.”

Goblin will become the third novel published that was a major project novel by a graduate from the Creative Writing MA at Edinburgh Napier University, following on from Wasp by Ian Garbutt and Catherine Simpson's Truestory. Here's a synopsis of the novel:
GOBLIN opens during the London Blitz and nine year old Goblin is running amok over the bomb sites, dog at heel, with her ragged gang of friends. One day she witnesses an atrocity. A fervent animal lover, Goblin is appalled by the piled up mounds of dead pets, the pet massacre, and she takes photographs – but she also captures on film an incident which leaves her traumatised. Goblin buries the camera in a cemetery and erases the episode from her mind.

She’s evacuated to the country and on her return finds her house standing but parents and beloved brother gone. She creates her own family from stray animals, and her imaginary friends, Queen Isabella, the Lizard Queen and Monsta who stay with her even into adulthood. She tells stories to herself (and anyone who will listen) to try to make sense of her chaotic world, she joins a circus, grows up and, wherever she goes, she searches for her missing brother.

In 2011 London is again alight during the Riots, and by this time Goblin is an old woman, living in Edinburgh with her menagerie. The camera is discovered by a cemetery caretaker, the photographs are developed and released to the press, and Britain is outraged to learn about the massacre of pets seventy years before. But the police also discover the last photograph, and the nation’s shock changes to a murder investigation.

The hunt is on for the adult who took those photographs as a child, the only one who can help police with enquiries. Should Goblin turn herself in and force herself to remember the event which changed her life forever? Only by writing down her memories can she come to terms with the past.

Monday, April 11, 2016

National Library hosts @EdinburghNapier MA Creative Writing graduate's event, May 10th

Catherine Simpson
On May 10th the National Library of Scotland is hosting an event about the debut novel by Catherine Simpson, a first for a graduate of the Creative Writing MA programme at Edinburgh Napier University.

Catherine's novel Truestory was originally written as her major project while studying for her MA part-time. She continued working on the book after graduating and it was published by Sandstone Press last September.

Catherine will be talking about her novel with BBC Arts producer Serena Field at the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh from 6pm on Tuesday, May 10th - tickets are free, available online here.

Her novel Truestory
Truestory is the wry and moving tale of a Lancashire farmer's wife whose life is dictated by caring for her autistic son Sam. Catherine has participated in numerous events to promote the book, such the Aye Write! Literary Festival in Glasgow last month.

She has not been resting on her laurels. A short story Catherine developed while studying on the MA has been selected for the next volume of prestigious annual anthology New Writing Scotland, and she's already hard at work on her second novel.

Friday, February 19, 2016

MA Creative Writing graduate Sasha Callaghan wins Emerging Writer Fellowship in USA

A Public Space - cover of Winter 2015 edition
A 2015 graduate from the Creative Writing MA programme at Edinburgh Napier has been selected as an Emerging Writer Fellow by A Public Space, an independent magazine of literature and culture published in New York.

Sasha Callaghan was one of three winners for this prestigious accolade, selected from more than 1100 entries submitted by writers around the world - the other two winners were from California and Botswana.

Each of them will receive mentoring from an established writer and contributor to A Public Space magazine, $1000 and their prize-winning stories will be published in a future issue.

Sasha's entry - A List of Some Things That Martin Knows - was originally written as homework for the First Person Narrative module at Edinburgh Napier, and developed into an assessment submission.

"I was amazed to find out that a story I'd written ... was one of the winners," Sasha says. She had submitted with few expectations, having been turned down for other mentoring opportunities closer to home in the UK. Sasha takes this as proof that persistence pays off: "Just keep going."

A part-time student on our Creative Writing MA, she graduated with a Distinction and also received the Edinburgh Napier University medal for her outstanding results. Since then Sasha has continued work on her major project, a graphic novel about the short but remarkable life of Adelaide Foltinowicz and her relationship with decadent poet Ernest Dowson.

Massive congratulations to Sasha - we can't wait to see what you do next!

Friday, February 12, 2016

@EdinburghNapier MA Creative Writing graduate Dee Raspin wins science fiction prize

Edinburgh Napier MA graduate Dee Raspin
Congratulations to one of our MA Creative Writing graduates on winning her first writing competition. Dee Raspin took first prize in a contest run by Shoreline of Infinity, a groundbreaking Scottish magazine devoted to innovative science fiction stories and illustration.

Entrants were challenged to craft a tale that took its inspiration from specially commissioned images by Scottish artist Stephen Pickering. Dee won for her story The Great Golden Fish, which Shoreline of Infinity calls 'an enchanting blend of Scottish folk tale and science fiction'.

Dee graduated as part of the 2013-14 cohort on the MA Creative Writing programme at Edinburgh Napier University. You can follow her on Twitter, and read her prize-winning story in Shoreline of Infinity #3, due out next month in PDF and print formats.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

TRUESTORY by MA Creative Writing graduate launches with masses of media coverage

Catherine Simpson signing Truestory
Hearty congratulations are overdue for Catherine Simpson, whose debut novel Truestory had a standing room only launch last month. The book started life as Catherine's major project when she was a student on our Creative Writing MA programme at Edinburgh Napier University, and we couldn't be prouder of her achievement with this novel.

Catherine and the publishing team at Sandstone have done an amazing job generating media coverage for the paperback, with related pieces in the Daily Telegraph, the Glasgow Herald and numerous other places [e.g. here, here and here]. Having just graced the Portobello Book Festival, she's talking at the Dundee Literary Festival later this month - 5.30pm on Friday Oct. 23rd, to be precise.

The official launch event at Waterstones in central Edinburgh was one of the best attended in years, according to staff at the central city bookstore. The numbers were swollen by Catherine's friends and family who came from far and wide for the launch.

Standing room only at the Truestory launch in Edinburgh
But it was also gratifying to see more than a few students past and present from the Creative Writing MA along to support the new book. Since graduating from the programme Catherine has kept building on what she learned with us. Her work has been shortlisted in prestigious competitions, and she has performed several times at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

The success of Truestory is proof that talent, strategy and graft do reap rewards, if not always as fast as most writers would like. Catherine's book is the second major project from the MA programme at Edinburgh Napier to be published, following on from Wasp by Ian Garbutt earlier this year. We look forward to seeing more of our graduates achieve this breakthrough!