Opening Weekend at the DSC South Asian Literary Festival

October 27th, 2011 by Arundati_Dandapani | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Opening Weekend at the DSC South Asian Literary Festival
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,



The second DSC South Asian Literary Festival 2011 (SALF) kicked off on 07 October in Rich Mix, Shoreditch, London, drawing from themes of diaspora, migration, and identity. Visitors with pre-booked opening weekend tickets could redeem their money’s worth for books at the Brick Allen store on premises. Read more »

James Daunt: Defender of the Bookshop

October 27th, 2011 by Katherine_Marshall | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on James Daunt: Defender of the Bookshop
Tags: , , , , ,

On the 6th October 2011, book retailer Waterstone’s ended its famous 3-for-2 offer, thereby signalling a new direction for the company under Managing Director, James Daunt.  The offer, described by some as “iconic”, will be replaced by a series of price discounts and promotions, designed to increase the flexibility of book buying in its stores.  Daunt has championed the new pricing strategy, proclaiming that it will provide customers with the opportunity to buy the book that they want, rather than focusing on the price.  He wants his shops to be “community hubs”, where people can browse for books in a pleasant environment without being bombarded by blunt and “irritating” offers.

Waterstone’s struggles have been well documented of late, but it remains to be seen whether this latest shift in strategy will herald a change in fortunes for the company.  However, it is not the only thing to change as Daunt steams ahead with his plans to revive the retailer.   The MD, who took up the post in June, is on a mission to transform the bookseller into a company capable of rivalling online giants such as the mighty Amazon.  In addition to ending the 3-for-2 offer, Daunt has indicated the possibility of introducing differential pricing in his stores (a controversial and slightly baffling concept) and Waterstone’s is also due to launch its very own e-reader in 2012.

Daunt’s vision of what a bookshop should be is, in many ways, commendable.  Unfortunately, the reality of the bookselling market today means that the MD’s traditional ideals risk falling on deaf ears as consumers increasingly value price over place of purchase.

Watch this space…

Katherine Marshall, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2011-2012

October 27th, 2011 by Katherine_Marshall | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Katherine Marshall, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2011-2012
Tags: , , , ,

Hello, my name is Katherine and I am currently taking the MLitt programme in Publishing Studies at Stirling University.  Growing up, books were very important to me and have remained so throughout my life.   However, it was not until the final year of  my undergraduate degree in Film and Television Studies that I developed a serious interest in pursuing publishing as a career.  For me, the decision to apply for the course was easy; I wanted to develop a broad awareness of the industry and learn all the necessary skills in order to become a successful publisher.

I was attracted to the course at Stirling  primarily because of its excellent reputation, but also for the strong emphasis it places on gaining practical skills and enhancing  employability.  Every aspect of the course is relevant to the current state of the industry and the staff encourage us to think creatively and with a business perspective.  Like many publishing students my main interests lie with the editing process, however I am now very interested in marketing, which is something I may not have said only a few short weeks ago.

Although just a  few weeks into the course I can confidently say that I am enjoying every minute of it and I cannot wait to begin work on my publishing project and put everything I have learned into practice!

Katherine Spiker MLitt Publishing Studies 2011-2012

October 24th, 2011 by Katherine_Spiker | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Katherine Spiker MLitt Publishing Studies 2011-2012
Tags: ,

Books, books, and more books, that’s what I love. I love reading books. I love collecting books. I love the idea of books. I love everything about them. I have always had a passion for books, ever since I can remember. Only recently, however, did I realize that I wanted a future in publishing. I have a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Integrated Studies with an emphasis in Liberal Studies form Brevard College in Brevard, North Carolina. My undergraduate degree is very broad, so I decided that I needed to pursue a Master’s degree in a specific field. I happened to come across the MLitt Publishing Studies Program while visiting friends, and instantly knew that this was the course for me. I had always wanted to study abroad and this program gave me the perfect opportunity.

I made the decision to apply to the program and ultimately move to a different country to start my new adventure. I was very impressed the MLitt Publishing Studies website. The modules throughout the course are designed to give the students a well-rounded knowledge of the publishing industry. Being a person who had no prior knowledge of how the publishing industry worked, I found that the program is designed in a way that makes it very easy to grasp the information given to you. Not only does it make it easy to comprehend, it also shows you how to apply the information you have been given. I have thoroughly enjoyed the course so far, and I am really looking forward to what is to come.

I can be found on twitter here.

Book Cultures, Book Events Conference

October 23rd, 2011 by Claire_Squires | Posted in Blog | 1 Comment
Tags: , , ,

Proposals for papers now being accepted. Deadline 6 January 2012.

The Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication, in collaboration with Queen Margaret University (Edinburgh), the University of Dundee, and Bookfestival Scotland announces the conference ‘Book Cultures, Book Events’, to be held at the University of Stirling from Friday 23 to Sunday 25 March 2012.

Plenary  speakers include: Dr Danielle Fuller of the University of Birmingham

Call for Papers:

A significant development in the environment of literature and the book at the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries has been the growth of literary festivals and book towns. As part of the literary marketing mix, book festivals and towns offer publishers the opportunity to promote their authors and sell their products. Such locations also provide physical and sociological spaces in which readers encounter writers and literature, and become book consumers. Book festivals and towns have clear links to regional economies, and are heavily used in the promotion of tourist destinations, as testified by the strategic partnerships and sponsorship arrangements with a variety of agencies. As part of this process, concepts of cultural identity are forged and commodified, conjoining literature to cultural heritage, the creative industries and political ideology. In the era of new media and digital delivery, the opportunity to meet authors and fellow readers face-to-face, to buy books and other merchandise, and to align a liking for literature with travel and tourism, is being taken up by hundreds of thousands of readers every year. Literary festivals and towns, while heavily promoted by digital marketing activities, afford physical meeting spaces for authors, books, readers and ideas.

To explore these events and environments, the Book Cultures, Book Events conference will bring together academic and student researchers from different disciplines with practitioners and stakeholders, to their contemporary perspectives and historical precedents. Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:

  • literature as live event
  • analyses of contemporary or historical book events, festivals, conferences and environments (including bookshop spaces)
  • the role of live events in the digital age
  • author/reader interactions at live events
  • literary travel, tourism and heritage
  • literary commerce and merchandising
  • book events and other media/cultural forms
  • partnerships and sponsorship
  • constructions of cultural identity via literature events
  • literature in the context of cultural heritage, the creative industries, and political ideology

Proposals for papers of 20 minutes are invited. Please send as an email attachment abstracts of 300-400 words, plus a biography of 100-150 words, by 6 January 2012, to: .

The conference is supported by the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and as such registration costs for the conference will be minimal.

The conference is part of the Royal Society of Edinburgh Research Workshop Book Events: The Transnational Culture, Commerce and Social Impact of Literary Festivals, organised in association with the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication at the University of Stirling, Queen Margaret University, the University of Dundee and Bookfestival Scotland.

For any enquiries, please contact:

Adrian Searle and Freight Books

October 23rd, 2011 by Paola_Gonella | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Adrian Searle and Freight Books
Tags: , , ,

Our visiting speaker on Thursday 13th October was Adrian Searle, director of Freight Design, an award-winning Scottish creative design and brand development agency based in Glasgow city centre. Founded ten years ago, the company quickly established itself as one of Scotland’s leading design and marketing consultancies.

Adrian gave a very interesting talk about the joys and difficulties of setting up his own publishing company. He explained how he got involved in the business through his design company. In 2001, they decided they would do a self-commissioned project every year and their first undertaking, The Hope that Kills Us, combined two of Adrian’s favourite things, Scottish literature and football. The book, sponsored by Arts&Business Scotland and picked by The Guardian as one of the top 10 best football fictions, brings together eight specially commissioned stories from some of Scotland’s best contemporary writers, with each story examining the participants, experience and emotion that feed the nation’s obsession with football.

Following the critical acclaim received for The Hope that Kills Us, the company decided to embark on another self-commissioned project entitled The Knuckle-End, which featured two pocket-sized hardbacks joined by a fabric hinge, the first one dedicated to a selection of short stories and poems by recent graduates from the Creative Writing Master at University of Glasgow as well as award-winning writers, and the second one dedicated to images and photographs on themes inspired by the title.

A couple of other projects of which Adrian seemed particularly proud are Dougie’s War, a graphic novel by acclaimed novelist and biographer Rodge Glass and artist Dave Turbitt about the legacy of the war in the Middle East and the effects of PTSD on returning veterans, and Gutter, an award-winning, high quality, printed journal for fiction and poetry from writers born or living in Scotland. As Adrian told us, the magazine also proved to be a good way for Freight to make friends with a lot of good writers, which then helped them setting up their own publishing company, Freight Books.

Adrian described the company as small, independent and with a specific interest in both middlebrow commercial and literary fiction. They usually publish 4 or 5 books a year, which range from stunning debuts of writers that may have been published already in Gutter to forgotten classics like All the Little Animals, Walker Hamilton’s un-classifiable first novel that will be republished in June 2012. Their first book, published last September, is Killing the Messenger, the second novel from Christopher Wallace, who won the 1988 Saltire First Book of the Year Award for The Pied Piper’s Poison.

Adrian also announced that The Hope that Kills Us, Dougie’s War and Gutter will be available soon in digital form, thanks to a collaboration with Faber Factory, an initiative that Adrian described as ‘absolutely brilliant’, especially for independent publishers that cannot invest in additional resources for text digitisation.

Kate McNamara, MLitt in Publishing Studies, 2011/2012

October 17th, 2011 by Kate_McNamara | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Kate McNamara, MLitt in Publishing Studies, 2011/2012

For my undergrad, I studied English in Trinity College Dublin. I wanted to stay within the English sphere for my masters, and publishing had been in my mind for a few years as something that I would like to do. This course was the first publishing one I looked at, years back. In third and fourth year, when I started researching courses more seriously, I found that this one was the one I always came back to. My research and my visit to the university during the summer confirmed that this was the right course and the right university for me, and my work experience after my visit made me certain that this was what I really wanted.

So far I’m really enjoying it. The classes are very interesting and I feel that the wide range of projects, exercises and assignments are giving me a lot of practical experience. The staff are all very knowledgable in their fields, and the speakers who visit us weekly are great for opening your eyes to the range of things entailed in publishing and related industries.

Looking forward to the rest of the year, especially the publishing project!

Cocktails with the SYP Scotland

October 16th, 2011 by Victoria_Sugden | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Cocktails with the SYP Scotland
Tags: , , ,

The Society of Young Publishers is a UK community that is aimed towards those of us with less than ten years of experience. Established in 1949 by a body of volunteers, either already in publishing or an associated trade, SYP endeavours to support and encourage us in our publishing pursuits. The prime opportunity to network, mingle and make yourself known, SYP events are treasured occasions for all young publishers-to-be.

Recently, described as an event for “bookish types” on Facebook, SYP Scotland gathered at the Dragonfly Cocktail Bar in Edinburgh last Thursday (6th October) for a mélange of cocktails and networking. The evening was a great opportunity for young and budding publishers to network with those who have established themselves in a publishing career. I was particularly inspired by Fiona MacLeod‘s infectious passion and enthusiasm  for the trade.

The notion of networking in a relaxed and informal atmosphere with a cocktail in hand certainly, for me, reinforced the retrospective term of “Gentlemanly” publishing, on the drinking and socialising side of things! Ironically, the industry that was once so male orientated is now flooded with women, which was immediately obvious as you stepped into the function room of Dragonfly- the ratio of men to women was undoubtedly disproportionate! Nonetheless, it was a lovely evening had by all, with a very eclectic mix of mouth-watering cocktails and fine spirits catering towards all bon vivants!

Keep an eye on the SYP website for more great up and coming events.

Stories for a Better Nation

October 13th, 2011 by Claire_Squires | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Stories for a Better Nation
Tags: , , ,

The Rt Hon Douglas Alexander MP delivered the Williamson Memorial Lecture at the University of Stirling tonight, speaking to the title ‘A Better Nation? A Personal Reflection on Scotland’s Future’. A central element of his argument was the need for political discourse surrounding Scottish nationhood, and the forthcoming independence debate, to attain a ‘different quality of imagination’.

His words were reminiscent of those spoken by Andrew O’Hagan a couple of weeks earlier, and reported on by MLitt in Publishing Studies student Nuria Ruiz. Books, O’Hagan, argued, make the world more real for us. O’Hagan’s idea, paraphrases Nuria, was ‘that Scottish civic memory actually finds its most forceful expression in the arts – Scottish plays, music, art and books are becoming powerful, punching above their weight in the cultural stakes. In particular, books are playing a bigger role in making the world “more real” for us as Scots.’

Alexander’s speech provided an interesting counterpoint to the O’Hagan’s argument. In a talk peppered with references to Shakespeare, Plato, Burns, William McIlvanney and Alasdair Gray, he made an argument for a politics informed by a pluralistic imagination and underpinned by the principles of common humanity. Democratic politics, he says, have taught him many things, including:

‘that in policy, statistics matter, but in politics, stories matter too. Because stories help shape what is hidden in plain sight all around us – what we judge has meaning, and what we judge doesn’t. And it is through stories that we provoke the feelings of hope that are at the heart of participating in a progressive society – the care, concern, and compassion that has always underpinned the will to act.’

The place of writing – and publishing – in this vision is worth considering further. Nuria ended her blog on Andrew O’Hagan by arguing that Scottish publishing can and should be central, that ‘if Scottish book culture is on the ascendant, then Scottish publishing can become as commanding as the stories it makes and preserves.’ Alexander ended his speech with an appeal to the future: ‘the history of Scotland, written by this generation, can and will be remembered not by the “The End of an Auld Sang” but positively and vibrantly by “The beginning of a New Story”.

The role of writers, artists, musicians, poets – and indeed publishers – should take its place at the heart of this narrative: asking difficult questions, creating new stories, communicating them effectively to a variety of audiences.

The conversation continues…

The full text of Douglas Alexander’s speech is available here.

Helen Lewis-McPhee MLitt in Publishing Studies 2011-12

October 12th, 2011 by Helen_Lewis-Mcphee | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Helen Lewis-McPhee MLitt in Publishing Studies 2011-12
Tags: ,

In 2006, I graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a degree in Psychology and Sociology, and no idea what to do with it. Since then, I’ve been a wedding planner, a fine wines merchant, a facilitator, and a foster carer (and for several particularly exhausting months, all four at the once). I’ve always regarded the publishing industry with that particular wow-wouldn’t-it-be-amazing-to-do-that kind of awe many feel about MI5 or Hollywood, and it never occurred to me that real people get to work in this industry EVERY DAY. Last year, I took the plunge and walked away from my safe (read: unchallenging) and secure (read: dead-end) job in the events industry to take up an unpaid internship at a literary agency, and, figuring I didn’t have enough student debt to my name, applied for the MLitt earlier this year.

So far, the course has proved to be every bit as exciting, exhaustive and exhausting as I could have hoped for. Here’s to nine months of hell and high grammar, and a healthy, happy, baby career to make it worthwhile at the end of it all…