Tuesday, March 22, 2022

New memoirs coming from MA Creative Writing graduates Catherine Simpson & Ali Millar

We're delighted that two graduates of the MA Creative Writing programme at Edinburgh Napier University are publishing memoirs this year - One Body by Catherine Simpson (from Saraband Books in April), and The Last Days by Ali Millar (Ebury Press, July).

One Body is described as 'the candid and often darkly funny story of how Catherine navigates her cancer treatment and takes stock of the emotions and reflections it provokes, until she is in remission. She comes to appreciate the skin she is in – to be grateful for her body and all that it does and is.'

It is Catherine's second volume of memoir, following on from the acclaimed When I Had a Little Sister was published by 4th Estate in 2019 to great acclaim. She received a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award not long after graduating from the MA, and her debut novel Truestory was published in 2015. She has been published in numerous anthologies and magazines, and been broadcast on BBC Radio.

The Last Days by Ali Millar is described as 'a tale of love and darkness, of faith and absolution ... one woman's courageous journey to freedom from the Jehovah's Witnesses. It is one of the Scotsman's 2022 books to watch.

Since graduating Ali has worked in Edinburgh and London,as a producer and broadcast journalist. The Last Days will be her first published book, exploring a childhood growing up in the shadow of religion. It asks the question, can you escape from the life into which you were born?

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Angry Robot Books publishing second novel by award-winning MA graduate Ever Dundas

Author Ever Dundas
Author Ever Dundas
Acclaimed publisher Angry Robot Books has acquired the second novel by award-winning MA Creative Writing graduate Ever Dundas. The science fiction thriller HellSans will be published in January 2023.

The novel is set in a fictional UK, where HellSans is a ubiquitous typeface, enforced by the government in all communications and in all public spaces as the ultimate control device. The majority of the population experience bliss when they see the typeface, but there’s a minority who are allergic to it. HellSans Allergy Sufferers (HSAs) are persecuted, and live on the streets or in a ghetto on the outskirts of the capital.

HellSans was written as a response to my experience as a disabled person in Tory austerity UK,' Dundas explains. 'When the pandemic hit, everyone talked about suddenly existing in a dystopia, but disabled people had already been living a dystopia of stigma and discrimination for over a decade. HellSans is first and foremost a science fiction thriller but also reflection of that experience.'

Dundas won the Saltire First Book of the Year Award for debut novel Goblin, which was their Major Project while studying on the Creative Writing MA programme at Edinburgh Napier University. 

HellSans was acquired by Angry robot editor Simon Spanton who describes the novel as fierce, fast and fun. 'It shines a bright light on how society works against the marginalised. Passionate but never preachy, HellSans does exactly what SF does best: makes you think about how things are and how things could be. Being able to welcome Ever, such an active and involved voice in so many parts of the Scottish publishing scene, to Angry Robot is a really exciting development for us.'

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Oneworld buys debut novel from MA Creative Writing graduate Pim Wangtechawat!

Great news today as UK publisher Oneworld has scooped the debut novel by Thai-Chinese writer Pim Wangtechawat, a recent graduate of our MA Creative Writing programme. 

The Moon Represents My Heart was acquired in a two-book deal and will be published as the super-lead title in spring 2023. Italian rights have also been sold to publisher Keller Editore.The novel was Pim's major project while she was studying at Edinburgh Napier University from 2019-20,

The Moon Represents My Heart follows the generations of a British-Chinese family of time travellers. When Tommy’s parents time-travel and never return, time stands still. But as everyone begins to move forward, Tommy is stuck in the past which has ramifications for his life in the present. The Moon Represents My Heart is described as "a story about relationships between parent and child, whether one can accept the choices of the other, and whether they would make the same decision again".

Publisher Juliet Mabey told trade industry weekly The Bookseller that "Pim has written a truly heart-warming, richly poetic novel, brimming with tenderness, joy and loss, and I found myself rooting for each character in this immersive, multivocal time-travelling novel. Sitting in that wonderful sweet spot between literary and upmarket fiction, I’m incredibly excited to be able to include it in the launch list for our new commercial fiction imprint here at Oneworld.”

Earlier this year Pim signed with literary agent Liza DeBlock at Mushens Entertainment. "I absolutely loved The Moon Represents My Heart and Pim’s writing is gorgeous,' says DeBlock. "I laughed, I cried, and this story made me relive every best day of my life.”

"I’m beyond excited that The Moon Represents My Heart — a deeply personal debut inspired by my Chinese heritage — has found the perfect home," Pim told The Bookseller. "As an author from Bangkok writing in my second language, it is a lifelong dream to have my novel published!"

The whole Creative Writing team at Edinburgh Napier University congratulates Pim on her success, and we can't wait to read the finished novel when it is published in 2023. Time travel, family heartbreak and a surprise cameo by a famous martial arts star - it's going to be epic!

We are now OPEN for Sept 2022 applications! Plus: how we select you, what makes us unique

The Creative Writing MA at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland is now OPEN for applications to join our September 2022 cohort. Full details about our selection process can be found below, but we are already looking at applications for our next student cohort!

We have a rolling selection process. If you successfully complete all three stages, we offer you a place within 24 hours of being interviewed by us. That means we usually start wait-listing people from May each year. Some places are already occupied in the September 2022 cohort by students who deferred starting for a year due to the pandemic. That means the remaining places are likely to fill up fast. The sooner you apply, the better!

That's especially true for part-time applicants. We only take four or five new part-time students each year, and we've already got people with deferred part-time offers for September 2022. So if you're thinking of applying as a part-time student, do not delay.

What makes our creative writing MA so popular? For a start, we put genre fiction front and centre in our course. If you love science fiction, fantasy, crime, horror or historical, many creative writing MFAs and MAs don't want to know - but we embrace great genre writing and people who want to write it.

Another unique focus at Edinburgh Napier is graphic novels and comics, which most programmes ignore. We love this medium so much we devote an entire module about it, Writing Graphic Fiction. [Good news: no talent for drawing required!] We also offer a special focus on Young Adult fiction.

Edinburgh Napier's creative writing MA does not have a poetry option. I repeat, we do not teach poetry. There are many great courses with brilliant poets on their faculty - if you want to study poetry, seek those out. We have had prize-winning poets as students on our programme, but we don't teach poetry.

There are no peer review workshops in Creative Writing MA classes at Edinburgh Napier. I repeat, no peer review workshops. This boggles the mind of some people, as such workshops are the dominant teaching style for creative writing pretty much everywhere else. But we don't have them in our classes. 

Instead, you are encouraged to critically self-reflect on your work [with prompts from us], and to share that thinking. You get professional editorial feedback on your writing and your self-reflection skills, delivered masterclass-style in class. And you get six hours of one-to-one mentoring.

If that sounds enticing, here's how you apply for our course. Like so much of our programme, the admissions process we use to select students also seems to be unique...


First, you fill in and submit an application form [there are links to an online version top right of this page]. We welcome applicants who already have a degree - it doesn't have to be in English, English literature or some form of creative writing. We also recognise prior learning and writing experience in those who don't have a degree yet.

The crucial section of your form is the personal statement. This is where you tell us about your aspirations as a writer, and why our programme can help. Here's a hint: don't just copy and paste in your usual personal statement. We look to see if applicants have done their research on the course and have enthusiasm for our specialisms.

Do your homework and research our programme. Read the other entries on this blog. If you want your application taken seriously, show us you've taken our course seriously. Remember, your personal statement is also a chance to showcase your ability as a writer. So blow our socks off!

All being well, we'll progress you to the next stage of our selection process. We don't expect a writing sample with your application. Instead we'll invite you to undertake a writing challenge. We ask you to write us an original short story of up to 500 words, and you'll have a week to submit. This matches the writing challenges students face many weeks on our MA.

We give you a choice of first sentences. You select one and use that as the opening for your story. We let you decide when to receive the brief, so you can choose a week to suit you. And we include the criteria used to assess your story, so the process is transparent.

Once you've sent in your story, we read and assess it. Some applicants get turned away at this stage - we take roughly one out of every five people who apply. But if your story shows promise, we will invite you to an online interview.

The interview lasts up to an hour. During that time we use a teaching and learning activity from our course to assess you. This also gives you insight into our programme and how we teach. Your interview should be an enjoyable experience, and not an interrogation!

We let you know within a day if we're offering you a place - no waiting for months to find out [and no fee to apply, either!]. We use a rolling admissions process: once we're full, we're full. 
 
If you still have any questions, get in touch before you apply. Email programme leader David Bishop here: d.bishop@napier.ac.uk. The sooner you apply, the better your chances...

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Closed for 2021 applications, but we re-open for 2022 applications on November 1st, 2021

We are now closed to applications from anyone seeking to join our September 2021 intake. The MA Creative Writing programme at Edinburgh Napier University is officially full for this coming academic year, with our incoming students already doing prep work before joining us next month.

We re-open on November 1st 2021 for applications to join our September 2022 intake [links at the top of the column on the right]. There are already several students with deferred offers for next year, so we would encourage those interested in applying to do so well before Easter 2022.

Monday, October 26, 2020

We are now OPEN for Sept 2021 applications! Plus: how we select you, what makes us unique

The Creative Writing MA at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland is now OPEN for applications to join our September 2021 cohort. Full details about our selection process can be found further down this blogpost, but we have already started looking at applications for our next student cohort.


We have a rolling selection process. If you successfully complete all three stages, we will offer you a place within 24 hours of being interviewed by us. That means we usually start wait-listing people from May each year. So if you're thinking of applying, sooner is better.

Half a dozen students who had offers for September 2020 opted to defer their start for a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. That means we already have a few seats occupied for the 2021-22 cohort, so places are likely to fill up fast. The sooner you apply, the better!

That's especially true for part-time applicants. We only take four or five new part-time students each year, and we've already got two people with deferred part-time offers for September 2021. So if you're thinking of applying as a part-time student, do not delay.

What makes our creative writing MA so popular? For a start, we put genre fiction front and centre in our course. If you love science fiction, fantasy, crime or horror, many creative writing MFAs and MAs don't want to know - but we embrace great genre writing and people who want to write it.

Another unique focus at Edinburgh Napier is graphic novels and comics, which most programmes ignore. We love this medium so much we devote an entire module about it, Writing Graphic Fiction. [Good news: no talent for drawing required!] We also specialise in Young Adult fiction, with acclaimed YA author Laura Lam leading a great module on this.

Edinburgh Napier's creative writing MA does not offer a poetry option. I repeat, we do not teach poetry. There are plenty of great courses with brilliant poets on their faculty - if you want to study poetry, seek those out. We have had prize-winning poets as students on our programme, but we don't teach or critique poetry.

There are no peer review workshops in Creative Writing MA classes at Edinburgh Napier. I repeat, no peer review workshops. This boggles the mind of some people, as such workshops are the dominant teaching style for creative writing pretty much everywhere else. But we don't have them in our classes. 

Instead, you are encouraged to critically self-reflect on your work [with prompts from us], and to share that thinking. You get professional editorial feedback on your writing and your self-reflection skills, delivered masterclass-style in class. And you get six hours of one-to-one mentoring.

If that sounds enticing, here's how you apply for our course. Like so much of our programme, the admissions process we use to select students also seems to be unique...


First, you fill in and submit an application form [there are links to an online version top right of this page]. We welcome applicants who already have a degree - it doesn't have to be in English, English literature or some form of creative writing. We also recognise prior learning and writing experience in those who don't have a degree yet.

The crucial section of your form is the personal statement. This is where you tell us about your aspirations as a writer, and why our programme can help. Here's a hint: don't just copy and paste in your usual personal statement. We look to see if applicants have done their research on the course and have enthusiasm for our specialisms.

Do your homework and research our programme. Read the other entries on this blog. If you want your application taken seriously, show us you've taken our course seriously. Remember, your personal statement is also a chance to showcase your ability as a writer. So blow our socks off!

All being well, we'll progress you to the next stage of our selection process. We don't expect a writing sample with your application. Instead we'll invite you to undertake a writing challenge. We ask you to write us an original short story of up to 500 words, and you'll have a week to submit. This matches the writing challenges students face many weeks on our MA.

We give you a choice of first sentences. You select one and use that as the opening for your story. We let you decide when to receive the brief, so you can choose a week to suit you. And we include the criteria used to assess your story, so the process is transparent.

Once you've sent in your story, we read and assess it. Some applicants get turned away at this stage - we take roughly one out of every five people who apply. But if your story shows promise, we will invite you to an interview - via Skype, thanks to the pandemic.

The interview lasts up to an hour. During that time we use a teaching and learning activity from our course to assess you. This also gives you insight into our programme and how we teach. Your interview should be an enjoyable experience, and not an interrogation!

We let you know within a day if we're offering you a place - no waiting for months to find out [and no fee to apply, either!]. We use a rolling admissions process: once we're full, we're full. Our course takes a maximum of 18 full-time students a year, and up to four  or five part-timers who are with us for two years.

If you still have any questions, get in touch before you apply. Email programme leader David Bishop here: d.bishop@napier.ac.uk. The sooner you apply, the better your chances...

Friday, June 12, 2020

MA graduate's Major Project longlisted for Myriad First Graphic Novel Competition

We're delighted that MA Creative Writing graduate Lesley MacNiven has been longlisted for the presitigious Myriad First Graphic Novel Competition with her major project, This Woman's Work.

Lesley devised the narrative while studying for her MA at Edinburgh Napier University and its was the creative capstone of her time on the programme. She has continued to develop it, collaborating with artist Heather Charters on their entry for Myriad.

'I am ecstatic our project has been longlisted in the Myriad First Graphic Novel Competition,' Lesley wrote on Twitter, praising 'mega talented' artist Heather Charters. 'Keep everything crossed we make the shortlist.'

This Woman's Work is a documentary comic designed to inspire action and drive change in furthering gender equality. It examines how the workplace was not designed for women, and how women’s lives have been affected by that. [There's a full page from the project further down this blogpost.]

The graphic novel competition offers the winner(s) an opportunity to have their completed work  published by Myriad Editions. It's a unique opportunity for creators to see their debut graphic novel in print, furthering Myriad’s mission to encourage and nurture new talent.

Myriad has published the graphic novels submitted by first two competitions winners - Gareth Brookes (2012) and Jade Sarson (2014), with the 2018 winner Jenny Robins due to have her graphic novel published next year. Myriad has also published four  shortlisted authors from past years, as well as work by other creators who entered the competition.

The shortlist is due to be announced by the end of this month. We'll be keeping everything crossed for Lesley and Heather, but making the longlist is a massive achievement whatever happens!

This Woman's Work @ Lesley MacNiven & Heather Charters