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Bloody Scotland 2014 Programme Launch

June 8th, 2014 by Stevie Marsden | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Bloody Scotland 2014 Programme Launch
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photo (10)Stevie Marsden reports on the launch of this year’s Bloody Scotland festival:

Wednesday 4th June saw the launch of the third Bloody Scotland festival, Scotland’s first and only literary festival dedicated to celebrating crime fiction from all over the world, which will take place from Friday 19th to Sunday 21st of September this year.  The intimate lunch time unveiling of this year’s programme was held at Tolbooth, Stirling where Dom Hastings, the festival manager, commented on the diversity of the festival’s proceedings with events ranging from live talks from best-selling and world-renowned crime writers Ian Rankin and Kathy Reichs, to a discussion about the representation of women in crime fiction hosted by the Glasgow Women’s Library and a play re-enacting the trial of notorious serial killer Peter Manual to be held in the fitting setting of Stirling Sheriff Court.

As well as putting together a fantastic programme every year, which not only promotes Scotland’s extraordinary love for crime writing but also encourages crime fiction lovers from all over the world to visit Stirling, one of Scotland’s most historic (and haunted!) cities, the Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing festival is unique in that it actively encourages crime fiction fans to become creators of crime fiction.

Since its conception, Bloody Scotland has had a strong commitment to finding and promoting the next generation of crime writers.  Even before the festival programme was launched, the Bloody Scotland Short Story Competition was open for submissions.  This competition – the winner of which receives £1,000 and a
weekend pass to the   festival – is open to all previously unpublished writers from all over the world. short story comp I’m lucky enough to help in the co-ordination of the competition, and it’s really exciting to see undiscovered authors get the opportunity to have their work read by a worldwide audience; last year’s winner was US writer Mindy Quigley who won a landslide public vote for her story ‘The Best Dish’.

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Not content with inviting the world’s crime-lit-enthusiasts to try their hand at writing short fiction, the festival weekend opens with a day of Crime Writing Masterclasses held at the MacRobert Arts Centre at the University of Stirling on Friday 19th September.  The day is full of enlightening and insightful workshops, allowing budding crime writers to spend time refining their writing skills under the guidance of best-selling authors and experts in the publishing field.  This year’s line-up of writers and publishers includes Christopher Broomkyre, Helen Sedgwick, Craig Robertson and Sara Hunt to name but a few!

As if all this wasn’t enough, Bloody Scotland also holds its annual ‘Pitch Perfect’ event on Sunday 21st September.  Sponsored by the Open University Scotland, this competition allows aspiring novelists to pitch their idea to a panel of publishers for the chance to gain invaluable feedback from experts in the field.  This year’s panel includes Alison Hennessey, Senior Crime Editor at Harvill Secker, Krystyna Green, Editorial Director for Constable & Robinson crime fiction and Tricia Jackson, Editorial Director at Pan MacMillan.  Last year’s ‘Pitch Perfect’ event was brilliant, and it was fascinating to hear some of the ideas for (as yet!) unpublished work and the feedback that the specialists in the field had to offer.

What all of these events show is that the Bloody Scotland festival is not just an amazing opportunity for readers and writers to come together in a celebration of all things crime-lit related, but it is also a brilliant occasion dedicated to inspiring the next cohort of  crime writers.  Bloody Scotland, along with the University of Stirling’s Creative Writing team, the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication and Open University Scotland, actively encourages attendees to get involved in crime writing, arguably making Bloody Scotland one of the most inspiring literary festivals in the world.

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By the Book: thoughts on the conference

June 2nd, 2014 by SCIPC | Posted in Blog | 1 Comment
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Rachel Noorda, PhD researcher in the Stirling Centre for International Publishing & Communication, reports on attending the By the Book conference in Florence:

Rachel Noorda presenting her paper

Rachel Noorda presenting her paper

I had the great pleasure of attending and presenting at the “By the Book” publishing studies conference which was jointly organised by Benoît Berthou (Sorbonne Paris Cité University), Miha Kovač (University of Ljubljana) and Angus Phillips (Oxford Brookes University) and held on May 23 and 24. The conference location was beautiful—and it was my first time to Italy—but the best part was listening to the exciting research that is taking place internationally in the publishing studies field. The conference brought researchers from the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Croatia, Lithuania and even South Africa. The focus of the conference was “the book and the study of its digital transformation” but the presenters approached this wide topic from various angles relating to their own experiences in publishing and academic areas of expertise.

This was my first experience presenting a paper at an academic conference. It was a perfect conference to be my first because it was small and intimate, with researchers who were all interested in publishing. I spoke about books as souvenirs, using data I collected from observing the bookselling practices of gift shops at heritage sites in Scotland, particularly those sites run by Historic Scotland.

Stevie Mardsen, fellow PhD Publishing Studies student from the University of Stirling, also presentedFlorence at the “By the Book” conference. Not only was her presentation stellar, but it was comforting to have a friend at the conference right from the beginning. Stevie’s PhD research is focused on the Saltire Society’s literary book awards and so her presentation addressed the importance to some judges to have a physical copy of the book for judging and how this affects the judging process.

All in all, a wonderful experience! There was talk at the end of the conference about holding a similar conference next year, and if so, I will certainly be in attendance.

Interning at Freight Books

June 1st, 2014 by Clemence Moulaert | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Interning at Freight Books
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During my second semester as a student of the MLitt Publishing programme I chose to take the Publishing In The Workplace module. Publishing students hear this time and again: your best chance of working in the publishing industry is to get an internship and, well, work in the publishing industry. After applying to various publishers in Scotland I was fortunate to be offered a part-time editorial internship at Freight Books.

LookupGlasgowPocket_270.270A fairly new imprint of Freight Design, one of Scotland’s leading communications consultancies, Freight Books focuses on publishing ‘high quality fiction for an English-speaking readership’ and also produces Gutter magazine for new fiction.

My email correspondence with Robbie Guillory, Assistant Publisher, was surprisingly informal, and the welcome I received on my first day at the office was much the same: the small team, no larger than a dozen people, was friendly and inviting; there reigns a quaint, café-like atmosphere in the office, which is located on the third floor of an old building in Glasgow’s Merchant City. On the second floor landing a painted sign on the wall says ‘Keep going, gas masks will be provided at the top’. Panting, I made it to the top floor. ‘Where’s my gas mask?’ I asked Robbie, who laughed.

My first task was both simple and terrifying: I was handed a freshly printed typescript and asked to copy-edit it. I was given a sheet with proofreading marks and the Freight Books style sheet, then left to my own devices. Gradually the nerves subsided (‘What if I ruin this beautiful typescript and they hate me and make me leave?!’) and I began to really enjoy myself.

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Over the course of nine weeks I copy-edited typescripts, read through the slushpile to pick out the ‘wows’ from the ‘mehs’, bonded with Archie, the office dog, prepared a couple of author contracts and wrote a few introductory lines for an upcoming publication. Not once was I asked to make coffee (but I was frequently asked if I wanted a cuppa, which is always nice).

The most exciting part of this internship was to look at the AIs (Advance Information sheets) and see a couple of titles in there that I copy-edited. In a few months’ time I will walk into a bookshop and those books will be there on the shelf. And I’ll have the privilege of saying I was part of the fantastic team that made them happen.

The experience I gained from this internship will reflect on my CV and, most importantly, I gained heaps of confidence and feel enthusiastic about applying for jobs in the Scottish publishing industry.

(photo credit: Freight Books)