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Rutangye Crystal Butungi, MLitt Publishing Studies 2014-15

October 27th, 2014 | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Rutangye Crystal Butungi, MLitt Publishing Studies 2014-15
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crystal.photoOn my first day at the University of Stirling, Scotland decided not to be independent by voting “NO” in the referendum. On this profound day in history (of both of Scotland and of my life), I also got to meet my personal tutor, Frances Sessford, who inducted me into my new course; MLitt Publishing Studies. I have since interacted with the most amazing lecturers and classmates, and confirmed my earlier notion that Publishing Studies at the University of Stirling is one of the most exciting experiences a book-lover could have.

Yes, I am one of those cliché book-lovers. Well, I love words in general, but I love them most when they are well put together in a beautiful book. I suspect this is the reason I was driven to study how to publish books; it’s worth a shot trying to convince the rest of the world that they need to fall in love with reading. Especially when you come from a country whose systems put emphasis on getting good marks in exams, rather than on being transformed for the better by just reading things that change people’s lives, souls, mind-sets, attitudes, beliefs, – it’s astonishing what the power of words can do to the simple mind. Well, I still followed the government’s system;- joined the bandwagon and secured an A-level certificate in the sciences (Biology, Chemistry and Maths), in preparation for a ‘more professional’ degree, like medicine. This was despite the fact that my friends and I founded the school writers club and took up all the editorial positions in the school magazine. My talents and interests won over the nation’s expectations fortunately and I was instead sponsored to do a degree in Tourism.

It was on one of those typical days in the life of a Ugandan job-seeking graduate that a friend asked me to proof-read his dissertation because ‘I had relatively good English.’ Then all my friends were giving me work to proof-read, then I was being invited to attend writer and editor workshops with African Writers Trust and the British Council Uganda, then getting more training, and before I knew it, I was a recognised practising editor in my city – and loving it. I landed an administrative job with Moran Publishers  – Uganda (the former Macmillan-Uganda), where I learnt more by volunteering with the publishing department. Then I was asked to be chief editor at World of Inspiration Uganda, one of our first ever publishing companies to publish, and sell for profit, non-academic books on a large scale. By this time, I had started convincing the Commonwealth Scholarship Committee that it was I who needed to study more about this business if someone was going to help my country produce better books. They finally agreed. They awarded me the Commonwealth Shared Scholarship. Without batting an eyelid, I had selected the University of Stirling as my choice scholarly destination, and I now wake up everyday marvelling at the wisdom of this decision.

I suppose I will be a writer/grand editor/publisher some day, after all.