Friday, December 8, 2017

MA graduate Ever Dundas wins Saltire Society First Book Award - Goblin gets republished!

Ever Dundas • photo by Graham Clark
It's been an amazing week for Edinburgh Napier MA Creative Writing graduate Ever Dundas: she won the prestigious Saltire Society First Book of the Year Award for her debut and, six days later, the prize-winning novel Goblin was republished by Saraband Books.

'For every world-be writer it is fantastic simply to get your book published,' Ever says. 'But for it to also win a major literary award... it's an absolute dream.'

'Writing may seem like a solo effort, but it takes a lot of people for a book to come together,' Ever says. 'Thanks to everyone who's helped - family and friends, my agent and publishers, fellow writers and inspirational artists. Goblin wouldn't be here without you.'

Ever started work on Goblin while a part-time student on the Creative Writing programme at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland. Indeed, it was her Major Project on the MA, the creative capstone of all her endeavours with us.

She paid a special tribute to the Edinburgh Napier MA on Twitter not long after winning her award: 'I couldn't have done it without the support, guidance, expertise, and raised eyebrows of doom of @davidbishop and @SamBoyceEditor.'

The novel was originally published by Freight in May but escaped that company's demise to be reborn by Saraband Books - just in time for Christmas. Publisher Sara Hunt is full of praise for the book and its author.

'Ever ... so richly deserves this award. The book itself has echoes of Jeanette Winterson and Angela Carter: it is a superb piece of writing. In Goblin, Ever has created a character to die for.'

The Guardian newspaper made the novel its Book of the Day on Wednesday, with reviewer Peter Ross describing it as a terrific debut full of reckless joy:
It is a celebration of freakery, of creating one’s own family; a meditation on trauma and loss and abandonment (in both senses of that word) which, somehow, is never bleak.
The MA programme team couldn't be prouder of Ever's achievement. Like all good writers, she's already hard at work on her next narrative, Hell Sans. We can't wait to read what she writes next!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Recent graduate wins second short story contest

Photo © David Bishop
Anna Haldane only graduated from the MA Creative Writing programme at Edinburgh Napier University this autumn, but she's just won her second short story competition.

Having topped the 1000 Word Challenge two months ago, Anna is now the winner of the Dark Tales Contest for October with her short story The Silver Whisper, which you can read here.

She wrote the story while a student on the MA, working on it in our unique mentoring module Creative and Editorial Development. Now published online, the story will be collected in a future anthology by Dark Tales and Anna wins £100.

'I'm really pleased that this story has finally found a home,' she says. 'I worked really hard on it, tried lots of other places and publications. Just goes to show that perseverance does pay off!'

Monday, October 23, 2017

Debut novel by MA graduate Ever Dundas shortlisted for 2017 Saltire Literary Award

The stunning cover art for GOBLIN
The MA Creative Writing programme is proud to see one of our graduates shortlisted for the prestigious 2017 Satire Literary Award for First Book of the Year.

Goblin by Edinburgh Napier University alumni Ever Dundas is one of the six finalists up for the award.

Widely regarded as Scotland’s most prestigious book awards, the Saltire Literary Awards are organised by the Saltire Society, a non-political independent charity founded in 1936 to celebrate the Scottish imagination.

The shortlists for all seven Saltire Literary Awards were announced in Edinburgh last week, with Ever's novel described as a 'beguiling historical tale'. The winners are named on November 30th - St Andrew’s Day.

Congratulations are also due 404 Ink publishers Heather McDaid and Laura Jones, who are recent guest speakers on our MA programme. Both have been shortlisted for the Saltire Emerging Publisher of the Year Award, while their company 404 Ink is up for Scottish Publisher of the Year.

Alongside its Saltire Award shortlisting, Goblin is also among the finalists for the celebrated Edinburgh International Book Festival's First Book Award, with the winner to be announced soon.

Ever will be one of four writers reading in the Scottish Parliament on November 15th for international Day of the Imprisoned Writer. This free event run by Amnesty International and Scottish PEN is sponsored by Mike Russell MSP. Tickets can be booked here.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

More success for MA Creatve Writing alumni: graduating student wins short story contest

Anna Haldane • photo © David Bishop
We're delighted to reveal another accolade for alumni of the Edinburgh Napier University MA Creative Writing programme!

Following on from Georgina Bruce winning a British Fantasy Award for short fiction, graduating student Anna Haldane has won the 1000 Word Challenge for her entry The Tiller's Challenge.

Anna's tale was chosen ahead of numerous entries from around the world and she describes herself as 'pretty damn happy' about the coming first in a kiss-themed challenge. 'Strictly speaking it's a new story,' Anna says, 'but I used elements from two of my assignments on the MA programme, including world-building and linguistic innovation.'

Anna was part of our 2016-17 cohort and will be formally graduate from the MA at a ceremony in Edinburgh's Usher Hall later this month.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

MA graduate wins a 2017 British Fantasy Award

Georgina Bruce - a graduate of Edinburgh Napier University's acclaimed MA Creative Writing programme - has won the Best Short Fiction trophy at the 2017 British Fantasy Awards.

The winners were announced at FantasyCon 2017 in Peterborough, with Georgina being awarded the accolade for her short story White Rabbit, originally published in issue 50 of Black Static magazine.

Since graduating from the MA four years ago, Georgina has had short stories published in many of Britain's bestselling genre fiction magazines, such as Interzone and Black Static. She is currently working on a novel with the working title The Mirror Book.

"I'm delighted to see Georgina's talents as a storyteller recognised," says David Bishop, programme leader for the Creative Writing MA at Edinburgh Napier. "Winning this British Fantasy Award is thoroughly deserved, and will be a great boost for her career. I can't wait to read her novel!"



Thursday, June 22, 2017

Selection process for MA Creative Writing @ Edinburgh Napier University, 2017-18

Unique is a great way to describe the postgraduate creative writing programme at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland. For a start, we put genre fiction front and centre in our course. If you love science fiction, fantasy, crime or horror, most MFAs and MAs don't want to know - but we embrace great genre writing and people who want to write it.

Another unique focus at Edinburgh Napier is comics and graphic novels, which most other programmes ignore. In fact, we love this medium so much we devote an entire module about it, Writing Graphic Fiction. [Good news: no talent for drawing required!] We also specialise in Young Adult fiction, with acclaimed YA author Laura Lam leading a new module on this.

Edinburgh Napier's creative writing MA does not offer a poetry option. I repeat, poetry is not a requirement. There are plenty of other great courses with brilliant poets on the faculty - if you want to study poetry, seek them out. We have had prize-winning poets as students on our programme, but we don't teach or critique poetry.

There are also no peer review workshops in Creative Writing MA classes at Edinburgh Napier. I repeat, no peer review workshops. This boggles the mind of some people, as such workshops are the dominant teaching method for creative writing pretty much everywhere else. But we don't have them in our classes. Not one!

Instead, we set frequent writing assignments and expect you to bring the results to class. You're encouraged to critically self-reflect on your work [with prompts from us], and to share that thinking. You get professional editorial feedback on your writing and your self-reflection skills, delivered masterclass-style in class. And you get six hours of one-to-one mentoring.

If that sounds enticing, here's how you apply for our course. Like so much of our programme, the admissions process we use to select students also seems to be unique...


First, you fill in and submit an application form [there are links to an online version top right of this page]. We welcome applicants who already have a degree - it doesn't have to be in English, English literature or some form of creative writing]. We also recognise prior learning and writing experience in those who don't have a degree yet.

The crucial section of your form is the personal statement. This is where you tell us about your aspirations as a writer, and why our programme can help. Here's a hint: don't just paste in your usual personal statement. We always look to see if applicants have done their research on the course and have enthusiasm for our specialisms.

Do your homework. Google us to read interviews we've given about our approach to  creative writing. Read the other entries on this blog. If you want your application taken seriously, show us you've taken our course seriously. Plus: that statement is a first chance to showcase your ability to write. Blow our socks off!

All being well, we'll progress you to the next stage of our admissions process. We don't ask for a writing sample with your application. Instead - if we like your application form - we'll invite you to undertake a writing challenge. We ask you to write us an original short story of up to 500 words, and you'll have a week to submit. [It used to 1000 words and two weeks, but we changed it to match the weekly writing challenges set for students on the MA!]

To make this a challenge, we give you a choice of first sentences. You select one and use that as the opening for your story. We also let you decide when we send the brief, so you choose the two weeks that best suit you. We even include the criteria we'll be using to assess your submission, so the process is more transparent.

Once you've sent in your story, we read and assess it. Some applicants get turned away at this stage [we take roughly one out of every five people who apply]. If your story shows promise, we will invite you to a selection interview - face to face or via Skype if you live a long way from Edinburgh.

The interview is the last stage. It can last up to an hour. During that time we use one or two teaching and learning activities from our course to assess you as an applicants. This  gives you insight into our programme and how we teach it. Rest assured, your interview should be an enjoyable experience, and not an interrogation!

We let you know within a day if we're offering you a place - no waiting for months to find out [and no fee to apply to the course, either!]. We use a rolling admissions process: once we're full, we're full. Our course takes a maximum of 16 full-time students a year, and up to four part-timers who are with us for two years.

If you still have any questions, get in touch before you apply. Email lecturer David Bishop here: d.bishop@napier.ac.uk . The sooner you apply, the better your chances...

Monday, May 29, 2017

MA Creative Writing tutor David Bishop given a prestigious Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship

David Bishop • photo © Chris Scott
Edinburgh Napier creative writing tutor David Bishop is one of four writers awarded a prestigious 2017 Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship by Creative Scotland and the Scottish Book Trust.

The fellowship includes a four-week residency at the Hôtel Chevillon International Arts Centre at Grez-sur-Loing, France, enabling each writer chosen to devote themselves to a nominated project. Renowned author Stevenson visited Grez-sur-Loing for four successive summers in the 1870s, attracted by the area and its creative community. He met his future wife Fanny Osborne at the Hôtel Chevillon.

The RLS Fellowship has been running for almost quarter of a century, with past recipient including such as award-winning writers as Janice Galloway, James Robertson and Louise Welsh. Scotland's renowned playwright and poet Liz Lochhead is among the RLS Fellows for 2017.

David Bishop describes the award as a precious gift. 'I've spent more than a decade researching a historical novel that refused to leave my imagination, but have never been able to set aside the time for it. The fellowship gives me a whole month to write and read and think about nothing else. It’s a gift beyond words, but one I plan to repay with as many words as possible.'

More details about the RLS Fellowship can be found here.