Monday, January 14, 2019

Stunning new books and literary zines coming from MA Creative Writing graduates in 2019

We couldn't be prouder to welcome news of two stunning books from graduates of the Creative Writing MA at Edinburgh Napier University, both coming your way in 2019!

February sees the launch of When I Had a Little Sister, a memoir by Catherine Simpson. She started work on an early version of this compelling narrative while studying on the MA programme.

Publisher Fourth Estate describes the book as "a searingly honest and heartbreaking account of growing up in a farming family, and of Catherine's search for understanding into what led a younger sister to kill herself at 46. It's a story of sisters and sacrifice, grief and reclamation, and of the need to speak the unspeakable."

When I Had a Little Sister is already attracting amazing blurbs from noted authors. Janice Galloway writes that "this book’s secret weapon - alongside the strength and power of its story - is the remarkable voice that fires from the page to the heart with no hesitation at all. Just Wonderful."

James Robertson saus "Catherine Simpson’s memoir of her sister Tricia’s suicide mixes the coolness of her journalistic training with the subjective pain of loss in dreadful circumstances. But something else is on these pages: frustration and anger – with Tricia, with herself and with other relatives – that if only the family tradition of silence and the suppression of feelings had been challenged earlier things might have been different. In analysing the inherited values and habits of a lifetime, Simpson breaks the silence and liberates herself."

June sees the launch of This House of Wounds, the first collection by MA graduate Georgina Bruce. Published by Undertow, it features incredible cover art by Catrin Welz-Stein.

Since graduating Georgina's powerful and often perturbing narratives have been published in numerous titles, including Interzone, Black Static and many other notable fiction journals. Georgina's story White Rabbit won the 2017 British Fantasy Award for short fiction - a stunning achievement. Now Undertow is gathering a hand-picked selection of these memorable narratives.

Last Halloween we celebrated the launch of Blood Bath Literary Zine. Created and edited by another MA graduate, Katy Lennon, Blood Bath is dedicated to exposing Scottish fiction’s weird horror underbelly, publishing horror/genre poetry, short stories and illustrations.

The first issue was devoted to BODIES, and featured work by Kristy Falconer - a currnet student on our MA programme - alongside that of one of our award-winning graduates, Ever Dundas. Blood Bath is now accepting submissions on the theme of DEMONS for its second issue - deadline if February 14th, 2019. Click here to find out more about this disturbing new literary zine!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

MA Creative Writing prepares to welcome 10th cohort @EdinburghNapier University

This is the calm between the cohorts. We had final tutorials with students from our 2017-18 cohort last week, and they are now venturing out into the wider community of writing and reading. Meanwhile Edinburgh has bid a fond farewell to the world's largest arts festival, giving the city a chance to breath a sigh of relief and collapse on the nearest sofa or bench for a while.

It's been an amazing summer, topped off by the majestic Edinburgh International Book Festival. Best-selling book at the festival this year was Scotland's literary journal Gutter, whose 18th issue came bound with a collection of essays called The Freedom Papers. Two graduates from our MA had work in that mighty tome, Catherine Simpson in Gutter 18 ad Ever Dundas in The Freedom papers.

From left: Robin Spinks, Ever Dundas, and Ali Millar-McMeeken
Ever was a guest speaker at the book festival, debating the intersections of freedom, technology and disability with Robin Spinks of the RNIB. This fascinating event was chaired by another graduate of Edinburgh Napier's Creative Writing MA, Ali Millar-McMeeken [see photo above]. Across town a current MA student, Noelle Harrison, read from her newly published novel The Gravity of Love in a book fringe festival at Blackwell's Bookshop.

With the festival over and temperatures turning toward the autumnal, the programme team are being preparing for the 2018-19 academic year - and our tenth cohort! Hard to believe the Creative Writing MA has been running since 2009, but it's also a joy to see so many graduates being published, winning prizes, and going on to complete PhDs.

The class of 2018-19 is going to be our biggest cohort ever, with close to 20 full-time students, many of them joining us from across the Atlantic. It's always exciting to welcome a new cohort, to see what stories they want to write, the themes they want to explore and the genres they want to challenge. For now, as ever, there is only one thing left to say: onwards!

Monday, May 28, 2018

We are now wait-listing new applicants for our Creative Writing MA September 2018 cohort!

The MA Creative Writing programme at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland is now wait-listing new applicants for our September 2018 cohort. The programme is proving incredibly popular this year, with an amazingly high standard of applications.

As a result, we have already offered all the full-time and part-time places available for the coming academic year, which starts in September 2018. That doesn't mean we are closed to new applications - not yet! But we believe it is only fair to warn people about the waiting list.

Much as we hope to work with all the applicants to whom we make an offer, one or two are unable to take up their place most years - often due to a change in their personal or financial circumstances. Some defer starting for a year, others withdraw their application.

If and when some with an offer lets us know they can't take their place this year, we offer it to the next successful applicant on the waiting list. So if you are thinking about applying to our MA this year, don't delay any longer!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Successes for our MA Creative Writing students

The Creative Writing MA programme at Edinburgh Napier is celebrating successes for two of our current cohort - one is having a novel published this money, while the other got to the final twelve for a prestigious crime writing contest.

Noëlle Harrison is a first-year part-time student on the MA, but that hasn't stopped her getting a novel published by Edinburgh imprint Black and White. The Gravity of Love [due out May 24th] is a tale about love, loss and the search for answers, moving between the Swinging Sixties in London and late 1980s life in Arizona and Ireland.

This isn't Noëlle's first published novel, but she joined the Creative Writing MA at Edinburgh Napier to challenge herself creatively. 'This book was written before I joined the course, but I changed the last chapter after taking the First Person Narrative.'

Author Sandra Ireland described The Gravity of Love as 'a vivid, gripping tale of family secrets and lost love', while writer Liz Nugent says 'Noëlle Harrison connects her beautifully drawn characters and weaves them into a story that entangled, enchanted and entranced this reader' - high praise!

The First Person Narrative module also proved fruitful for full-time student Vicki Ridley. She used feedback to revise a short story she wrote for that class, and entered it into the prestigious Margery Allingham Short Story Competition. Run by the Crime Writers' Association, this contest attracts hundreds of entries from around the world, many by published authors.

Vicki's story Dead Coral was one of twelve longlisted from all the 2018 entries - not bad for a module assessment! 'It's a huge honour,' Vicki said on Twitter when the final twelve were announced, 'I am so excited!'

Alas, Vicki's tale of a murderous diving trip didn't make the shortlist but getting on the longlist is a notable achievement for someone still completing their Masters in Creative Writing. We can't wait to read what nefarious narratives Vicki and all our other talented students write next!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Celebrating MA Creative Writing student success

Gutter No. 17
Two current students on the MA Creative Writing programme at Edinburgh Napier University are celebrating fresh success in 2018.

First-year part-timer Noëlle Harrison has a story in issue 17 of Gutter, one of Scotland's most acclaimed publishers of new writing. Vardo's Daughters is a chilling tale of treachery and lies set in the witch-fearing past of Norway. Gutter is now run by an independent cooperative after surviving a tumultuous 2017 in Scottish publishing.

Second-year part-timer Jenny Bloomfield is one of the creators contributing to WE SHALL FIGHT UNTIL WE WIN, a graphic novel marking a century since the first wave of women gained the right to vote in the UK.

The 64-page anthology by 404 Ink and BHP Comics is being created by celebrated writers and artists including Denise Mina, Hannah Berry, Durre Shahwar and Grace Wilson. A Kickstarter campaign seeking £8000 to help fund the project hit its target in just 15 days.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Award-winning author joins the MA Creative Writing programme team at Edinburgh Napier

Daniel Shand joins MA teaching team
We're delighted to announce that Daniel Shand has joined the teaching team for Edinburgh Napier University's acclaimed Creative Writing MA programme.

Daniel won the prestigious Betty Trask Prize in 2017 for his debut Fallow, published by Sandstone Press. He has a PhD in Creative Writing from University of Edinburgh, where he won the Sloan Prize for fiction in 2012.

Daniel joins programme leader David Bishop and lecturer Laura Lam on the teaching team, helping shape the MA's unique mix of genre and YA fiction, alongside popular narrative strands like writing graphic novels. The trio also delivers an undergraduate module in genre writing.

'I'm very pleased to be working with David and Laura,' Daniel says. 'Having looked at some of the ideas and materials we'll be working with, it's definitely an exciting and challenging course - I'm eager to get started.'

He won the Saltire Society International Travel Bursary for Literature in 2016, and his debut Fallow was shortlisted for the Saltire Literature Award for Best First Book last year. [Ironically, that prize went to Goblin, the debut novel by Ever Dundas, a graduate of the Creative Writing MA at Edinburgh Napier!] 

Daniel's arrival makes our teaching team three-strong again, following the departure of Sam Boyce. She was programme leader for eight years, creating the MA's unique approach to creative writing pedagogy from scratch with David Bishop. Sam is now running a highly successful writers' consultancy in Edinburgh, helping novelists and non-fiction writers finish their manuscripts - read all about it here.

Friday, December 8, 2017

MA graduate Ever Dundas wins Saltire Society First Book Award - Goblin gets republished!

Ever Dundas • photo by Graham Clark
It's been an amazing week for Edinburgh Napier MA Creative Writing graduate Ever Dundas: she won the prestigious Saltire Society First Book of the Year Award for her debut and, six days later, the prize-winning novel Goblin was republished by Saraband Books.

'For every world-be writer it is fantastic simply to get your book published,' Ever says. 'But for it to also win a major literary award... it's an absolute dream.'

'Writing may seem like a solo effort, but it takes a lot of people for a book to come together,' Ever says. 'Thanks to everyone who's helped - family and friends, my agent and publishers, fellow writers and inspirational artists. Goblin wouldn't be here without you.'

Ever started work on Goblin while a part-time student on the Creative Writing programme at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland. Indeed, it was her Major Project on the MA, the creative capstone of all her endeavours with us.

She paid a special tribute to the Edinburgh Napier MA on Twitter not long after winning her award: 'I couldn't have done it without the support, guidance, expertise, and raised eyebrows of doom of @davidbishop and @SamBoyceEditor.'

The novel was originally published by Freight in May but escaped that company's demise to be reborn by Saraband Books - just in time for Christmas. Publisher Sara Hunt is full of praise for the book and its author.

'Ever ... so richly deserves this award. The book itself has echoes of Jeanette Winterson and Angela Carter: it is a superb piece of writing. In Goblin, Ever has created a character to die for.'

The Guardian newspaper made the novel its Book of the Day on Wednesday, with reviewer Peter Ross describing it as a terrific debut full of reckless joy:
It is a celebration of freakery, of creating one’s own family; a meditation on trauma and loss and abandonment (in both senses of that word) which, somehow, is never bleak.
The MA programme team couldn't be prouder of Ever's achievement. Like all good writers, she's already hard at work on her next narrative, Hell Sans. We can't wait to read what she writes next!