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MLitt in Publishing Studies

Mireia Pauné, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2017-18

December 11th, 2017 by Mireia_Paune | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Mireia Pauné, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2017-18
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I spent my childhood and my teenage years reading and evaluating all the books I could find. If I had a book in my hands, I couldn’t avoid reading it, no matter what. This passion for books and words was the feeling that pushed me to study Journalism in Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, hoping that someday I would be able to work in this sector.

While studying my Bachelor’s Degree, I was involved in different media, such as a local radio, Catalonia’s autonomic TV and a newspaper. I also created a blog and wrote reviews about the books I read and articles about fashion, culture and films. This experience made me discover a big social media community interested in books, culture and fashion and, two years ago, I started a monthly collaboration in a radio program talking about fashion and culture.

After finishing my Bachelor’s degree in Journalism, I was combining my last years studying music (my other passion), and working in my first job. Being in charge of the communication department of a private business helped me to gain experience and improve my skills in corporate journalism. Regardless that I truly enjoyed being part of all these amazing teams, I wanted to follow my passion and work in the book industry.

The best way to do so was enrolling in the Mlitt in Publishing of Stirling University; being a year abroad in Scotland, learning all the skills that I love, like design, marketing and book production. It was the experience I have always dreamt of. Seeing all the internship opportunities that the course offers, the excitement of being part of the SYP and the cultural richness cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow have, I do not doubt I am going to live this year to the fullest. My publishing career has just started!

You can keep track of this adventure right from the beginning:

Instagram 

LinkedIn

Twitter

Pinterest

 

Rachel Kay, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

November 10th, 2016 by rachel_kay | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Rachel Kay, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17
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I can best characterise myself as a bit of a mix; having grown up on two continents as the poet in a family of scientists, I am both creative and analytical in my approach to the world. It is probably this mix which drew me to publishing, a field which I see as a fascinating combination between the worlds of art and business.

Growing up, I dev13007171_1163686976998578_3313351118242217563_noured books, composed questionable poetry, and edited various student publications. I have always found the written word a natural way of connecting with people. This was especially true when my family relocated from Florida to Italy when I was sixteen (collectively we spoke about ten words of Italian), and I got my introduction to a new school and culture through editing, designing, and producing our student magazine (the previous editor having just retired, probably out of exhaustion).

Inevitably, I gravitated towards an undergraduate degree in English, but before that began, I moved to Cambridge and spent a year working in a high street bookshop. Here I observed first-hand which titles and authors were selling, how marketing changed throughout the year, and how the categorisation of books impacted their readerships. This enlivened my interest in contemporary fiction, which I then pursued (from a more scholarly perspective) through four unforgettable years in the coastal town of St Andrews.

After graduation, it took another two years to fund my next step. I was well-aware by then of Stirling’s celebrated MLitt programme, and worked mere corridors away from the publishing department as a laboratory technician. I vividly remember being the source of grammar advice for reports in our office, and dashing off to the visiting speaker talks during my lunch break. So near and yet so far!

Eight weeks into the course, I’m grateful to be studying again and encouraged by the vast array of skills we are already developing. Publishing is an industry which is famously always in flux, but that only makes it more dynamic, multifaceted, and exciting to be a part of. Whatever my specific role in its future will be, a career spent promoting literacy is a pretty satisfying prospect.

You can find me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Ruoqi Sun, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

November 10th, 2016 by ruoqi_sun | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Ruoqi Sun, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17
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img_8321Hi, I am Ruoqi Sun, and I come from China. You can call me Ricky, although I realized this is not a female’s name since I came here. Anyway, the pronunciation is very similar with my Chinese name and that is the reason why I choose this, just for convenience. I lived in Beijing before I came here, and that is a totally different place with here. It is crowded, busy and has many opportunities, and we described it as a place where you can make money no matter what you do. It is a good place to enjoy life but not a good place to live.

Speaking of my major, my undergraduate degree was in Editing and Publishing. I didn’t even know about it until I was in college. Like most of Chinese students, I focused on my study all the time in high school in order to pass the final exam and go to the college.  Then I began to get confused when I received the admission, as I had achieved the goal of learning and I did not know what to do next. So I had a colorful university life: participating in clubs, making friends, and doing part- jobs. I did all the things I could think of, except learning, until the third year in my university, when everybody began to prepare for work or apply for a postgraduate course. I realized that my four-year life was about to pass. I began to want to plan the future carefully and I also found some internships related to publishing in traditional press in China. After the internship, I found that there are some problems in traditional publishing, but I can not change. I do not like this feeling. I think it was probably at that time that I began to enjoy reading.

It was also at that time I saw the cooperation project of University of Stirling and our  university. I took the IELTS exam, prepared the application materials, and tried my best to apply for this opportunity to continue my studies. Some of my friends said I was escaping the reality of graduation, I think it is better to say that I am not reconciled to end my campus life in this way. Fortunately, I got this chance and I came here at the beginning of August, which is a beautiful season for Stirling.

Now, I cherish and enjoy my life and class time here. Although I am not adapt to the model of our curriculum totally, because it is a kind of different with Chinese. But I still enjoy it and it is interesting. Now I am full of expectation for every day, and I am satisfied with this situation.

Morven Gow, MLitt Publishing Studies 2016-17

November 7th, 2016 by morven_gow | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Morven Gow, MLitt Publishing Studies 2016-17
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“How brave of you.” “How inspiring!” “I’d love to do that – good on you!”
Reactions to news that I have signed up to be one of the first humans trying to grow spinach in a cloche on Mars? Or perhaps to an announcement that I am contemplating a fire-walk, swimming Loch Lomond, and cycling the world? Neither of those. I find myself a Hero for the Middle-Aged Worker simply by returning to Uni.
What has brought me here to study publishing at Stirling? I wanted to shake up my skills and go back to the future, to focus on writing. After 30 years planning and buying advertising campaigns, with some PR experience, working on campaigns for some of Scotland’s bastions of culture (National Museums, National Galleries, National Library), newspaper publishers, retailers, banks, whiskies, political, and public health campaigns, I thought I would brush up my writing skills to suit the digital age adding what is known in the trade as content marketing to the skills I could offer my employer and my clients. A quick Google brought me to the Publishing Scotland website, and information about a day course on the subject. But I wanted something with more depth. I read information on the site about PG courses in publishing, and although I discounted the idea at the time, a small persistent voice (coupled with the louder voices of my friends) kept asking, “why not? Books are a passion for you, and you love a beautifully designed hip posh mag”. After a meeting with the course director, Frances, the idea blossomed, I applied – and here I am, loving my new life as a student on a well respected course, thinking new thoughts, on a beautiful campus, with fellow students from all over the world.
Now that the course has begun, I can see that the Publishing Studies course will repurpose me for the next stage in my life – rather like a classic G Plan chair, reupholstered and reoiled.
Officially self-employed, I am a consultant for my previous company combining blog writing and communication advice with media planning and buying, and looking for some experience in book and magazine marketing from publishers before I graduate, with an eye to moving into that area as a consultant at the end of the course.

I can be found at@Morv60 on Twitter and at Morven Gow on LinkedIn

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!

 

 

 

 

Caroline O’Brien, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

September 30th, 2016 by caroline_obrien | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Caroline O’Brien, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17
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13509093_1424480517565979_6273719872238790256_nmOn a dark and stormy night in Glasgow two fourth year undergrad English Literature students arranged a covert meeting at the student union. As the rain beat down on the windows all was going well until one turned to the other and asked the dreaded question.

‘So, what are you planning on doing after we graduate?’

Anyway, that’s the story of how my wonderful friend, Chiara, came to tell me about the University of Stirling’s MLitt in Publishing course. As it turned out it was one of the most serendipitous moments of my life. I knew going into my English Literature course at the University of Glasgow that I wanted to somehow get into publishing, but, as is so often the case when students are faced with the looming prospect of graduation and actually having to take part in normal adult life afterwards, I had no idea of how to do it.

Therefore, doing my masters at the University of Stirling served a twofold purpose. I would gain some concrete knowledge of what a publisher actually is and what they do. (Meaning that when asked these questions I can come up with a better answer then, ‘You know, someone that says what books are good…’) And I would be able to defer the terrifying prospect of a job search one more year.

Having said that, since the first lecture in my new course my publishing dreams have proven themselves founded on a strong basis. I now cannot wait to find my own place in the publishing industry, either here in Scotland or, possibly if I’m lucky, abroad.

But enough about this course and how great it is. Now for the really interesting stuff.

Me.

I was born in England, near London, and moved to Scotland when I was nine. This has resulted in a somewhat confused but, I hope, endearing accent that has on more than one occasion been mistaken for Australian. I now hail from Lanark where I’ve lived for the past twelve years or so with my parents and my two sisters. I of course adore books, something that I have my parents to thank for since they took the time to read to me every night when I was young.

This is the reason I am most interested in Children’s publishing. If I could bring even one child the same sense of joy that I got from settling down for a bedtime story with my parents then I’d be happy.

But now I’ve started to get soppy so I’m going to leave it there. Thanks for reading and hope I didn’t bore anyone. If I did, look on the bright side. You’ve made it to the end now.

My Experience of the Publishing Project

May 11th, 2015 by Sarah Elizabeth Webster | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on My Experience of the Publishing Project
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Pic for BlogSarah Webster reports on the creation of her Publishing Project:

For the Publishing Project module I produced a complete and finished Children’s Fiction title, aimed at 7-9 year olds, called Samson The Super Dog. To give a brief synopsis of my book, it is about an Italian Newfoundland lifeguard dog called Samson who works on the Cornish beaches, rescues a casualty and is awarded a medal for bravery by the Queen. It’s designed to educate children about open water safety, especially about the different beach flags and the risks of currents and tides all of which is something really close to my heart as an ex pool-lifeguard and TA in lifesaving. It is also a tribute to the real dogs who do this job year in year out in Italy and Spain, and is a particular tribute to Bilbo, the Cornish lifeguard dog, who is my personal hero and pin-up Newfie. In fact, Bilbo is so famous with his own website, social media, news and press coverage, and BBC footage, he even has his own published biography, and I was therefore obliged to seek copyright permissions from the author and his wonderful owner, Mr Jamieson. My dialogue with him not only fuelled my enthusiasm for this project but was also another invaluable opportunity of understanding and practically going about seeking rights and permissions, one of many real-world tasks involved in producing a new title for publication, and one of many new things I can now say I have accomplished because of the publishing project.

Indeed, prior to this course I had never used InDesign or Photoshop or had to engage with professional printers or devise a marketing plan. And although I have illustrated my project from cover to cover, I have no official art qualifications. But this short book in my hand has involved all of these different skills and tasks, of which I felt previously deficient, but now feel I’m equipped with to pursue my career in the industry.

One of the things that most attracted me to this particular University programme was the combination of practical and academic application, teaching and assessment that was on offer. The idea of producing a physical publishing product that I could literally hold in my hands and show to future employers as a demonstration of my practical skill set across a wide range of areas really appealed to me. I think it’s fair to say that the publishing project process has satisfied the desires and expectations I had and has been hugely rewarding.

I feel really satisfied that I’ve been able to carry out every stage of the process myself from concept to creation. It is something that prior to this course I couldn’t have done on my own, but thanks to the teaching and support provided here at Stirling, I have accomplished.

I think each and everyone of us on the course at Stirling are proud of our projects and what we have achieved. Thus, it leaves me to simply reiterate how much I, personally, have enjoyed creating this little book.

 

 

My Internship with Eland Publishing

May 5th, 2015 by Helen Griffin | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on My Internship with Eland Publishing
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Eland BadgeIn February of this year I had the opportunity to work for Eland Publishing, one of the foremost publishers of classic travel writing in the world. Eland is a very small and determinedly independent publisher located in Exmouth Market in London. The publishing house is owned by travel writers Rose Baring, John Hatt and Barnaby Rogerson, run with the assistance of a team of self-motivated freelancers: Jennie Paterson [website creation] Antony Gray [typesetting and page design] and Stephanie Allen [Publicity Director]. Eland’s mission statement is to keep the great works of travel literature in print.

Eland Picture 1I thoroughly enjoyed my opportunity to work for Eland because everything was run from one small attic room that had a bohemian, dusty sort of air to it, spread around large piles of books. The office was everything you imagine a publishing house should look like. All meetings and every aspect of book production was covered in this tiny little space and so I was able to see and hear all the work and planning that goes in to every stage of the book making process. I was also able to meet and have conversations with some incredibly interesting travel writers, who in a larger publishing house would have most likely been tucked away in private offices to have their meetings.

 

GoddessThroughout my internship I was able to sink my teeth into some real publishing activities such as organising and attending a book launch for their newest release: The Living Goddess by Isabella Tree. I also had the exciting job of cataloguing all of the entries for the Stanford-Dolman Best Travel Book of the Year Award, which meant that I was the first person to see all the potential candidates for the award.

 

Eland Picture 2Barnaby and Rose were both excellent people to work with. I was the first intern they had ever taken on and so I was very appreciative of how welcoming and enthusiastic they were to ensure that I would gain as much experience as possible from this work experience. They would explain the reasoning and importance behind every task I was completing and how each contributed to the overall running of their business. They would also involve me in all of their meetings and engage me in the conversation so that I was not just a mere spectator to the activity.

Eland Picture 7My time at Eland allowed me to develop a fine eye for detail and gave me the confidence to voice my own ideas when I felt I could contribute. I am very grateful to Barnaby and Rose for the support I was given throughout my time at Eland. This experience gave me a broad understanding of the work that goes into book production and showed me the pride they felt for the content they were producing. It was a privilege to work for a company who strive to keep classic travel literature in print and to be able to say, that for a while, I was a part of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Future of Indie Bookshops

November 30th, 2014 by Helen Griffin | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on The Future of Indie Bookshops
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On Wednesday 19th November, in the Central Library in Edinburgh, SYP Scotland held a seminar discussing the future of Indie Bookshops. The panelists included representatives from four Independent Bookshops in Edinburgh: Gillian Robertson from Looking Glass Books, Elaine Henry from Word Power Books, Ian Macbeth from Golden Hare Books and Marie Moser from The Edinburgh Bookshop. Each representative spoke about what was next for them, what had changed over the last few years and what changes were still to come as independent booksellers adapt their business models in a bid to hold on to their share of the book market. The event was chaired by Peggy Hughes, Programme Director of the Dundee Literary Festival, Co-ordinator of the Dundee International Book Prize, and sundry other projects and publications at Literary Dundee. Peggy was also one of the judges for the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Book Awards 2013 and a Trustee for Reel Arts. By night, Peggy is also the Programme Director of the West Port Book Festival and one third of Electric Bookshop.

 

 

 

The Independent Booksellers:

Looking Glass Books

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Looking Glass Books is a bookshop and café that was set up in Edinburgh’s Quartermile in 2012. Gillian Robertson explained that the bookshop was opened when the industry was already where it is now, and so they haven’t had to do a lot of adapting. Their strategies have been more focused on who they are, where they might go and how they might place themselves within the industry.

 

 

 

 

 

Word Power Books

Word Power Books

It has been 20 years since Elaine Henry cut the red ribbon to Word Power Books in West Nicolson Street. Even after their 20 year success, Elaine said that there are still people who come into the store and ask how long they have been open for. Sometimes thinking, ‘what are we doing wrong that people still don’t know our existence’, Elaine believes this to be one of the major challenges of being an independent bookseller. Independent bookshops are not one homogenous group, and Word Power Books is what Elaine would call a radical bookshop dedicated to supporting small presses and independent presses (although they would get anything in for their customers). Word Power Books also publish, having done 22 titles. Their latest book, The Liberty Tree, about the Scottish radical Thomas Muir, was a leading review in the Sunday Times. Elaine commented that this feat meant they had finally been given some recognition for what they do after 20 years in the business.

 

Golden Hare Books

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Golden Hare Books opened 3 years ago and is based in St. Stephen Street, Stockbridge. Ian Macbeth described the shop as having a curated feel, like many independent bookshops, distinguishing itself from larger chains.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Edinburgh Bookshop

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The Edinburgh Bookshop, nestled at Holy Corner in Bruntsfield, was opened 7 years ago and bought by Marie Moser just 2 years ago. Since then Marie has benefited from a double turnover and successes such as winning the UK Children’s Bookseller 2014 and being named Scottish Independent Bookshop 2014. Discussing the obvious successes of her predecessor, Marie nonetheless talked about the importance of accepting what you are and what works for your customers rather than what you want to be or feel you should be. When Fifty Shades of Grey came out it was 15% of the book market, and although, as Marie acknowledged, ‘ it might be considered by some people to be a rubbish piece of writing, it was the biggest thing since Harry Potter’. Marie’s predecessor would not stock the book, telling people they would need to go across the road to Tesco. Marie’s position on this kind of mentality was simple: ‘As a small independent retailer you have to get off your high horse’.

Existing Relationships with Digital

When discussing independent bookshops’ relationship with digital, Marie challenged that as yet the world might be 50% digital but not everything in the world is digital. In Britain we buy physically half a million books a day, not E-books, physical books! That might be massively down on 20 years ago, but according to Marie, if you found any businessman who was setting up a business and you said to him you could sell him half a million units a day, could he honestly think that wasn’t one cracking business? In relation to social media, however,  Marie questioned the practical uses of Twitter. Although a tweeter herself, since Marie has come into the industry, her opinion has become more inclined to regard it as a platform for the way the industry talks to itself.

Continuing with this discussion, Peggy Hughes humorously compared being good at Twitter as like ‘being good at the egg and spoon’. Ian Macbeth also likened twitter to playing ‘Guitar Hero’, with links to articles and people’s opinions coming at you all the time, just like the coloured blocks in the game. Ian also felt that it was a platform where it was difficult to make your voice heard. Although he does tweet about events and interesting books that have come into his store, Ian believes that interpersonal links are far more important, with tools such as a mailing list being a much better way to keep in touch with your customers. Although many people do love a mailing list, in today’s digital age it may be seen as archaic. Overall, Ian felt that Facebook had less impact than Twitter but that mailing lists and store websites were much more significant tools for promotional activity from the standpoint of an independent bookseller.

In a rather different digital era, Elaine Henry first used microfiche to look up books. From stock-card indexing to today’s methods, Elaine has definitely seen first hand the rising demand for instant response. In terms of twitter Elaine said, ‘I don’t tweet because I just don’t have the time. This thing that you should be sending out three tweets a day, I just find it a challenge’. However, when informed by Peggy that she had been tweeted by Russell Brand, an astonished Elaine relented to find a positive outcome to the social media platform, laughing, ‘I guess sometimes Twitter can work to your advantage’.

Gillian Robertson also commented that she tweeted regularly, but was quick to point out that you can’t have blanket rules for every bookstore. Gillian did agree with Marie’s opinion that Twitter was a way in which the industry spoke to itself, but pointed out that it depends on whom you follow. Gillian follows local independent businesses and Edinburgh locals, which she believes, has been crucial to her success. ‘I don’t know if we would have been able to get off the ground without social media’.

Indie Bookshop VS. Amazon

Marie Moser was of the opinion that businesses could not be future proofed, claiming that in today’s day and age, ‘there is no room to be mediocre, if you are not interested and engaged you are not going to make money’. Marie’s basic view of digital was that it was a society and that Amazon was at the pinnacle of it.

Ian was quick to point out that it’s not just Amazon, it’s supermarkets, Waterstones, etc. Independent booksellers cannot match the discounts of these large retailers, and even if  they could, they wouldn’t want to. Ian’s theory is that if you can’t offer the same discounts you have to offer people something else. Amazon can never provide the same experience as bricks and mortar bookshops as they are selling on experience and Amazon is selling on instant gratification.

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Within Word Power Books they have leaflets exhibiting quotes such as ‘think before you click’ and ‘discounts don’t come for free’. Marie’s agreement with these slogans prompted her to challenge the role of the publisher, arguing that there is a danger the industry is losing sight of volume and bestsellers versus actually making profit, therefore illustrating the idea that any fool can sell something cheap. Marie commented  that when you let big chains heavily discount your lead title you devalue that brand and you devalue the years of work that the writer undertook to make the product. The fact that publishers should value what they sell was most evidently what offended Marie the most.

Marie also argued that publishers, as an industry, are letting retailers hammer down prices. If you were to ask the public if they wanted to buy products as cheap as they could, it is inevitable that they would say yes. The reality, according to Marie, is that this is not true or we wouldn’t have luxury brands; ‘We will buy what we think is a fair price for something nice’.

The seminar ended on the positive note that since 2009 there has been a resurgence of independent bookshops. According to all four of the independent booksellers, what we need to do is look at what is driving this; it may be a small movement, but it can have a big impact. Overall, for independent bookshops world domination is not on their agenda, however, they do not just want to survive, because that’s a low bar; they want to thrive, and as far as the seminar proved, Amazon is not going to stop them.

Helen Griffin, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2014-2015

October 28th, 2014 by Helen Griffin | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Helen Griffin, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2014-2015
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10441162_771707296214516_7616619309896870457_nMy name is Helen Griffin and I am a returning graduate to the University of Stirling, where I recently completed my undergraduate degree in English and Journalism Studies.

Having spent most of my academic career writing and editing from a journalistic point of view, I became very interested in the other side of the market. Unlike the fast-paced, rigid functionality of the journalism process; where I was trained to gather, organise and circulate information in a very short space of time, I became more drawn to a less clinical production of material, thus prompting my decision to pursue an MLitt in Publishing Studies.

I have always been an avid lover of books, particularly fiction and travel literature, and would love to be an active part of the processes involved in the development of these types of publications. With no prior experience in publishing, I am looking forward to the new challenges that this course will bring and the equally passionate people that I will meet along the way.