Ellen Wiles, PhD in Publishing Studies

March 27th, 2015 by Ellen Wiles | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Ellen Wiles, PhD in Publishing Studies

Me twitter profile

Working Title: Live Literature and Cultural Value: An Ethnographic Exploration

Topic: I research contemporary live literature, using ethnography to understand and communicate the nature, effects and cultural value of live literary events.

Research interests: Live literature, literary studies, publishing studies, literary culture, ethnography, contemporary culture, interdisciplinarity, creative writing, censorship, freedom of expression.


  • Prof Claire Squires (Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication)
  • Dr Katie Halsey (Division of Literature & Languages)

ScholarshipsAHRC Block Grant Partnership funding.

Publications and Papers: My first book Saffron Shadows and Salvaged Scripts: Literary Life in Myanmar under Censorship and in Transitionan ethnographic monograph including interviews with three generations of Burmese writers and new translations of their work, will be published by Columbia University Press in July 2015. An extract from the book, ‘The Tiger’ (including an interview with the author Win Tin), is reproduced here. For other publications and more information, please see the linked pages below.

LinksWebsite – Twitter – – LinkedIn – Live short stories



Mariclaire White, PhD in Publishing Studies

March 27th, 2015 by Mariclaire White | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Mariclaire White, PhD in Publishing Studies

mw Working Title: Promoting Scottish Books in the 21st Century: An Investigation into the Sustainability of Scotland’s Literary Culture

Topic: Examining the issues which face book culture in  Scotland in the 21st Century, including decreasing printed  book sales, the rise of digital media and competing consumer  demands. My research looks at alternatives to traditional  book production, such as digital innovation, and the growth  of literary tourism to continue the important role of literature  culturally and economically in Scotland. Ultimately, I hope  my research offers insight into this important time of change for the Scottish publishing industry and provides recommendations to publishers and organisations to achieve sustainability.

This research degree is supported by the AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership run by the Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities

Research interests: Scottish Publishing, Book History, Cultural Policy, Literary Tourism, Scottish Identity, Digital Innovation, Gamification of Literature



  • AHRC Studentship (2014-2017)


Paul Docherty, PhD in Publishing Studies

March 19th, 2015 by Paul Docherty | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Paul Docherty, PhD in Publishing Studies

Paul DochertyWorking Title: Read Write City: Towards a city-wide strategy in support of reading, writing and publishing.

Topic: In collaboration with Glasgow Life my research aims to inform the development of a literary strategy for the city of Glasgow. The study examines current involvement with literature across the city and is looking at ways in which Glasgow can become a city of people who actively engage in reading and writing.

This research seeks to explore connectivity between different aspects of the literary infrastructure, whilst examining the reach and scope of existing projects in the city, as well as successful approaches used in communities elsewhere in the UK and across the world which might usefully be applied to Glasgow’s particular set of challenges and possibilities.

Research interests: book culture, creative writing, publishing, communities, cities, endogenous growth, creative industries, community engagement, cultural production, identity.


Scholarships: AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award


Paul on Twitter: @readwritecity
Paul on LinkedIn
Paul on


My Internship with Saraband

March 12th, 2015 by Jennifer Katherine Hamrick | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on My Internship with Saraband
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Paris KissI am currently interning at Saraband and I could not have asked for a better experience. Saraband is an independent publisher located in Glasgow with a wide range of both fiction and non-fiction titles as well as some literary apps. The publisher is very small, with only three employees: Sara Hunt (managing director), Craig Hillsley (who works satellite from London) and Laura Jones (a former Stirling MLitt student and current Saraband assistant). But for such a small publisher, they manage to do an incredible amount of work. Sometimes I think Sara must have clones of herself in order to accomplish everything she does in a single day!

Working with a small publisher is ideal for students because it means you get to dabble in every aspect of publishing. My very first day I got to go to a trade fair, start copyediting a nonfiction title, practice filling in metadata spreadsheets and learn about promoting titles on Amazon. We all work in the same room so I get to overhear very interesting and educational conversations such as when to send out press releases or how to coordinate sales reps’ expectations versus authors’ expectations. So far, I’ve been able to see a title through from copy-editing to cover design and hopefully to final production in the future.

What I like best about interning with Saraband is that I am welcome to ask any questions I want. Sara and Laura are both fantastic teachers and go above and beyond to make sure I am getting good experience from my time here. Sara always makes it a point to explain why we do things a certain way in publishing so that I can understand where these processes come from. And Laura has taken time away from her work to personally teach me about typesetting, a skill I was very desperate to improve upon. Thanks to her, I was able to improve my publishing dummy project and I now feel much more confident about setting up Eagle's Wayboth Word and InDesign documents for typesetting in the future.

One of my favorite tasks thus far has been to create book trailers for a couple of Saraband’s titles. I created very simple iMovie videos, but am interested in expanding my video-editing knowledge and exploring other video software programs. I was very happy to learn that the authors of the books for these videos were pleased with what I had created; it gave me a lot of confidence to have made something that both Saraband and the authors could use on social media. Moreover, I now have another skill to add to my CV with links to videos that I created.

This experience has been completely invaluable to me. Through this internship I have been able to gain the practical knowledge I need to enter the publishing industry, and I feel much more confident about my skills. Plus, by completing a variety of tasks, I now know with which area of publishing my skill sets and interests line up. I look forward to learning more as my internship progresses.

Jenny Hamrick

Stevie Marsden, PhD in Publishing Studies

March 9th, 2015 by Stevie Marsden | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Stevie Marsden, PhD in Publishing Studies

Working Title:10155493_10152384216015628_1795706672_n The History of the Saltire Society’s Book Awards: 1982-present.

Topic: I am a final year PhD Researcher working on an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award in collaboration with The Saltire Society, Edinburgh. The purpose of this research is to construct a critically assessed history of The Saltire Society’s book awards (which includes History, Research, First, Poetry and Literary Book of the Year Awards). The thesis will consider The Saltire Society’s literary awards within the context of prize and literary award culture in general, as well as consider its position within contemporary Scottish literary culture and its influence upon the modern Scottish literary canon.

I am also interested in book and literary award culture more generally, keeping a close eye on developments throughout the UK and internationally.  I’m particularly interested in award culture in relation to gender, nationality, publishing history and book promotion and sales.

Research interests: saltire society, literary awards, book history, publishing, book sales and marketing, gender studies

Supervisors: Professor Claire Squires, Dr. Suzanne Gilbert

Scholarships: AHRC CDA Scholarship
British Federation for Women Graduates Elen Wynne Vanstone Scholarship, 2014
Society of the History of Authorship, Readership and Publishing Travel Grant, 2014

Publications and Papers:
‘Women of the Saltire Society’ at Smashing the Patriarchy in 100,000 words? The use of Feminism in Academic Theses at University of Dundee, 13th January 2014.

‘Reinventing the Book’: The Aesthetics of Digital Literature in Contemporary Literary Award Culture at By the Book: the Book and the Study of its Digital Transformation, hosted by Oxford Brookes University, Florence, 24th May 2014

‘21st Century Philanthropy? The Cultural and Economic Capital of Contemporary Book Award Culture
at Creative and Commerce in the Age of Print, University of Edinburgh, 26th July 2014.

‘fit tay be in schools, huvn no bad language, sex subversion or antireligion’: The Saltire Society’s Book Awards, Judgment Culture and the Scottish Literary Canon at Religions of the Book, SHARP (Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing), University of Antwerp, 20th September 2014.

‘The measure of a work of art is how much art it has in it, not how much “relevance”’: The ‘relevance’ of Contemporary Book Awards and the Purpose of Judgment in Literary Culture at The Prestige of Literature
Carleton University, Ottawa, 10th October 2014.

“It’s all unclear”: The ‘Reality’ of Bret Easton Ellis’s ‘American Psycho’ and its Position Within the Literary Convention of Contemporary Gothic Fiction in Bray, Suzanne and Preher, Gerald, eds., Fatal Fascinations: Cultural Manifestations of Crime and Violence (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013), pp. 113-121

Related work:
Bloody Scotland Crime Festival Short Story Competition Coordinator, 2013-2015
9th Art Award for Graphic Literature Administrator, 2013-2014
University of Stirling Arts and Humanities Postgraduate Conference Committee Member, 2014
MacRobert Arts Centre Book Group Coordinator, 2014-2015

Twitter: @StevieLMarsden


Lucy Ry-Kottoh, PhD in Publishing Studies

March 6th, 2015 by Lucy Ry-Kottoh | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Lucy Ry-Kottoh, PhD in Publishing Studies

Lucy 1Working Title: Digital Publishing in Ghana: A Focus on Children’s Publications

Topic: This research assess the state of digital book publishing in Ghana in terms of the level of skill/expertise, infrastructure and access to children’s eBooks published in Ghana. It also investigates current practices among eBook publishers against the backdrop of what pertains in developed economies.

Research Interests: Electronic Publishing, Online Technologies, and Publishing Management



Scholarship: Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, funded by UK Government

Publications and Papers:

  • Opoku-Amankwa, K., Mahama, A.K., and Ry-Kottoh, L., (2012), Itinerant Booksellers: Necessary Evils to the Book Trade in Ghana. Publishing Research Quarterly, Springer Science + Business Media Media, LLC. DOI 10.1007/s12109-012-9281-4
  • Esseh, S. S. and Ry-Kottoh, L., (2013), The Open Journal Systems: Reviving African Publishing Culture. Presented at the Fourth International PKP Scholarly Publishing Conference in Mexico, August 19 – 21.

Contact /



Louisa Preston, PhD in Publishing Studies

March 6th, 2015 by Louisa_Preston | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Louisa Preston, PhD in Publishing Studies


LPrestonWorking Title: An Analysis of Established and Emergent Practices of Working in Interdisciplinary Working Partnerships in relation to Digital Technologies, Audience Engagement and Production of Culture.

Topic: Exploring the possibilities digital technologies lend to cultural producers and audiences, for the activities of producing, disseminating and engaging with visual culture and literature is the focus of this research.

By investigating established and emerging practices of producing and engaging with cultural artefacts and experiences, as people explore creative possibilities with digital technologies, I aim to contribute to an understanding of the implications of this activity for arts and cultural organisations.

Three case studies are the focus for the research, which have involved collaborations and partnerships between arts and cultural organisations and technology companies.

This PhD is being carried out jointly at the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication, University of Stirling and the School of Management, University of St Andrews.

The research degree is associated with the Consortium for Research in Arts and Technology in Scotland (CReATeS) and is supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Creative Scotland and the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA).

Research interests (keywords): Publishing, Visual Culture, Creative Industries, Audience Engagement, Digital Technologies, Cultural Production, Practice Theories, Identity Work



  • The University of Stirling Impact Studentship Fund, 2013
  • University of St Andrews 600th Anniversary  PhD Studentship, 2013
  • AHRC/Creative Scotland/NESTA Research and Development Consortium Project Funding, 2013
  • Arts Trust of Scotland Award, funding for a month long research trip to Tokyo, 2006
  • Networking Artists’ Network, ‘Go See’ Bursary for Research trip to Bucharest Romania, 2006
  • Scottish Arts Council, individual funding to support creative development, 2006
  • Dundee Visual Artists Award, 2005, 2006, 2008
  • The Royal Scottish Academy’s John Kinross Scholarship, 2004

Publications and Papers:

Forthcoming paper:
Preston, L., 2015. Producing publics: The bookspotting app and the “social life of the book” – regenerating publishing practices and reader relationships. In: SHARP (Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing) 23rd annual conference on the generation and regeneration of books. Longueil/Montreal, Canada, 7-10 July 2015.

Article in peer-reviewed journal:
Preston, L. 2013., ‘Publishing and visual culture: symbiotic relationships and the impact of technology on publishing strategies and activity‘ Book 2.0 3:1, pp.25-43.

Exhibition Catalogues:
Brownrigg, J. 2006. AWOL in Romania. In: O, Tanase ed. 2006. Absent without leave (AWOL) Young Artists’ Biennial, 2nd Edition, Bucharest 2006. Bucharest: META Publishing House. pp.8-49.

Catto, A. and McGowan, K. eds., 2006. Dundee Visual Artists Awards Scheme. Dundee: Scottish Arts Council and Dundee City Council. p.30.


University of St Andrews, School of Management

Linked In:

Twitter: @louisa_preston


Maxine Branagh, PhD in Book History 2014-2017

March 6th, 2015 by Maxine Branagh | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Maxine Branagh, PhD in Book History 2014-2017


Maxine BranaghWorking Title: The Scottish Child Reader in the Long Eighteenth Century: A Comparison of the Expectations and Experience of Young Readers in the Wake of the Scottish Enlightenment

Topic: The eighteenth century saw the invention of marketable, commercialised literature specifically aimed at children. I will be investigating this development in a specifically Scottish context, and will explore the following questions: What were the perceived educational, spiritual and developmental needs of Scottish child readers? How did writers of both imaginative and didactic literature attempt to address those needs? Which texts did Scottish children actually read during the long eighteenth century? How did they perceive those texts? Did the new children’s literature promote literacy? Did(and do) the expectations of (adult) writers and child readers ever really match up? Through a discussion of the legacy of Scottish Enlightenment thinking (particularly on the nature of’useful knowledge’) on ideas about reading and education, I will explore the differences in reading and education between Scotland and the rest of Britain.

Research Interests: The Long Eighteenth Century, Book History, History of Reading, Children’s Literature, History of Childhood, Scottish Enlightenment, Romanticism



Conference Papers:

  • “The iron grasp of adversity”: Suffering and didacticism in the novels of Mary Brunton, presented at University of Stirling Arts and Humanities Postgraduate Conference, May 2014

Twitter: @maxinebranagh

Rachel Noorda, PhD in Publishing Studies

March 6th, 2015 by Rachel Noorda | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Rachel Noorda, PhD in Publishing Studies
 1898812_10203184518124401_969386488_o (2)Title: Transnational Scottish Book Marketing to a Diasporic Audience, 1995-2015 (Thesis available via STORRE)
Topic: My thesis analyses the transnational marketing strategies of Scottish publishing companies. The book industry in Scotland is primarily composed of small, independent publishing houses, many of which sell books that are Scottish interest. These books may be set in Scotland, contain elements of Scottish themes such as Scottish history or mythology, or be written by Scottish authors. This thesis investigates what makes a book “Scottish”, if and why Scottish books appeal to certain transnational markets and how small Scottish publishers can focus marketing strategies to reach these audiences.
Research interests: International marketing, small business marketing, Scottish diaspora history, Scottish book history, niche publishing, marketing, rights and export
  • Society of the History of Authorship, Readership and Publishing Travel Grant, September 2014
  • Catherine Mackichan Bursary Trust Award, 2014, 2015
  • Charles O. Gordon Scholarship (for the study of Scottish Gaelic), March 2014
  • Santander Travel Grant (for travel to the USA for interviews), February 2014
  • A Creative Enlightenment grant, February 2014
  • Tiree Tech Wave travel bursary, October 2013
Publications and Papers:
  • ‘The Power of the Small Press: Entrepreneurial Marketing and Disruption of the Industry’, in TXT. (Forthcoming.)
  • ‘Book Review: The History of Oxford University Press’, Quaerendo. (Forthcoming.)
  • ‘Entrepreneurship and Marketing in the Publishing Industry’, in Handbook on Marketing and Entrepreneurship eds. Ian Fillis and Nicholas Telford, (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar). (Forthcoming.)
  • ‘The Intersection of Business and Books: A Small Business Marketing Approach to Scottish Publishing’, Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing, Montreal, July 2015
  • ‘Put a Kilt on It: The Role of Nationality in Twenty-First Century Book Marketing’, By the Book Conference, Florence, May 2015
  • “A Global God: Transnational Presbyterian Publishing and the Case of Saint Andrew Press”, Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing Conference, University of Antwerp, September 2014.
  • “Romanticizing the Homeland: Views of Scotland for Scottish-Americans in Las Vegas” Home/less Postgraduate Interdisciplinary Conference, University of Kent, June 2014.
  • “Books as Souvenirs: The Tourism and Heritage Book Market”, By the Book Conference, Florence, May 2014.
  • “International Success: Selling Niche Titles Beyond the Prime Home Market” in Publishing
    Research Quarterly, Volume 28, Issue 4, December 2012.

The Writer’s Toolbox – negative book reviews

March 3rd, 2015 by Miriam Owen | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on The Writer’s Toolbox – negative book reviews

As a person who shops on line regularly  I have to admit I am fond of a review.  The most useful reviews to me are the negative ones.  These are the ones that balance the (usually) many positive reviews.  They tend to go into specifics about what they don’t like.  This information helps me to make up my mind about a purchase.   For example I may not care if someone has described a book negatively because the story is cheesy, predictable or overly romanticised, in fact that may be just what I am looking for, but if it is badly translated then I know it will just annoy me.  What’s negative to one consumer may not be to another.  These negative reviews help us to make decisions.

However as a blogger I have long deliberated over the place of negative book reviews in my own personal writing. I feel obliged to provide some kind of review when a publisher or author presents me with a book and my biggest worry is about writing a negative review.  Should I make people read between the lines or just say what I think openly?   I do feel quite strongly that open debate is healthy and for this to happen honest opinion must be raised. Constructive criticism is something we all need to listen to in order to grow.  What will it mean to the author or publisher and what if it is someone that I know, meet or have to work with in the future?

Today I discovered that the International Thriller Writers Organization has been asking its authors to share their worst reviews with the public by video on their Facebook page.  What an interesting idea! The clips vary in length but overall it would seem that these authors engage with the negative reviews, they can take it, they can even laugh about it.

If you are logged in to Facebook you can see one of the clips by international best-selling British writer of crime fiction Peter James here .  David Swatling, a recently published author who also took part in this, posted this piece on Facebook referring to negative reviews:  “I appreciate anyone who takes time to write a review – good or bad. So I had no problem recording my worst at the request of International Thriller Writers. As Irish author Brendan Behan once said, ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary’.”

At the end of the day I think one of the main ways to approach this is to think of the VALUE of a review.  A ‘negative’ review can provide balance and it can provide commentary on society trend and make people think outside the box. The reviewer has the choice of words in which to call a spade a spade and  if you want the spade to be used constructively in the future then the reviewer will consider carefully the value of their review in the writers toolbox.

If you are a publisher, reviewer, author or someone who reads reviews regularly I would be really interested to hear what you have to say about book reviews with negative opinions in them and the value they hold.