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Núria Ruiz, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2011 – 2012

September 29th, 2011 by Nuria_Ruiz | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Núria Ruiz, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2011 – 2012
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I love to read.  I love books.  I love magazines and newspapers.  I relied on, if not quite loved, journals and scholarly monographs during my undergraduate degree in Cultural History at the University of Aberdeen.  I even like the nutritional information on cereal boxes in the morning, just to ease me into the day.  It might be an old cliché in the publishing industry, but I came to the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication because I love reading and I knew that working with books, or magazines or journals, was something very important to me.

I decided to continue my studies on the MLitt in Publishing Studies at Stirling University because although I had a passion, I wanted to develop my professional skills before entering the job market.  There are a number of postgraduate courses in Scotland and England, but Stirling’s blend of creative, business and practical modules appealed instantly.  Publishing, after all, is not only about editing and the Centre’s socio-cultural modules offered me a chance to pursue my academic interests.  My undergraduate dissertation examined the impact of imperialism on the culture of childhood in Edwardian Britain; a large part of my research actually focused on the development of the publishing industry and its output.

Already this semester has been a steep learning curve, but my fellow students and I have more than risen to the challenge!  I’m so glad I made the decision to come to Stirling and I look forward to developing my creative and practical publishing skills even more in the next few months.

Breaking In and Standing Out

September 25th, 2011 by Claire_Squires | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Breaking In and Standing Out
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Suzanne Kavanagh of Skillset

A report on career advice from Suzanne Kavanagh, Visiting Speaker Semester 1, 2011-12, by Rachel Chase

Though Suzanne Kavanagh announced that her intention was to “scare” the publishing students at the University of Stirling on Thursday, September 22nd, she cleverly presented her material in a way that was more optimistic than frightening.

Suzanne works for a not-for-profit organization called Skillset. At Skillset, she supports individuals and businesses in the creative industries by offering them skills and training. She has been involved in the publishing industry for 16 years (specifically marketing) and she was kind enough to share her vast knowledge with us about making a career in publishing.

Though her presentation was not “scary” overall, it did have some frightening elements. Take, for example, the fact that sixty-seven per cent of the workforce in the publishing industry is over thirty-five-years-old (which is downright discouraging for anyone in their twenties who is trying to break in). In addition, the number of freelance editors has dropped and the number of people working in publishing has dropped significantly since 2007, due, in part, to the digitalization of books. In short, there are fewer jobs and more people trying to get in.

What does all of this mean for post-graduate students studying publishing at the University of Stirling? It means that things are tough, but not impossible. Suzanne emphasized that there is a shortage of sales and marketing skills among those who are trying to get into publishing. Editorial is not the only way to go, and, in fact, Suzanne suggested that getting into publishing through another door—say, marketing—is a good idea to break in.

Her lecture was very informative and I came away with specific areas in which I can improve my resume. Among the most important aspects for making yourself stand out are work experience (thirty-five per cent of the publishing workforce have done unpaid work), computer skills, specific software skills, and even math skills (though this fills many book-reading editor-bent students with horror—numbers matter!). The bottom line is that publishing is a business and unless a publishing house makes money, they cannot continue to publish the wonderful books that we love to read.

Thanks Suzanne for a great beginning to the list of fantastic visiting speakers lined up for this semester! If you want to learn more about Skillset, visit their website.

The Class of 2011-12 is here!

September 17th, 2011 by Claire_Squires | Posted in Blog | 1 Comment
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Every year, we welcome a new cohort of students to the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication. Our students always come from far and wide to study with us, and this year is no exception. We have students registered across our three different masters programmes, the MLitt in Publishing Studies, the MSc in International Publishing Management, and the MRes in Publishing Studies, which can lead to a PhD in Publishing. They come from Scotland, England, Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Spain, China, India, Taiwan and the USA. We also welcomed back to Stirling several graduates from a range of undergraduate programmes.

In our first session students brought in publishing products from their home countries. There were digital devices aplenty, but also a great range of very high spec printed materials, including art and fashion magazines. We also had some very Scottish products: an Oor Wullie annual from Dundee publisher D C Thompson. It’s already clear we’ve got a class of students with divergent interests in terms of publishing products, but all united but their fascination for and desire to get on in the world of publishing.

We’re very much looking forward to working with them. If you think you might be interested in joining us next year – please get in touch via our Contact page!

Launch of Bloody Scotland

September 16th, 2011 by Claire_Squires | Posted in Blog | 1 Comment
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Ian Rankin at the launch of Bloody Scotland

A starry line-up of crime writers gathered in Stirling’s Smith Museum & Art Gallery today to launch Bloody Scotland, an International Crime Writing Festival which will take place in Stirling on 14-16 September 2012.

Writers in attendance at the launch included Ian Rankin, G J Moffat, Stuart MacBride, Anne Perry, Lin Anderson, Allan Guthrie and Craig Robertson. Ian Rankin took to the floor to applaud this, the first Scottish literary festival to celebrate Scotland’s most popular fiction genre. And to prove how Stirling is a perfect location, he revealed that his next novel reaches its finale here…

The festival has support from Stirling Council, Creative Scotland, and will work alongside Stirling’s existing Off the Page festival, which we reported on last week. Excitingly for us, the festival is also organised in collaboration with the University of Stirling’s Creative Writing courses and the Centre for International Publishing and Communication.

We’ll be working with Bloody Scotland on Creative Friday, hosting masterclasses, workshops, and a publishers’ and agents’ forum. More details to come… and don’t go down any dark alleyways in the meantime!

Visiting Speakers for Forthcoming Semester

September 15th, 2011 by Frances_Sessford | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Visiting Speakers for Forthcoming Semester
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Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication hosts another great line-up of publishing professionals this semester. Our guest speakers are drawn from many sectors of the industry, including literary agency, retail, printing, distribution, trade publishing and digital publishing. The visiting speaker sessions give our students valuable knowledge of how different parts of the industry operate. As a highly technology- and consumer-driven industry, publishing is changing at the speed of light and our speakers can give up-to-the-minute insights into both how the industry is adapting to the challenges it faces, and how they as individuals are playing a part in this.

But first things first: how can you go about getting a job once you have your degree? Suzanne Kavanagh of Skillset will provide some guidance and information on this very subject on Thursday September 22. (Please note this session is for Publishing Students only, and will be held at 10.30am, not 2pm.)

The public sessions begin on September 29 with a talk by David Martin of Martins the Printers about how digital printing technology has radically changed the way books are produced. Switching to the other end of the production spectrum, Maggie McKernan, literary editor and agent will give a dual perspective from her career as both an editor and literary agent on October 6. The following week (October 13), Adrian Searle of Glasgow-based publishing imprint Freight Books will be speaking about setting up a publishing company in 2011.

Is there any truth in the suggestion that inside every publisher there is a writer struggling to get out? Well, if that’s the case with you then Dr Paula Morris of Stirling University’s new Creative Writing taught masters course will give you not only the author’s view of the publishing industry but also some tips on getting published as well (October 20).

After we get a chance to catch our breath at the mid-semester break, Jane Camillin of indie sports publisher, Pitch Publishing, will kick off the second half of semester on November 3 by talking about how publishing can be small yet successful, followed on November 10 by Liz Small of Geddes and Grosset/Waverley Publishing, a long-established Scottish trade publisher. Focus then switches to retail on November 17, with Eleanor Logan of Chapter Twenty independent publishing retail consultancy giving the bookseller’s perspective on these interesting times, and our penultimate guest on November 24 is Marion Sinclair, course alumni and Chief Executive of Publishing Scotland, the representative body of Scottish publishers. The program closes on December 1 with Simon Meek of Tern TV on digital adaptations of well-known books.

Don’t miss any of them! Attendance at all visiting speaker sessions is free but there is limited space so please register via publishing@stir.ac.uk to book a place. All sessions will be held at 2pm in Pathfoot B2.

Stirling Book Festival in its Sixth Year

September 7th, 2011 by Frances_Sessford | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Stirling Book Festival in its Sixth Year
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Stirling’s own book festival, Off The Page runs from 10–17 September (see full listings and venues here). Now in its sixth year, Off The Page boasts a fantastic track record of showcasing the rich writing talents of authors and poets from the Stirling area and beyond. The week-long festival is run in partnership with Creative Scotland, the country’s arts investment engine and provides an eclectic mix of speakers, readings, music and exhibitions. And for the first time ever, the festival this year hosts an evening of Gaelic music and storytelling.

Top names coming to show and tell include contemporary novelist Christopher Brookmyre, crime fiction writer Caro Ramsay and travel writer Gavin Francis. One particular highlight (for me anyway) will be The Mental Feast of Pure Delight, an hour in the company of the wonderfully weird Robert Ritchie, Stirling poet and chair of Stirling Writers Group (meets at 7.30pm every Tuesday at The Tolbooth). The event is on at the very silly time of 12 noon but seeing as it’s the day before the course begins (Tuesday September 13), you’ll be free to go along. Another event worth mentioning is the launch of a book in aid of Stirling Mental Health Charity, AiM. Presented by Dunblane’s first lady of poetry, Helen Lamb, accompanied by Alex Nye and Trisha Smith, ‘these gripping tales aim to break down barriers and challenge some of the stigma still associated with mental health.’ So there. And it’s free: Wednesday September 14 at 7.30pm. You can go to the pub to chew over the first day of the course afterwards.

The City Crime Evening features Dumbarton-born and multi-award winning author Stuart MacBride plus Scots journalist Craig Robertson, who has been just about everywhere and done just about everything. Including writing a bestseller. Sheegh.

And last but not least, if you want some early insights into what keeps authors motivated (or if you are harbouring your own dreams of bypassing the slush pile), get along to How To Get Published (Sunday September 11, 1pm)where lots of people who know a thing or two about it will keep you right. Hachette Scotland publisher, Stirling alumni and course visiting speaker Bob McDevitt is chairing the event and would be delighted to meet members of our new cohort. And really, really last, don’t forget the Literary Quiz at The Tolbooth on Friday September 16 at 6pm. Stun your new-found friends with your literary knowledge! Or just sit quietly.

You might bump into some Centre staff at some of the events, and it’s a great chance for new Publishing students to get in a bit of local culture and a few light ales.