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Student Profiles MLitt 2014-2015

Xinyu Zhang, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2014-15

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I am a 2014-2015 postgraduate student in Publishing Studies in university of Stirling. I come from China, inner Mongolia, which is located in the  North of China. I also studied the master degree of communication in Beijing institute of Graphic Communication. This is my second year’s study, but I want to study more in publishing to enhance my background. I hope I will overcome all the barriers of language as  soon as possible so I can get involved this exciting area through  excellent lectures and classmates.

Fanrong He, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2014-15

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Hello, everyone, My name is Fanrong He and my English name is Amanda, I’m from China.  My undergraduate major was Publishing, and I choose to go on to study this major at the University of Stirling is because I’m really interested in the publishing industry. As we all know, publishing industry in many countries is facing a huge change, from traditional publishing to digital publishing. How to participate in this industry well is a question for many people, and this is the question which I’m interested in.

I like reading books and doing exercise when I’m alone. I prefer reading e-books than paper books. Thanks to an amazing development of technology,  e-books can suit modern life much better. I’m looking forward to gain knowledge about digital publishing and copyright. In my opinion, digital books will be the main stream in the feature while the physical books will still exist.

I have a strong emotions that force myself to do my best, I like the feeling that do very hard working on a certain issue, this makes me feel like I’m fulfilled by positive energy all the time.

Ziwei Lu, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2014-2015

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I am Ziwei Lu, and you can call me Sophia. My hometown is Shanghai ,China. I have chosen Publishing studies to be the subject during the time of my postgraduate because that I really enjoy the time when I read books. When I was a little child, my parents helped me to develop a reading habit by some interesting children’s books. So nowadays, I still thankful to that children’s books. I always hanging around the children’s book section in the bookshop and library when I am free.

I also interested in the digital part of the bookselling in the UK. In China, the digital book market has been largely dominated by piracy. When people in China think about digital books, most of them think they should be free. But  I think people should be used to pay money when they want to get something, even that is not a physical book. The process of words becoming a book is really hard, so authors deserve to be paid for what excellent work that they have done. Since the digital book market in China is not so sophisticated, I am really interested in this aspect.

Michaela Strachan, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2014-2015

My name is Michaela. I’m a recent undergrad from the University of Strathclyde. In 2013, I graduated in English and History with a BA (Joint HONS). I grew up travelling to various places abroad with lengthy plane journeys spent carrying armfuls of books. Reading and learning from writers I had never experienced before are the few constants throughout my life. From the Beatrix Potter books I was raised with to my expansion into the works of J.G Ballard, Angela Carter, Ian Fleming, and many others, my bookshelf was always the first thing to be packed and the first unpacked. It’s from these trips and interests that I decided upon pursuing publishing.

After my first degree, I hoped to find a course which blended together theory and practice. One that took advantage of the things I enjoyed most, and what I was passionate about learning about. While I still get buried in historical theory and debate, Publishing is an area which I’m eager to participate and learn more about.

Currently, I’m looking ahead to future internships and the experience I can gain from them. For more thoughts, updates and information look to my LinkedIn and follow my twitter account, @Strachan_M.

Callum Walker, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2014-2015

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Hello! I’m Callum. I’d like to say that I’m from a far away place like several of my classmates… But I’m from Falkirk! I studied my undergraduate degree in English Studies and History here at Stirling University and the MLitt in Publishing Studies course made it impossible to resist one more year. As graduate life grew closer I began to realise that I wanted to enjoy a career in which I could combine my passion for literature and my interest in the business and communication between a product and people. The ever-changing world of publishing and the course at Stirling seemed like a perfect fit for me.

I had some experience in the publishing industry before the course when I interned at Gay Times Magazine in London last summer. This experience helped me to realise that I have a great desire to be a part of the process of creating a product that can affect, inspire and ultimately change people’s lives. Alongside my studies, I’ll also be interning at Edinburgh-based children’s and non-fiction independent publisher Floris Books next semester.

It is clear from our first few classes that we will be learning about the many different processes, job roles and sectors of the publishing business which I think will benefit me as I am not entirely sure where I want to end up yet in my future career. Whether I end up working in editorial, marketing or production… I can’t wait to find out!

Follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Courtney Murphy, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2014-2015

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I am a self-confessed librocubicularist  (n., a person who reads in bed), I am guilty of tsundoka (n. buying books and not reading them; letting books pile up unread on shelves or floors or nightstands), and I take bookshelf organization very seriously (for inspiration check out

I am a dual US-Canadian citizen and I’ve spent most of my life in Virginia and Ontario. I hold a BA (Hons.) in Psychology and Philosophy from Queen’s University at Kingston and an MLitt in Philosophy from the University of Glasgow. After completing my studies in Glasgow I returned to Virginia where I taught Philosophy at Bryant and Stratton College in Hampton, VA and Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. After a few years of lecturing I decided to leave academia and pursue a career in publishing. I leapt and the opportunity to return to Scotland and pursue the MLitt in Publishing here at Stirling. It’s interesting to learn about the process whereby a book goes from a manuscript to a novel on the shelf at Waterstone’s, and it’s great to be surrounded by like-minded people who share the same passion for books and reading.

Find me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Hannah Roberts, MLitt Publishing Studies 2014-15

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My name is Hannah Roberts and I am a recent graduate of the University of Stirling. I graduated this year with a BA (Hons) in English and Journalism and found myself, like most graduates, thinking about where to go next. I had always dreamed of obtaining a Masters degree so I decided to become a postgraduate student and of course, there was no other place for me but Stirling.

I had looked at the MLitt in Publishing course a number of times throughout my third and fourth years of my undergraduate degree and couldn’t shake this feeling that this was the course for me. This was down to a number of factors; reading and literature have always been a passion of mine, I saw the MLitt as a chance to develop my analytic and technical skills from my undergraduate degree and also,  I saw the course  as an excellent chance to gain a qualification in a new vocational field. So, I applied and here I am!

In terms of experience, I worked with Stirling University’s student newspaper Brig from 2012 until 2014, eventually becoming Opinion Editor in my fourth year of my undergraduate. During my time at Brig, I was nominated for ‘Best New Writer’ and ‘Best Feature Article’ in 2012 and the opinion section was nominated for ‘Best Section’ in 2014. I’ve also tried my hand at starting my own blog and  will be starting to do PR and Social Media for a well known British supermarket in the near future.

Most of all, I’m looking forward to seeing what the next year will bring  in terms of building relationships within the publishing world and in the classroom.

Lara Gascón, MLitt Publishing Studies 2014-2015

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My name is Lara Gascón and I’m a Spanish, responsible and active girl who is very eager to work and learn new things. Having concluded my last year in the Faculty of Humanities at Pompeu Fabra University, I recently started a Master Degree in Publishing Studies at Stirling University.

During my previous studies, I had the opportunity to benefit from a syllabus based on knowledge of history, thought and aesthetic experience. Upon completing the training process, I acquired competences that made me suitable for being a critical reader.

On the one hand, the large amount of multicultural readings I worked with made me an open-minded person, an essential ability to take into account any proposed project without being influenced by the literary genre, the author or the manuscript source.

On the other, I learnt to appropriately summarize and integrate information contained in written texts, oral discourses and visual documents. Efficiency in finding and comparing information that reinforces the meaning of a text is important in documentary and graphic research, as well as an essential requirement for ensuring project success.

Particularly interested in marketing management, I want to focus my professional career in the publishing industry. Personally I’m really interested in becoming a publisher since I was an intern at Ara Llibres. Throughout my internship, I had the opportunity to take part in various stages of the editorial process (design, layout, correction, editing). The Master covers all the publishing procedures in a practical and specific way, which is another reason why I choose Stirling’s MLitt in Publishing Studies.

In a future, I would like to have the opportunity to contribute to the creation, design, editorial realization and production of reference works in the field of culture, history, territory and gastronomy, as well as the development of digital projects. And realizing this Master will be ideal to complement my acquired knowledge and work experience which will provide a great value to my professional career.

Helen Griffin, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2014-2015

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My 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.

Rutangye Crystal Butungi, MLitt Publishing Studies 2014-15

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On 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.

Heather McDaid, MLitt Publishing Studies 2014-2015

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“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them” – Lemony Snicket.

Having graduated in June 2014 with a BA (Hons) in Journalism from Stirling University, I wasn’t 100% sure where I wanted to go career-wise. I had been freelancing for a number of culture websites and magazines for a few years but in terms of an actual adult (welp!) career, I found myself looking towards publishing because it encompassed many of the skills I’d been building on, and my favourite things – so, after some researching on where was best to pursue a postgrad in publishing, I’m back!

I generally like to keep myself busy when I’m not visiting the Chamber of Secrets. I’ve been lucky enough to work with a number of outlets over the last few years including The ListWOW247, DIY Mag, Rock Sound, Kerrang! and The Skinny through freelancing and internships, as well as running my own music webzine, and book blog Wonderland Avenue. I’ve tentatively stepped into the publishing world thanks to some kind publishers and really enjoyed every moment, so look forward to learning the ins and outs of the industry, and beyond!

Feel free to follow me on Twitter for (somewhat) relevant ramblings on books and publishing, amongst other things!

Miriam V Owen, MRes in Publishing Studies 2014-15

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The Masters in Research for me is a way to further explore and consolidate some work that I have been doing for the past couple of years on a project based around Nordic Noir fiction. You can read an article I have had published here.  I am currently undertaking a piece of research into crime writing festivals and fan behaviour and I am off to a brand new crime writing festival in Reykjavik called Iceland Noir soon.

I chose the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication because they have respected academics who are active in their specialist areas and who demonstrate a use of all the tools available to them such as social media, digital publishing and the network around them.  I also found that the choice of modules on the programme provide a solid framework for my learning outcomes.

I grew up in Scotland  but come from a Scottish/Dutch background and have always travelled extensively and have lived in a few different countries, the longest being Japan for 5 years.  I have to admit that I have felt pretty much at home in all of the countries I have lived in, but have a particular fondness for landscapes with volcanoes,  long coastlines and an interesting traditional culture.  After my first degree, a Masters in History of Art, I worked in an art gallery and museum, before moving into teaching. Latterly I have worked in administration in higher education.  I love the arts and communication. I am interested in the transformative power of the arts and in the creative process.

As for a love of books, which everyone in the class has, I must admit to being a book sniffer! I love libraries, museums, bookstores, paper, words pictures, galleries and when combined in the right way the journeys that they take us on and the doors that they can open.  Without language, art and writing the human race would not have evolved and become what it is today.  I like to explore,  bring people together and make things happen! If you need me you can find me on Linked In or social media or better yet get in touch and we can meet face to face…

Sarah Elizabeth Webster MLitt Publishing Studies 2014-2015

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My name is Sarah Webster and my home is the Peak District in Derbyshire, a.k.a. the home turf of Mr Darcy.

For the past four years I studied on both the BA in English Language and Literature as well as the MA in Romantic Literature and Culture at the University of Leeds. I am now studying on the MLitt in Publishing Studies at the University of Stirling.

During my time in Leeds, I volunteered as an archivist in the Special Collections of the Brotherton Library where I worked on the Simon Armitage, Tony Harrison and Melvyn Bragg collections and I also listed audio records for the library. This opportunity allowed me to handle a variety of literary materials and projects, whilst giving me invaluable experience in arts archival research.

For the past couple of years I have worked as a theatre journalist for The Public Reviews, covering shows predominantly in the Yorkshire region including ballet, puppetry, drama and musical theatre. The role has demanded a great deal of organisation and the ability to write to very tight deadlines in a succinct and nuanced style.

With my firm foundation in literature and theatre journalism I would now like to make the transition from content provider to editor and from journalism to publishing. As a creative person who plays the piano and enjoys sketching and drawing I am also interested in the design and production aspects of the publishing process.

Kerry McShane, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2014–15

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It all started with a single book. I couldn’t put it down. Every moment that I could spare, I had that book in my hands. I would watch the clock at work, eager to be back home and immersed in those pages once again. I had never been so affected by a book, but I just couldn’t get enough. That book was Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. The book is notoriously difficult to describe, but it has just about anything you could ever want in a story. Romance, politics, history, action and more—all set in the Scottish highlands, a world away from my home in Ogden, Utah.

I had long dreamed of visiting Scotland, but I suddenly wanted more than a vacation. I wanted to live in Scotland, to be part of it. I know it sounds a bit clichéd, but it really isn’t. I didn’t come here expecting cattle raids, kilts, and haggis as far as the eye could see, but I did expect to find history, peaceful countryside, and kind people. I’ve found everything I expected and more. As a good friend of mine put it, Scotland is magic.

As for how I decided to study publishing, that was mostly by chance. In 2012, I started researching postgraduate offerings at universities across Scotland. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to study, but I wanted something practical to complement my English undergraduate degree. I wanted to study for a master’s that would teach me skills that I could apply directly to a career. As I scrolled through the list of courses on the University of Stirling website, the MLitt in Publishing Studies immediately stopped me. Publishing? Why had I never thought of that before? It was the perfect career to combine my affinity for books and my habit of correcting poor grammar! (Ok, that is a very simplified version of the thoughts running through my mind, but you get the idea.) From that moment, everything I did was in an effort to make it here.

I began by serving as the Editor-in-Chief of my alma mater’s undergraduate research journal.  Then, I changed my course plan to include classes in Adobe programs such as InDesign and Photoshop. But most importantly, I worked as an editorial intern and later as an editorial assistant with Gibbs Smith, Publisher. I can’t recommend that enough. Start internships as early as you can. Not only will it help you decide if publishing is right for you, but it will prepare you for further study better than any amount of reading ever will.

So, after a lot of dreaming, planning and working, I made it. My studies are just as fascinating as the country, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store over the next year. If you’d like to see what I’m up to, you can follow me on Twitter @kerrberr_books.

Emma Brown, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2014-2015

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Hello! I’m Emma and I am from Glasgow, Scotland and I am studying the MLitt Publishing Studies course at the University of Stirling.

I originally did my undergraduate degree at the University of Strathclyde (which is in Glasgow) in English but before the course was even over, I decided that I would like to pursue a career in Publishing. It took a while to decide, but eventually I came to the conclusion the Stirling was the best place to do this, especially for someone whose previous experienced only went as far as to edit friends’ essays and short story pieces!

While I am most interested in entering the Editorial side of the business, I am also intrigued by copyright laws and all the issues that surround it.

I’m looking forwards to seeing how this particular chapter in my life plays out and am excited to learn more about the inner workings of the publishing industry. Given the rapid changes publishing is currently undergoing, it shall certainly be interesting to be a part of the future of publishing and to see what new advances may be made! As Buzz Lightyear may say: “To infinity! And beyond!”

You can follow me on Twitter

Paula de Lucas Gudiel, MLitt Publishing 2014-2015

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Hello there!

My name is Paula and I’m from Spain. I landed in Stirling after living in Iceland for three years (I know, quite a difference). I decided to join this degree because, yes, even though it’s a cliche, I love books. And literature. While studying my BA in English literature and linguistics in Complutense University in Madrid I always felt that I was meant to work in this field. Not only I loved reading, but I always felt curious about what was behind a book: all the people investing some of their time and their lives in something that is going to make an impact in other’s life. Or even change them. Because that can happen, a book can define your personality, change your attitude and teach you a lot of things. And I always wanted to be part of that world.
While in Iceland, I worked in a bookshop for a short period of time, so that completely verified what I was considering. I had visited Scotland a couple of years before, and I fell in love with the country. For that reason, I thought that this MLitt in Publishing in Stirling would be the perfect combination. And now I know that it was an excellent decision.
So if you want to know more about me, you can follow me on twitter. And if you want to know even more, this is my blog.

Yunxin Liu, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2014-2015

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My name is Yunxin Liu from Nanjing, China. As a result of my father’s career as an educational publisher, I have, from a young age, developed a fascination for publishing. Hence, I am determined to pursue advanced studies in the field of publishing.

I have been developing my interest in the publishing world by hunting for some related internships. I had the chance to take an internship in Nanjing University Press when I was an undergraduate student. I also established a bookstore on China’s popular online retail platform and the online shop makes considerable profits. I am an editor in Phoenix Fine Arts Publishing Ltd.

As the financial centre of the world and the origin of modern western civilization, UK has rich resources in the field of publishing. Hence, the latest advances are easily accessible to students here. Through the well-designed program of the university, I am deeply convinced that I will have an enhanced opportunity to succeed in publishing and publishing-related courses. I hope to be a publishing person who would make a contribution to the society especially to the communications of culture. Without any doubt, my postgraduate study will promote me to realize my career dream.

Kena Longabaugh, MLitt Publishing Studies 2014-15

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Hello there! My name is Kena Longabaugh and I hail from the United States. My journey to the MLitt programme at the University of Stirling wasn’t a typical one. I received my BA in Political Science from Western Washington University–however, somewhere along the way, I realized a life in politics wasn’t for me. My English courses were the ones that inspired and motivated me the most during university and I eventually decided to pursue my literary passions. I’ve always had a deep love for books, reading and writing and a career in Publishing seemed like the perfect fit.

One of the reasons I chose Stirling’s programme is because of the broad and introductory nature of the course. I’m excited to jump in and try my hand at all of the different aspects of the publishing industry. I’m particularly interested in design and production and I’m eager to learn the ins and outs of InDesign and Photoshop. Photography is another passion of mine and I’ve been fortunate enough to win several awards and host my own exhibition. As such, art and design has been a part of my life for some time. I’m also eager to learn about marketing.

Other things I love include traveling, hiking, dessert, Harry Potter, cider, cats, Greek food (I studied abroad in Greece for a semester and it might be my favourite place in the world), yoga, coffee and camping.

You can find me on twitter here.

Leia Forster, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2014-2015

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Hi there! I’m Leia. Upon reaching the final year of my English Studies undergraduate course here at Stirling, I was more than pleased to hear about the MLitt in Publishing Studies that was also offered by the university. I had began looking at my English Studies degree as a foundation on which I should build, and so I jumped at the opportunity to do just that and learn about the industry that had produced the books I had been reading all of my life.

With a particular interest in science fiction and craft publications, I hope to learn about the traditional side of publishing as well as the digital side which seems to be advancing at the same quick pace as the rest of the technological world.

I’m hopeful that this course will give me the skills and knowledge required to play a role in the publishing industry in the future. I enjoyed my first four years here greatly and from what I’ve experienced of the Publishing Studies course so far, I’m sure I’ll enjoy this year too.

Marit Mathisen MLitt in Publishing Studies 2014-2015

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I did my undergraduate dissertation on reader interaction with the author in the 21st century, with Claire Squires as my supervisor, and was very happy with how talented the people on this course are. I also found that I have a passion for this business, and the changes that are happening in publishing really interest me, and I am excited to see where the business is going.

So far I have some experience with proofreading translations from English as well as pure Norwegian texts (did I mention I’m from Norway?) with Krog Linguistic Solutions (website is in Norwegian).

In the future I hope to be able to work for a Norwegian or a British publisher, but I am hoping to figure out more specifically what I am good at so as to know what I can do for a publisher. As I have a love of languages I would not mind something in ELT, especially for the Japanese market, and seeing where that is headed with all the tools available now will be very interesting.

This is an interesting course to be a part of, and an exiting time to be part of it.

Sarah Boyd MLitt in Publishing Studies 2013-15

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I love books. But then, everyone who does this course says that, so let’s get a little more detailed. I’ve been a student of literature, with an MA in English Literature and an MLitt in Shakespeare Studies, both from theUniversity of St Andrews. I’ve also been a writer, with a Diploma in Creative Writing from the Open University. Can you sense a theme yet? I don’t just love books, and writing, I love studying books and writing! From both of these experiences, two things became obvious: 1) I get mad at any use of the phrase ‘very unique’ and 2) I am good at analysing texts and helping writers to recognise their strengths and weaknesses. So, having tried my hand at being a scholar and being a writer, I came to the decision that I could be a good and useful publisher and promptly applied to this course to learn how.

I’ve been part-time at the Centre for a year now, so I’ve completed around half of the course and so far I think coming here is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’ve learned fascinating things about the publishing industry, I’ve met and listened to interesting, passionate publishers and I’ve managed to get some work experience, as a reader for Sandstone Press and for the most recent issue of One Throne Magazine, a new literary magazine. I’m also now assisting in developing a house style sheet for Sandstone, which is a really interesting and exciting opportunity. Finally, I’ve been lucky enough to have an article on Scottish Publishing and Independence published in the journal Logos. It’s been a really good year, here’s to the next one!

Find me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Laurie Swinburne, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2014-15

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I did a lot of research into masters programmes in the run up to my graduation from Stirling University English Studies, and after interning at two publishing houses, Ringwood and Fledgling Press, I decided that a publishing masters was the way forward. Despite having a slight love/hate relationship with Stirling town (why so few pubs, Stirling?) the university had been my home for four years and, with it housing a publishing course that both my bosses had raved about, it seemed like the obvious choice. So, I compromised, moved to Glasgow and enrolled.

While I am interested in publishing, I find myself gravitating closer and closer towards a career in marketing and PR, and I’m hoping that in studying this course, I will graduate with the business and marketing acumen to work in marketing, possibly outwith the publishing sector. I’m very interested in the inner workings of newspapers and magazines, and have been lucky enough to intern at The Scottish Sun, write for The News of the World and for several music fanzines and blogs. I’ve also interned at Maximise Sport, a small sports PR firm in Glasgow.

Currently, I work as a bridal consultant in Glasgow and spend my weekends hoiking dresses on and off girls in the basement of my store, which sounds pretty sinister when it’s written down like that. I’ve spent my summer attempting to fix their marketing campaign and, although we have a long way to go yet, I’m pretty proud of the new online presence we’ve managed to create so far. I’m really interested in the wedding industry as a whole, particularly in wedding and bridal journalism, and I would suppose my main goal is to get into bridal publications, possibly working in marketing or journalism.

Of course, I’m 22 so there’s a high chance that will change.

Follow my ramblings and retweets at @LaurieEtLivres
Feel free to connect on LinkedIn too

Kiley Pole, MLitt Publishing Studies 2014-2015

Writing about oneself is always difficult, especially when coupled with the idea of having to post it on the internet. There are too many considerations, especially for someone like myself who does not enjoy the spotlight. I suppose I should just “lay it out there” and go forward from that point.

I was born and raised in Ontario, Canada. To be more specific I’m from London Ontario Canada which just confuses a lot of people because of the really famous London in the UK. Here at least I can clarify. I did my undergraduate studies at Western University in London Ontario. There I studied French Literature and Spanish Linguistics.

How did I get here? I studied in France for a year of my undergraduate degree and while I was there I made the trip to Scotland. In all of my travels, I have never felt so at home as I do in Scotland. When the opportunity to study here, at Stirling University, came about through the MLitt in Publishing Studies I could not say no. It was a long, hard journey (both literally and metaphorically, I have the worst luck with traveling) to get here and thus far it has been worth it.

To say that I love books would be redundant, if I didn’t love them in some or in my case, every capacity I would not be here. What I am hoping is that through this programme of study I will be able to expand that love to all aspects of book publishing.

Jennifer Hamrick, MLitt Publishing Studies 2014-2015

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“Of all the things which man can do or make here below, by far the most momentous, wonderful, and worthy are the things we call books.” – Thomas Carlyle

Howdy! My name is Jenny Hamrick and this is my first year as a postgraduate student. I recently graduated from the University of Texas with a Bachelor’s degree in English literature and a minor degree in rhetoric and writing. Although I was born, raised, and educated in Texas, I have always held a certain fascination with Scotland. I studied abroad in Edinburgh two years ago and fell absolutely in love with this beautiful country and amazing people, which led me to come back again to study publishing at Stirling.

As both an avid reader by nature as well as a former student of English literature, I will always believe that books are the greatest treasures we can possibly possess. A few bound pages can contain entire worlds full of fascinating characters, dramas, villainous plots, fantastical creatures, and personal dilemmas. The printed words of a single author can reflect a society, an era, or even the hard-to-comprehend workings of the human soul. It is for these reasons I became interested in publishing- in the ways both individuals and companies make novels (and other textual content) available to readers. I want to be part of the process that molds the words of an author into a quality product that has the power to potentially transform the life of a reader.

I am excited to begin my studies and look forward in particular to learning more about editing in which I get to work with the text directly. This is going to be a great year!

Alec Spencer, MRes 2014-16 (part-time)

Image of Alec Spencer

When I told my daughter I was about to embark on the MRes course, I commented that perhaps I was getting a bit too old to take on further study. She replied, as she always has done, in a supportive way reminding me of the quotation by Mahatma Gandhi “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever”.  So here I am – at the start of a 27 month programme.

For those who know me they might think it a little strange to choose Publishing Studies as an interest. A life-time’s involvement with Prisons, Criminal Justice and Criminology has set me on a different path and I continue to be involved in a number of criminal justice areas – The Scottish Consortium for Crime and Criminal Justice (SCCCJ) and its thriving new e-publication under the management of Mary Munro ‘Scottish Justice Matters’; my commitment as an Honorary Professor at the School of Applied Social Science here at Stirling, and my work as a trustee of the Lucy Faithfull Foundation. Incidentally, through my work as a Public Appointments Adviser for the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland, I have a fascinating insight into the demands and complexities of running Public Bodies in Scotland.

So where does my interest in publishing come from?  Apart from indexing a law book in my post-grad student days (first time round!), and authoring a book on sex offenders published by Jessica Kingsley, I have had little truck with the publishing industry … or so I supposed.

One hobby I did have, perhaps some would call it an obsession, was to collect Penguin books. I have done so since the late 1970’s and by the 1990’s had about 2,500 first editions (or Penguin first impressions) on shelves, but on moving house found their way into boxes. What to do with them? A conundrum. Keep or sell?  In the end, and somewhat reluctantly, I decided to sell. Selling on eBay involves photographing the books, and eventually I had swapped about half my books for a virtual collection – of images. It took a little imagination on my part, and some techy help from my son, to set up a web-site which now boasts over 6,200 entries and over 5,600 images. This ‘story’ can be found at the tab ‘About us’. Penguins have used wonderful designers to enhance their book covers – and the covers themselves are a separate area of interest and research.

Of course, ‘Penguin Books’, and Allen Lane its founder, is a marvellous exemplar of innovation and a revolution in publishing, which also was reflected in the process of social and educational change. These little paperback books are iconic and collectable. My interest has become a little less physical – I don’t need to own the books – and more reflective about why it is that individuals collect Penguin books, and not just specific genre or series – but sometimes the whole publishing house!  I started with this exploration in May 2014, when I visited Angus Mitchell, (interview) who donated his collection to Stirling University Library and I am looking forward to continuing on the journey of discovery about publishing and Penguin book collecting.

Carolyn Khamete Mango, MRes Publishing Studies 2014-2015

Image of Carolyn Khamete Mango

My name is Carolyn Khamete Mango from Nairobi, Kenya, famed for cross country athletics and one of   the wonders of the world, The Maasai Mara Game Reserve. Over the years I have helped people write by virtue of my vast experience as an editor. However, I did not think I would get a challenge in writing about myself! Nevertheless, here I am.

I am at the University of Stirling undertaking a MRes in Publishing Studies, having won the esteemed and competitive Commonwealth Scholarship. This is my second scholarship. My first was awarded to me by the Government of Kenya to study a Bachelors Degree in Educational Studies at this same university.

I joined publishing from teaching because I wanted to be more involved in curriculum interpretation and preparation of quality teaching materials.

Back in Kenya I work as a Chief Editor in charge of humanities. I am also a gender officer, a post I was appointed in line with global and local legal frameworks in empowering women and promoting gender equality in all sectors of the economy. Multitasking in two departments (editorial and human resources) required that I  enhance my management skills. Therefore,  I studied a Higher Diploma in Human Resources Management.

Choosing the University of Stirling to study publishing was exciting because it was like going back home having studying for my undergraduate here. I also wanted to experience the vibrant Scottish and to a large extent the British publishing scene. I hope to fortify my experience and knowledge in book publishing and in management issues of book publishing firms. I am interested in joining the few female decision-makers in the publishing industry.

I am an accomplished Gospel artist having collaborated with other musicians back in Kenya to record music. Prior to coming to Scotland I had released my debut album called, My Healer. Recently I have felt this nudge to be a writer so I hope that by the end of my programme, I will have a clear direction on where to start. I might just write about my journey with breast cancer and how I came out of it victoriously.

Keisha Ann Stewart, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2013-2014

Prior to this course, I’ve worked as an international educator and examiner. Some of the countries I have taught in include the Bahamas, Bahrain, UK and USA. I enjoyed my international career and would love to continue working on the global front after I have completed my MLitt in Publishing Studies.

I am interested in working with electronic, educational, fiction and non-fiction texts. I also enjoy writing, and hope to, one day, compose a graphic novel or a modern day fairy tale. Engaging with many different literary styles is one of my favourite pastimes so this makes my publishing interests quite varied. My interest range is reflected through the types of books I’ve either edited or proofread – namely:  a motivational text, a book of poetry, an apocalyptic novel and a health book based on home remedies.

Throughout my publishing career, I aim to combine my background in Applied Linguistics, Literature, Education and Philosophy with the changing face of the industry. After acquiring sufficient experience, I intend to start a magazine company that will focus on innovative ideas and movements that would benefit residents in a developing nation.

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