Ailsa Kirkwood, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

October 20th, 2016 by ailsa_kirkwood | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Ailsa Kirkwood, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17
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Hi, I’m Ailsa and I’ve always found describing myself one of the hardest and most awkward things to do, but here goes…

Before coming to the University of Stirling for Publishing Studies (MLitt), I graduated in Scottish Literature at the University of Edinburgh. Having grown up in the beautiful city of Edinburgh, I fancied a change of scenery and have happily relocated to Stirling.

Like most people hoping to pursue a career in publishing with a background education in literature, stating my love for books may seem like a cliché, but it is unavoidable. Living in Edinburgh made my passion for literature an easy one to explore, as Edinburgh itself is a vibrant hub for literature. Every August the city hosts the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the only redeeming part about living in Edinburgh during the entire month of August. Without fail, the Festival has excellent line ups of authors and guest speakers, not to forget the fabulous bookshop of new releases – all in one tented village. I’ve been privileged enough to have seen Chuck Palahniuk, James Kelman and the late William McIlvanney, to name a few, provide fascinating and mesmerising talks and would have seen Alasdair Gray last year had he not fallen outside his flat at precisely the wrong moment.

It was during my time at Menzies Distribution, magazine and newspaper distributors that I decided to pursue a career in publishing but I wanted to swap sides and become part of the creative industry instead. It was this decision which prompted my return to education for my undergraduate and now here I am in Stirling. It seems that most of my classmates have already picked a specific field within publishing they wish to work in; I am, however, quite content exploring the different aspects before I find and choose my place.

Helene Bjørndal Fosse, Publishing (MLitt) 2016-17

October 19th, 2016 by helene_fosse | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Helene Bjørndal Fosse, Publishing (MLitt) 2016-17
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profilepic-uni This picture was taken on an extremely rare day in Bergen, Norway. It was sunny and only partly cloudy. We were all in shock, and I would bet money about 80% of the population of Bergen were out taking a profile picture that day. If you see a photo of someone from Bergen and it’s sunny, it will most likely have been taken on the same day as this. Because it rains all the time. And when I say rain, I don’t mean your pesky little Scottish showers. I mean full on take-the-roof-off-your-house, 24 hour, weeklong monsoons. And yes, I am Norwegian so therefore I ski (on the few days it doesn’t rain that is). We all do, the stereotype is true. If I hear one more Viking joke however, I will signal the longboats, so help me God.

I did my undergraduate degree, English Studies, at the University of Stirling and I just could not get enough of the place, so decided to stay for my postgraduate degree as well! I’m currently the resident Stirling expert within my newfound friend group at the Stirling Publishing (MLitt) course, so if you are wondering which buses go where, I’m your girl.

The decision to do a masters was an easy one, mainly because the prospect of trying to find a job with a BA (Hons) in English Studies and no clue what to do with it was just too much to handle. I can’t remember exactly what made me go in for publishing, but I know the idea has been at the back of my mind for the past two years, so I went with it. I also don’t know what made me go for English Studies… there’s just something about books that I obviously cannot resist.

Other than that, I love candles, hot water bottles and generally keeping warm. Thermals are always on my Christmas wishlist. I have about 80 million scarves and I knit (mainly socks, hats, slippers, and other things that will keep me warm). Christmas starts in October. That’s just how it is. If I could live on cheese alone, I would. I would also go so far as to class cheese as one of my hobbies – just above knitting and just below ballet.

PS: the dog in the photo is not mine! It’s an evil little thing and I don’t really like it. Love all other dogs and animals generally, though. Just not this one.

Shaunna Whitters, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

October 18th, 2016 by shaunna_whitters | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Shaunna Whitters, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17
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shaunnawhitters I have previously completed a HND in Practical Journalism at Cardonald College and then went on to complete my undergrad in Multimedia Journalism at Glasgow Caledonian University (commonly referred to as Caley). I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing some key figures in Scotland such as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (although at the time she was Health Minister) and have undergone work experience at establishments such as The Scotsman, the Hamilton Advertiser, Clyde 1, Real Radio, the Rutherglen Reformer and many others.

It was during my final year at Caley that I began to question whether journalism was something that I wanted to do. The direction the industry was going, especially in Scotland, didn’t feel right to me but with graduation approaching and everyone asking the dreaded ‘What’s next?’ question, I knew I needed to figure something out. In the end I decided to go travelling and have spent the last two years visiting some of the most amazing places across Europe, America, and Canada.

It was towards the end of my travels and around a campfire (apparently this is where a lot of great ideas can be founded) that I finally decided my next step would be to pursue my postgraduate. I knew I didn’t want to continue with journalism but other than that I had no idea what I wanted to do. It was back to the drawing board. Thankfully, not for too long as I began to research postgraduates in publishing and discovered this course. Instantly I knew it was the direction I wanted to take my career in and so I applied. The rest, as they say, is history.

I was adamant before starting this course that it was editorial I wanted to pursue but my mind is slowly opening up to the prospect of design and production. At the moment though, I’m enjoying learning about all the different aspects of publishing and can’t wait to put those skills into practice.


Bookshop Day 2016

October 18th, 2016 by rachel_mccann | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Bookshop Day 2016
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bookshop-dayThe Bookseller’s Association announced back in August that it would be holding the inaugural Bookshop Day across the UK and Ireland on Saturday 8th October. The aim was to bring readers, who may have been swayed by online retailers such as Amazon, back into brick and mortar bookstores.

Over 2000 bookshops across the country took part, with events including book clubs and readings, such as Ann Cleeves appearing at Far From the Madding Crowd bookstore in Linlithgow. As an added incentive, there were limited edition Books Are My Bag tote bags designed by award-winning book cover designer, Coralie Bickford-Smith, which were exclusively available in bookshops on the day.

The event was heavily promoted on social media with publishers and bookshops sharing the hashtag #BookshopDay across Twitter, with the Penguin Twitter account (@PenguinUKBooks) writing: “Your mission, should you choose to accept it (& you should), is to head to your local bookshop and buy a book… or ten.”

In a clever move by the Bookseller’s Association, the event was planned to coincide with the start of the festive buying period with new titles by PD James, Graham Norton, Michael Palin and Margaret Atwood, amongst others being released on 6th October.

So now that a few days have passed and the dust has settled, how successful was Bookshop Day? The Bookseller reported initial findings that footfall in bookshops nationwide was much higher than an average Saturday, and sales also increased. The Bookseller also reported that Edward Scotland from Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath stated that “not all our customers were aware” of the event. However, with such good reports of a successful inaugural Bookshop Day, there can be no doubt that as awareness grows in following years, this could be an annual event of great importance for booksellers in the UK.

By Rachel McCann

Rachel McCann, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

October 18th, 2016 by rachel_mccann | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Rachel McCann, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17
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11041673_10153212030283115_3861393228011078411_nHi, I’m Rachel and I hail from Omagh in Northern Ireland. I studied English Literature at Queen’s University in Belfast, and now I’m in Stirling studying the MLitt in Publishing Studies, so I’d say it’s obvious that a love of reading has always driven my life choices.

I have been a book nerd for as long as I can remember. As a child, I always had my nose stuck in a book, getting lost in the fictional worlds created by Roald Dahl and, of course, JK Rowling. Therefore, you can imagine my excitement when I realised that I could actually make a living out of books!

I’d have to say the defining moment for me was when I took part in my school’s Young Enterprise team. Our product was an educational children’s book about robots. I loved the entire process of taking an idea on paper to presenting the finished physical product at the Northern Ireland finals. That was when I knew I had to turn my love of books into a career.

Now that I’m actually here studying the publishing industry, I can’t wait to explore all the options that are available to me: from editorial to production, marketing to distribution. My dream job would be to work in children’s publishing as I love the idea of playing a role in inspiring and shaping new generations of book worms (apologies for all that cheese). I know Stirling will provide me with all the skills and knowledge I need to make that dream happen, so I guess the rest is down to me.

Soraya Belkhiria, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

October 17th, 2016 by Soraya Belkhiria | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Soraya Belkhiria, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17
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photo-du-08-10-2016-a-13-02My name is Soraya Désirée Belkhiria, I am 3/4 French and 1/4 Tunisian. I was born in Paris and was lucky to grow up in Versailles, in a street that leads straight to the Palace’s park.

I remember being intrigued by books before I could even read, and they have always been very integrated into my everyday life. As a child I was a fervent adept of replaying the story lines from Dumas or Hugo novels with my toys. My collection of books grew as I did, and is perpetually being reorganized and on the verge of chaos at the same time.

I’ve been a very busy student. After two years in preparatory classes, which is a kind of French torture device composed of Latin, philosophy, literature, Greek and 6 hours dissertations every Saturday morning among other things, I graduated in French literature at the university of Paris Diderot (Paris VII). I have also had a very nice time studying for my second bachelor in Korean Language, Literature and Civilisation at the INALCO (National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilizations).

I have very varied interests and like mixing things that don’t go well together in an obvious way, like playing hip hop music while reading Sade, or running while listening to an audiobook of one of Corneille’s plays. So it’s quite naturally that I chose comparative literature for my research master, which last for two years in France. During my first year I wrote about the autodiegetic narrative as a mean of exploring one’s inwardness and building personality in The Devil in the Flesh by Raymond Radiguet and The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. During the second one I undertook a bigger research project as I wrote about the exhibition of the psyche in William S. Burroughs and Jean Genet’s novels. For me books are a really special medium because they favour insubordination and independent thinking in a way that no other can, from reading with a lamp torch underneath your bed sheets to being able to experience the writing of jailed criminals or morphine junkies.

One thing I enjoyed quite a lot during my time at the university was reviewing my peers’ academic work, to help them articulate their ideas and structure their work in a way that would make it an enjoyable read for non specialists of their subject. This was particularly true concerning dissertations written by INALCO students, because one of the goals of this institute is to make knowledge about distant cultures available and understandable in Europe. So I came to Stirling University to study publishing with the idea of becoming an editor, but in just a few short weeks I discovered that there is a lot more to making books and I decided to use this year to explore all the fascinating aspects there is to it before choosing a career. I’m also very glad to be in Scotland, and to be able to enjoy a campus that feels like a breath of fresh air compared to a busy city like Paris!



Visiting Speaker 13/10/16: Jonny Gallant from Alban Books

October 17th, 2016 by Alice Laing | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Visiting Speaker 13/10/16: Jonny Gallant from Alban Books
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13872919_10153621715627121_7098822134678477676_nSometimes all you can do is laugh…if only to stop yourself from crying. At least that is Jonny Gallant’s approach to looking back on any and all of the mistakes that he has made in his career.

From working with Cannongate in 2004 (when publishing was made easy from the sales of Life of Pi) to Walker Books, Alma Books, and St. Andrews Press, Gallant has found himself in the role of Managing Director of Alban Books.

Alban Books is the UK distributor for eleven Christian publishers outwith the UK. Most of the publishers they work with are based in the US with others in Europe and Israel. For a relatively small company  they have 7000 active titles under their care, with an average RRP of £23.55. With a team of five people marketing and selling over 500 titles per year, working with 400 trade accounts, 400 libraries, 700 academics, and 600 reviewers Alban Books know how to keep themselves busy.

Gallant himself knows how to grab the attention of a room full of publishing students, managing to inspire laughter throughout his visit by being candid about the mistakes (or, as he colorfully referred to them, f**k-ups) he has made in his career thus far and offering us a few lessons along the way.

Lesson 1: Always double check the zeros on your shipping forms to avoid sending the entire print run to Australia.

Lesson 2: Learn how to spell ‘Stationery’ and always believe the person with two degrees in Literature from Oxford University on the spelling of ‘Stationery’.

Lesson 3: There’s an odd amusement to be found in witnessing 800 people enthusiastically agree to your redundancy.

Lesson 4: Brexit is a sh*tstorm that is causing Gallant’s publishing related misery as he tries to safely make it through, with Alban Books relying heavily on their backlist, which accounts for 88% of sales. However, there is always Pope Frances, who is likely responsible for 10% of their sales, to be thankful for.

Lesson 5: When one door closes, a better one will more often than not open – mainly if you accept invitations for coffee.

Lesson 6: Always question why people don’t blink at spending £3 for a greetings card, but expect a 250+ page book to be £6.99.

Gallant did an excellent job at showing a room full of post graduate students that you shouldn’t fear making mistakes, as there are always opportunities and a lesson to be learnt. Time spent worrying about what could go wrong, or even what has gone wrong, is time wasted and there’s not a lot of time to spare in the world of publishing and distribution. It’s not too clear how Brexit is going to continue to affect Alban Books and the rest of the industry, but one thing that is clear is that ‘Visiting Speaker Day’ is fast becoming a class favourite and we’ve been left with very high expectations – no pressure.

by Alice Laing

Elina Kyriazi-Perri, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

October 16th, 2016 by evangelia_kyriazi-perri | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Elina Kyriazi-Perri, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17
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Describing myself was always hard to do, so please bear with me! My name is Elina, coming from sunny Greece to follow my dream to become a …? This is what I’m hoping to find out through the MLitt Publishing course in the mostly cloudy and beautiful Stirling. There is one thing I’m absolutely positive about: Since I can remember, I’ve always had a passion for English language and Literature.

When I graduated from the University of Athens, holding a degree in English Literature, everybody was expecting me to become a teacher. Deep down, I knew I had to follow a different path and pursue publishing as a career option. After the course, I aspire to find my place in the industry either in the editorial or publicity department; however, almost a month on the course now and I’ve decided to keep an open mind and explore other publishing areas too. I’m very excited about what the program has to offer and I’m ready to apply all the valuable knowledge we are going to get to achieve a successful career.

In case you’re interested to learn more things about me, apart from my future plans, keep reading!

I would describe myself as a food and travel enthusiast, constantly taking pictures of everything, from food to landscapes. Also, I’ve recently started a lifestyle blog, in which I include mostly recipes, beauty and food reviews. You can follow me on social media to see what I’m up to especially Instagram: @eline_themermaid and Twitter: @elinek_93

Thank you for your time and I wish we all have a great year, full of unique experiences and memories!





Chiara Bullen, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

October 14th, 2016 by chiara_bullen | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Chiara Bullen, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17
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After I graduated from the University of Glasgow with a degree in English Literature and Language I knew I wanted to spend at least another year in academia. What better way to do so than by preparing for the career you hope to break into?

I gained my first insight into the publishing world (although small) when I worked as a bookseller in a local Waterstones, and that was also when I met someone who was studying Publishing at Stirling. The idea slowly lingered and took hold in the back of my mind throughout my undergraduate years. During this time I was also a keen student journalist and held various editing positions at our student publication. I enjoy writing and I’m currently writing for publications on a freelance basis in my spare time.

When my third year ended and I had to start thinking seriously about my career, I remembered my days behind the tills at Waterstones wondering about the processes that went into creating the books I sold each day. I looked into Publishing further and knew it was for me- combining writing and business seemed like the perfect industry to match my interests. I decided to apply for the course I had heard about so long ago- and here I am!

During the summer before starting, I got a job managing a company’s social and digital media, which made me realise that marketing is an area in the publishing industry I hope to pursue a career in, although I’m also interested in the editorial process. However, I’m always open to new opportunities! I’m excited to see what my time on the course does to influence my publishing interests.

You can find me on Twitter and LinkedIn. I also blog from time to time over here.


Amanda Sarah Bain: MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

October 14th, 2016 by amandasarahbain | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Amanda Sarah Bain: MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17
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Th10869760_836911536331483_7931824809201480419_oroughout my childhood I spent countless hours in libraries and each birthday always consisted of numerous new books. My literary obsession began thanks to the encouragement of my mother and the literary talent that is Dr. Seuss. Fast forward to 2016 and I have just recently graduated from the University of Strathclyde with a joint honours degree in English and French.

During the third year of my degree I contributed to an article which discussed the use of children’s literature as a tool for teaching English as a foreign language. The article was subsequently published in the Scottish Languages Review and my interest in publishing began.

Life as a graduate was a daunting prospect after five years immersed in the university bubble, and my search for the job that was supposed to transform me into a proper adult in the publishing world was proving unsuccessful. Thankfully my search led me to discover Stirling’s MLitt in Publishing Studies. Unsurprisingly, I jumped at the chance to be able learn more about the world of publishing and also to be able to avoid the dreaded graduate job search for at least another year.

I haven’t yet decided which aspect of publishing will suit me best. During my undergraduate studies I acquired a particular interest in French literature due to absurdist writers such as Camus and the semi-autobiographical feminist works of Annie Ernaux. I am also interested in the versatility of children’s literature due to its potential for recreational and educational purposes. Currently, I am most interested in the editorial side of publishing due to the possibility that I may be able to utilise my French language skills as a translator, combining my love of literature and languages. I am excited to engage with all aspects of the publishing industry such as marketing and production in order to find my niche.