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!

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