Monday, May 29, 2017

MA Creative Writing tutor David Bishop given a prestigious Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship

David Bishop • photo © Chris Scott
Edinburgh Napier creative writing tutor David Bishop is one of four writers awarded a prestigious 2017 Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship by Creative Scotland and the Scottish Book Trust.

The fellowship includes a four-week residency at the Hôtel Chevillon International Arts Centre at Grez-sur-Loing, France, enabling each writer chosen to devote themselves to a nominated project. Renowned author Stevenson visited Grez-sur-Loing for four successive summers in the 1870s, attracted by the area and its creative community. He met his future wife Fanny Osborne at the Hôtel Chevillon.

The RLS Fellowship has been running for almost quarter of a century, with past recipient including such as award-winning writers as Janice Galloway, James Robertson and Louise Welsh. Scotland's renowned playwright and poet Liz Lochhead is among the RLS Fellows for 2017.

David Bishop describes the award as a precious gift. 'I've spent more than a decade researching a historical novel that refused to leave my imagination, but have never been able to set aside the time for it. The fellowship gives me a whole month to write and read and think about nothing else. It’s a gift beyond words, but one I plan to repay with as many words as possible.'

More details about the RLS Fellowship can be found here.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Goblin launch a smash hit for MA graduate; reviewers call the novel a "captivating debut"

Photo © Chris Scott
MA Creative Writing graduate Ever Dundas launched her novel Goblin to a packed audience at Edinburgh City Central Library last Thursday, with people queuing down the road to get in. More than a hundred people poured into the event, where Ever talked about starting the novel as her major project while studying for her MA with us at Edinburgh Napier University.

Ever Dundas [photo © Chris Scott]
After reading from the book, Ever had her first signing for Goblin - but the book sold out long before the back of the queue had reached her. The event was a brilliant launch for an novel already attracting glowing reviews both online and in newspapers.

In the Glasgow Herald, Alistair Mabbott considers Goblin "a captivating debut." He describes the novel as an enthralling account and says the writer "presents us with an iconic protagonist: a powerful imaginative force who looks beyond the façade of 20th Century Britain."

Writing for Shiny New Books , novelist Isabel Blackthorn praises the book as "a masterpiece." She calls it a story of the fringes; "it dwells in the cracks in the pavement, in underground places, in netherworlds existing in the ordinary world, in wounds, open or scarred. Normality is a side show."

Published by Freight Books, Goblin is available now from all good booksellers. You can find out more about Ever at her blog, or read a recent fascinating essay she wrote about gender and language at The Skinny.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

This is what 2000+ pages of marking looks like...

We've just finished an epic round of marking, double-marking and moderation for the Creative Writing MA at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland. The photo above captures all the student work we read, thought about, marked and for which we wrote feedback - more than 2000 pages!

Today, tomorrow and Friday are devoted to end of trimester tutorials, plus we're interviewing six different applicants seeking to join our cohort this September. Next week, we have Major Project induction for the seventeen students undertaking the creating capstone of their MA work.

After that, we're looking forward to a week or two of holidays. Onwards!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Student success in crime writing contest; MA graduates staging live show in Edinburgh Fringe

Stuart MacBride performs
MA Creative Writing students from Edinburgh Napier University have won two prizes in the Crime Writers' Association short story competition, run last month to coincide with the CWA conference in Edinburgh.

Anna Ibbotson and Sarah Saville were both runners-up for their stories inspired by the Robert Louis Stevenson quote, The Cruelest Lie. The context was open to students from three different universities with all entry blind-judged, but Edinburgh Napier entries dominated the prizes.

Anna Ibbotson gets her prize
The winning entries were read out by bestselling authors to a rapt crowd at Blackwell's Bookshop in Edinburgh, with Sara Sheridan reading Anna Ibbotson's chilling tale of sibling murder and Stuart MacBride performing Sarah Saville's creepy dramatic monologue with aplomb, before Christopher Brookmyre announced the winners.

The CWA conference is a members only event, but students from our MA cohort were volunteer helpers for the weekend, giving them a rare chance to meet and talk with professional crime writers and agents from across the country.

MA graduate Stuart Pyper
In other news two graduates from the MA are writing and performing a live show about disability in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this August. Unwritten collects the poignant but often comical stories of three disabled individuals with wide-ranging impairments.  

Stuart Pyper and Sasha Callaghan are collaborating with David Nicol on the new show, which has been granted £10,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the HLF’s Stories, Stones & Bones initiative as part of the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.

Unwritten will break new ground at this year’s Fringe as it places disabled people at the heart of the production from the very beginnings to the final performance,’ says Sasha. ‘The support of the HLF has been invaluable to us in telling the story of how disabled people have helped to shape Scotland.’

The production will premiere at Theatre 3, The Space @ Surgeon’s Hall (Venue 53), with previews on Friday 4th and Saturday 5th August 2017, followed by a main run from Monday 7th – Saturday 12th August.