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Student Profiles MLitt 2016-2017

Sharna Vincent, MLitt Publishing Studies 2016-2017

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At the tender age of 18, I thought (like most 18 year olds) that I knew what was best. Finishing up my A levels in Kent, I was adamant that I didn’t want to go to university and I was going to “find work” and “just live my life” and other relevant, angsty phrases you might hear from an 18-year-old. I worked as an office assistant during my gap year, and all I could think to myself was: I would much rather be doing something I’m passionate about. As much as I am grateful for that experience, I knew it wasn’t my calling.

From there, I went on to study my BA in English Language and Linguistics at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. I’ve always been known to be a bit of stickler for grammar and spelling. My first year housemates affectionately referred to me as the ‘grammar police’, but for three straight years, as soon as deadline time came about, I was the most sought after person.

Copyediting comes easy to me. I find mistakes everywhere; I find it’s either something you just see, or it’s not. I’ve been doing ad hoc editing work for one company for about 5 years now and I’ve also completed a work placement scheme with Sweet and Maxwell; both experiences have shown me that this is what I’m really good at. This may even be my ‘calling’ (although people say that a lot and I’m not even sure it has any real merit as a saying).

So anyway, here I am now, at the University of Stirling, 4 years older than when I left school (and not an awful lot wiser) studying for a masters in Publishing in order to become a more rounded and knowledgeable member of the industry. I look forward to the rest of the course and to establishing myself as a copyeditor in the future.

If you’re interested, take a quick look at my LinkedIn profile or have a glance at my Twitter and get in touch!

Puyu Cheng, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

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Hi, I’m Puyu. I come from Beijing, the capital of China. From a young age, I wished to have the opportunity to study aboard. Now I am studying in Stirling, which is the best experience in my life.

When I was an undergraduate student, my major was editing and publishing. To be honest, this major was chosen by my parents, and they think the subject is very suitable for me. So I was just following my parents’ wishes. However, after studying some courses, I think this subject is really interesting. Reading is one of my favourite hobbies, so learning how to produce a book is always attractive to me.

As I was saying, studying abroad is one of my dreams. So when I graduated from college, I was wondering if I could go abroad for a master’s degree program. My parents have always told me that they will support any decision I make concerning my future. Therefore, thanks to my parents, I had the opportunity to come here to study.

The reason why I chose to study here is that there is a cooperative project between my university in China and the University of Stirling. So I believe it’s a wonderful chance that I can study publishing in depth. I am very glad that I chose the University of Stirling, which is known for future career prospects for the graduates and there is the most beautiful campus that I have ever seen. Also learning here is a challenge for me, due to the fact that English is not my first language and the teaching methods in UK are quite different from China. But I’m excited to face these challenges. It is good for me to learn some new approaches.

When I graduate, I aspire to work for a fashion magazine in china. Actually, in last summer, I worked as an intern in Marie Claire magazine, which is one of the most famous fashion magazines in China. And that experience was really interesting. So I want to be a fashion editor in the future. I hope my experience in Stirling can help me to pursue my career goals.

Find me on Instagram and LinkedIn.

Mette Vebert Olesen – MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

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For as long as I can remember, I have loved books and all that they represent. For me, books gave me an opportunity to travel to foreign and far away lands, and they made me fly through time and space with my new best friends. I remember being thrilled every time I could convince my parents to take me to a bookstore, where I would spend all of my hard-earned allowance. But it was all worth it. When I moved here, I had promised myself not to buy too many books, but that resolution has already been shot to bits. Bookshops are just so much better here, and I have to research the newest publications. At least that is what I tell myself.

I did my bachelor’s degree in English and Organisational Management at Aalborg University in Denmark, and I learned a tremendous amount there. Though I have always loved literature, my courses in project management and corporate theories gave me a broader insight into the corporate side of the industry, which has produced so many of my most beloved belongings. And that is really what got me thinking about doing a degree in publishing. After some research, I found the perfect fit in the Stirling program and was thankfully accepted.

I have worked as a volunteer and coordinator for the Danish Refugee Council and there I learned how to plan and organize an event and how to raise awareness for it. These are skills that I hope to make use of in my future career.

I hope to have a future career in either marketing, the editorial field or as a literary agent. Truth be told, I began this course thinking that it was editorial or nothing, but just a few months in, I have already opened up to so many other ideas. Ideally, I would love to remain in the UK after finishing my degree, but I’m exploring other options as well, thanks to Brexit.

Yun HAO, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

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I was born in a small city beside the East China Sea, grew up in Beijing, went to university in Hong Kong, and finally came to Stirling in the UK. This is me, Yun HAO, a Chinese girl with a mixed culture background, having a broad range of interests and always being curious about the world. I love literature, art, anime, and stargazing. I am very interested in politics, history, philosophy, nature and business. I just love to explore and experience new worlds. This strong curiosity about the world and my abundant hobbies may be the start of my interest in publishing industry. Too many interesting things are waiting for us to explore, and that’s precisely the reason why we need books.

My undergraduate major was Government and International Politics. Thanks to the subject, I’ve accumulated some knowledge of social science, which may be a good foundation for me to work with publishers in the field. The subject, however, also made me realize that it is no use for me to think and talk about empty ideas only. To better realize the value of my life, I shall be devoted to a more practical cause for the sake of people’s happiness. The publishing industry fits me best, I believe, since I am patient, careful, passionate, and have a sound knowledge of social science and can write essays in Chinese well. What’s more, I am a person who believes in the value of culture.

I’m very happy to study at the University of Stirling and regard it as the first step to the publishing industry. I  treasure this precious opportunity and am determined to learn as much as I can, so as to reinvigorate publishing industry in China as a qualified editor with the knowledge and experiences of the West’s publishing industry. China’s publishing industry is facing significant challenges from the new technology and new business models, but I believe that the challenge can be both threats and opportunities. My life will be meaningful if I am a part of the effort to successfully transfer the challenge into opportunities, even if a tiny part.

Yangrui Wu, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

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Hi, my name is Yangrui, but you can call me Riri which is easy to read and remember. I come from Beijing, the capital of China. It is a fantastic opportunity for me to study in the University of Stirling, not only I can study publishing, but also can improve my English as well.

I graduated from the Beijing Institute of Graphic Communication in July of this year, and then came to Stirling to start a new postgraduate study career. To be honest, starting a new life for me is not easy, for I never left home for such a long time, I have to adapt to a new environment hardly. And language is a big challenge  for me, because I am afraid to cause trouble for classmates, but I am trying my best to practice my English, but it’s really upset me sometimes, but I won’t give up. I hope through one year study, my English can promote.

I studied publishing and editing during my undergraduate time, so publishing is no stranger to me, but I have barely approached publishing marketing and business, so it is a totally new field to me. After I graduate from Stirling, I will engage in publication-related work, especially in publishing trade, for I am really interested in it, that is the reason why I come here for a further education. I love reading romance novels and music or fashion magazines, and I pay a lot attention to music and fashion, if I could work in a job related to this, I will be very lucky and happy.

In a sentence, I hope I can have a colorful year, learn a lot, and experience a different culture. In the future days, I can use the knowledge that I have learned in work and life.

Isabella Pioli, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-2017

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I suppose I started to think about going into publishing in the stereotypical way most literature lovers do: I loved books, I loved to read, yada-yada; the quintessential cliché of all people going into publishing. And so, I thought editing because that was the only position I knew that was easily defined. I started to do some peer editing in high school, reading creative writing by friends, essays, and college entrance portfolios. I continued editing into college and, at that point, reading a novel or two every week for class, I lost my love for reading. Reading became a chore, and even when I found a book with a promising premise, I could not turn off that part of my brain that constantly critiqued and found fault. Almost finished with college, my prospective career was no longer an option; there was no way I would change something that brought me joy into a duty, an obligation. My senior year of college, I had yet to fulfil the studio art requirement of my art history major. My advisor recommended taking Book Production and it was there that I found publishing was still a prospective career, something that I could enjoy, something that would constantly challenge me and continuously inspire me: to do better, to think outside of the box, to not limit myself, to push me out of my comfort zone.

I have always had a creative thought process and many of my friends use me as a sounding-board for ideas and inspiration. In Book Production, I found my strengths come together. I learned how to typeset by hand, and that margins are the foundation of the page. I began my love affair with Baskerville, and discovered why sans-serif annoyed me. I found that getting messy and covered in ink was just as much fun as engine gunk and transmission lubricant. Most of all, I discovered that it combined the two things I love most: words and art. With renewed purpose, I left undergrad absolutely exhausted, but I knew that more was still to come.

I went into the world for a year, working at a structural engineering firm doing everything the President needed from me, while trying to maintain the CFO’s sanity. I learned how easy it can be to lose yourself in your job, how unhealthy that can be, and how necessary it is to balance work and life; I eventually left and went to work for myself. I knew people who had gone on to PhDs that needed help doing their literature reviews, and I started to work as a research assistant. I learned how to parse through information with a heightened form of discernment that I had never been able to apply to my own academia. It allowed me to see what was essential and what was unnecessary.

I am using this year to learn as much as I can, not just from class and the assigned reading, but from self-teaching. I created my own website to begin to get a feel for graphic design. I am participating in NaNoWriMo, so that I can understand some of the stress a writer goes through. I am challenging myself to do the unexpected. A good friend of mine said to me around New Year’s that I needed to live life outside of a plan that was scheduled to perfection; I needed an adventure. When I applied to graduate school, I heeded her advice and only applied to schools abroad. Stirling was my top choice, and it was the first school to which I was accepted. So, saying yes was an instantaneous reaction, and I have never been so happy to follow my gut as I was when I chose Stirling.

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 devoured 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

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Hi, 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.

Nicole Sweeney MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

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Since early childhood I have always been found with my nose stuck in a book. In fact I was the only child who got into trouble for reading instead of paying attention in class. With that in mind I chose to study English at undergraduate level, where my particular interests focusing on classics written by women. After graduating with a 2:1 I was unsure what I wanted to do. I knew I loved books, and wanted to learn more about the actual book industry, rather than an academic approach to literature.

I absolutely loved studying in Edinburgh, with a city so full of culture. Stirling is very similar, and studying at the University of Stirling is giving me the opportunity to learn about all the different aspects of publishing, and figure out exactly what I want to do in the future. I’m particularly interested in marketing and the different types of promotions used to sell a book. I’m really enjoying this course because the topics are so wide ranging, and I’m learning practical as well as academic skills.  

I also work at The Battle of Bannockburn, where I sell tickets, make coffees, talk to customers and occasionally play with swords. It’s a great environment with lots of fantastic events and educational talks, and makes me very passionate about history and historical books.

In my spare time I spend a lot of time on Twitter, and occasionally review books online. Reviewing books has been a fantastic opportunity to talk to different publishers, and keep up to date with what’s going on. I love going to comic-con, and can usually be found spending my entire wage on comic books and merchandise.

After graduating I’d love to work for a fiction publisher and help to market and sell some of the books that are slowly taking over my living room.

Biyan Gu, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

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As a book lover from a young age, working for a publishing house was always a dream for me. I am interested in the feeling of paper, the smells of ink, the formats of book and the design ideas of it all. I am Biyan Gu and I came to Scotland to continue my postgraduate studies. Everything is so fresh to me, and I am learning many new ideas about books, publishing and so on.

In my undergraduate studies, my major was Editing and Publishing, which is really close to my postgraduate study and of course means gaining a more international and professional perspective.

Besides my studies, I also have had an internship in magazine publishing at Marie Claire China, which helped me to build an awareness of marketing and understand the real process of magazine production. That was a really fun period of my education. This experience also changed my mind about the relationship between fashion and publishing. Even though it is just a magazine, it will change a great number of girls’ lifestyles and make a huge profits while it also costs a lot to market and publish.

At that time, I again realized the value of publishing as a cultural business, and the influence it can make to the society. The first time was when I was a little girl and found a book would cost much more than snacks.

Attending the University of Stirling gives me a broad knowledge about publishing, editing, and marketing. And the beautiful campus also bring me a quite nice living and study experience. I think all I have studied in the university will benefit me in the future.

And I can’t wait to welcome my future career.

You can find me at twitter or look at my LinkedIn profile.

Marian Pérez-Santiago, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

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When I was five years old, my family and I packed up our lives in Puerto Rico and moved to small-town Texas. Switching from one culture and language to another is a fairly radical change for anyone, but, to make the transition more difficult, I was placed in a school with no “English as a Second Language” course option. This meant that I couldn’t communicate with anyone, including my teachers. I took some comfort in the fact that my family and I were all in the same position, but the experience was, nonetheless, an isolating one. I was an outgoing, exuberant child so I wanted to learn English desperately, the way other kids wanted recess or snack time. Slowly I came to grasp the language, but it was not until I learned to read that I felt confident.  With the next school year came required reading time. I started hesitantly, my English halting and full of mistakes, but I persisted. By the end of the school year, I was one of the best readers in my grade.

Thus began my love of reading. I speak fluent English because of the books I read growing up; in a very literal sense, reading opened up a whole new world for me. My love of reading inspired me to declare an English Language and Literature major at university and allowed me to explore and analyze books in a way I hadn’t before. When graduation came around, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my degree. I worked in customer service at a zoo for about a year and a half, during which I had time to reflect on what I really wanted my future to look like. The decision to work in the publishing industry seemed an obvious one. However, I knew I didn’t yet have the skills I needed, so I made the decision to return to the academic world. My search for a master’s program in publishing led me to the University of Stirling, where I’m discovering more about the industry every day. I know firsthand the difference that good books can make in people’s every day lives. It is my goal to be part of the industry that changed my life so profoundly. After graduation, I’d like to move somewhere warm and work in translations or editorial.

 

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

Hongyue Su(Sue), MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

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I am Hongyue Su.You can call me Sue. I come from Changchun of the Jilin province in the northeast of China, which has similar weather to Stirling. Changchun is famous for cars and movies, and is one of the cities where more than 50% of the land covered by trees.

There are a lot of changes in the process of continuous learning. I stopped studying the electronic organ which I have practiced for 6 years, and table tennis which I practiced for 7 years. But there are still some things that do not change, such as reading books, watching movies and traveling. Now I love fitness in the gym. When I get left alone with strangers, I may be too shy to talk. I like to stay with friends, but also enjoy a personal time to do some of my favourite things.

In China, my undergraduate major was publishing, which I studied for 4 years. In recent years, the publishing industry has gradually become globalized, and certain books have been sought after by people. This makes me want to go abroad to study why books could be so magic.

I chose this major after serious consideration because my family members work in the publishing industry. They usually take the products home which were published in their companies. Not only is the study is full of the books, but also their whole home. Therefore I have a habit of reading which was cultivated by my parents since childhood. When I was young, publishing in China was not so simple. There was no Internet or dedicated publishing platforms, so a large number of people found it very difficult to publish their own articles. Every work has to go through a lot of editors’ selection and revision, in order to ensure the quality of books.

However, with the rapid development of the network, many people publish their own articles on the Internet or through a variety of communities. The form of publishing also changed, from the simple print books to e-books. An increasing amount of information is available to people: how to choose the good and useful one from so many books? It depends the work of editors.

Good editors can give people the same benefits as good teachers. They both can filter good knowledge and the article to share with more people from mass publication, so that readers can get useful knowledge meanwhile save money and time to learn more. That’s what I want to do. Maybe I prefer to read rather than write. Even though I write something like a diary occasionally, but it is not professional enough, I think I need to learn more about writing skills and make my articles more academic.

I hope that in this year, I can learn more knowledge from book and life, and can make friends from different countries. After seeing some different worlds and feeling the different life I can become a better me.

Rachel Patrick, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

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From a young age, I always had a passion for reading and decided to do an English degree when I left high school. I ended up at the University of Stirling, which was quite convenient for me as it wasn’t too far from my hometown.

Since there’s no obvious career path to follow when you’ve studied English Literature, graduating from my undergraduate degree was an exciting time but also a slightly scary one as I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do next. After an awful lot of panicking and pondering I decided I wanted to undertake further study of some sort, but it had to be something involving books. Considering how much I had enjoyed my time at the university the first time around, I ended up looking into postgraduate courses at Stirling. I’d heard about the Publishing Studies course a few times already and had always thought it sounded like something I might like to do in the future, since the process of how books are put together is something that really fascinates me. I was particularly sold and excited after reading how highly past students had spoken of the course.

Before starting the course, I wasn’t sure which part of the publishing process I wanted to be involved in, but I think the recent SYP Editorial event I attended convinced me that I’d love to work in editing one day. I think this course will provide me with the skills to feel confident enough to pursue that career eventually.

I’m on Twitter and LinkedIn although I haven’t mastered either so far.

Anna-Corinne Egermo, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

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As Anna-Corinne tried to escape her motherland she discovered that every conversation she had began with ”So, where are you from?” Culture inevitably defines us, but she could no longer pretend to find new acquaintances ‘interesting’. The most overused word in both the languages she knew, she was getting bored with ‘interesting’. And yet she could not help but find herself curious of the people she conversed with. There was a sense of freshness when someone, surprisingly, found her Swedish opinions edgy; they were just old pieces of furniture acquired in the classrooms of public schools. She could remember every event leading up to her present condition, and she imagined everyone else remembering their own shaping as vividly. With the same disinterest familiarity brings.

So, to get to the point: she came from the Swedish woodland, spent her weekends competing in showjumping and eventually took her degree in Comparative Literature at Linköping University. Why did she think she could study publishing? Mostly because she would not bother to learn Russian; the ultimate dream was to study Dostoevsky’s The Possessed forever. But when heaven was not to be had, she settled for the best of brutal reality: the making of books. Because there was nothing more noble to this girl than to print words on a page.

Anna-Corinne is to be found on Twitter and Instagram as annacorinneegermo.

Stephan Pohlmann, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

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In a small town with forests, ironworks, two hiatuses and one diphthong in it, which was called Georgsmarienhütte, lived my past self by the name of Stephan Pohlmann. While I consider myself still very much alive, I have since moved to Scotland, from where I am hereby introducing myself to the internet.

My home town is in Lower Saxony, in the northwest of Germany, an area best known for the Teutoburg Forest, which used to be smiling at me through the window of my room. That might actually be why, for the most part of my time there, I ended up devouring books with extensive woodlands in the script, be it the forest of Fangorn, the primeval forests of Nordic and Celtic mythology, Birnam Wood, the Forest of the Carnutes (explicitly in the Asterix series), or Sherwood Forest.

I did my bachelor’s degree in what we so cryptically called “European Studies”, investigating laws, politics, literature, languages and culture of the European Union and its nations. Questions of nationhood and how literature branded these nations became my speciality, a further focus lay on Scotland and Ireland. Effectively, I did European politics combined with Anglophone language and culture, a combination that has risen just a tiny little bit in significance and media coverage during the last months. I might have contemplated going into politics, however I somehow must have found myself to be either not disillusioned enough or too idealistic for the job when, instead, I decided to dedicate my future life to influencing fictional worlds.

By autumn 2015, after an internship at a literature centre, I had made up my mind that it would have to be publishing. Furthermore, seeing that I spent the two previous years doing research on Scotland, I figured it would be about time to finally spent more than a holiday there. I found Stirling University, stopped looking for something else, and so far have not regretted the decision.

I am here to stay for a while, at least until I can finally understand MacDiarmid’s A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle.For the distant future, I would say that I will utilize my not-too-bad command of the German language and go into copy or translation editing on the German or UK market, but preferably in the intersection between the two. And regardless of how Jon Snow will be treated by the following A Song of Ice and Fire novels, I would like to prevent him from the most horrible fate of all; having his name translated even one more time into “Jon Schnee” for the German books. That is cruel. Moreover, I still very much like the idea of putting ideas out there. But right now, I am absolutely open to the possibility that these ideas might be about The Very Hungry Caterpillar; how to make proper Scottish shortbread; the next inspiring crime-solver; Bernd the Bread; the next forestal fantasy publication or whatever people will be wanting to read in five or ten years.

Feel free to find me, on Twitter and LinkedIn, either worthwhile connecting with or rather uninteresting.

Lenka Murova, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

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It will not come as a surprise if I say that I like books, having done a BA in English Language and Literature at the University of Essex. Now I’m working towards a MLitt in Publishing Studies. So, yes, I do like books, but more specifically, I have a fascination with words and how easily they can influence people.

I am from Slovakia, where I attended a bilingual Grammar School and developed my interest in the English language. I have loved reading books from a young age. But translating takes time and since I could not wait to get my hands on the newest titles, I ended up reading them in English. I realised that a whole new world of books existed outside the limited Slovak market I was familiar with.

Eventually, I found my way to the world of graphic novels and comic books. I pursued this interest further when I held the position of vice-president of the Graphic Novel and Comic Book society in my final year of my BA studies. There I had the chance to interact with other people with similar interests. I learnt more about the inner workings of the comic book publishing industry through the various events we organised. During my studies I got the chance to delve deeper into the English language as I studied literary works that influenced the world. However, it was during my time at the society when I realised that I was very interested in the ‘’man behind the curtain’’.

The strong influence that the written word can have on people, how it can bring light to important issues, or just soothe a broken soul is mesmerising to me, as are the people who are involved in the process of getting the words out there.

I wish to learn more and understand the individuals who help produce books that have such a strong impact on people. Hopefully, one day, I will get the chance to work with some of them.

You can find me at twitter or look at my linkedIn profile.

Siqi Cai, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

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Hi, I am Siqi, from China. To be honest, I would never have believed that I would be here in Stirling, studying publishing. I studied at the Beijing Institute of Graphic Communication, and my major was digital publishing. Now, I still am able to study publishing in depth.

When speaking about why I chose the subject, I have to mention my hobby from kid to adult. Reading books has been one of my favourite hobbies all the time. Growing up, I was gradually curious about how a book is produced professionally and magically.

Fortunately, I systematically acquired knowledge about publishing, editing, communication and so forth in the four-year study at the university. And, luckily for me, I can continue to study and explore the field in University of Stirling which is a prestigious and beautiful campus. Studying abroad is a challenge for me, but I have a founding belief I can accept the challenge and overcome it. I know that improving myself and changing beyond myself is difficult but I want to try and challenge myself beyond what I’ve done before. There are kind of differences that I found studying in UK and in my country. For example, in the UK I have to manage my own time and tasks effectively. I need to read a great number of professional books and resources. Having entered several weeks of course, I have broadened my own view and enriched my knowledge in publishing industry. I have learned business model about how a publisher operates and had an unforgettable experience of visiting bookshops. I have learned preliminary research skills. I hope that I will improve my editorial ability and enhance critical thanking and analytical ability after one year. It is beneficial to my employment in the future.

All in all, after graduation, I completely look forward to do related-publishing jobs in China, even abroad.

Kanika Praharaj, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

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Hi, I’m Kanika and I come from the sunny (read: burning) city of Delhi in India.

Cliché alert: I adore reading, and though I’m partial towards the physical book, I also use a Kindle (more platforms equals more reading). Prior to coming to Stirling, I studied English Literature at the University of Delhi, which is where I started taking an interest in publishing in the first place.

While in my first year, I gained entry into the editorial board of our department’s annual magazine. The magazine was printed to be distributed free of cost, mostly amongst students and staff of our own department (we didn’t print too many copies). My colleagues and I had to do everything from copy-editing, proofreading, typesetting, and designing the magazine to looking at the financial aspects of the whole publication process. And because we were funded by the department we had to cut costs in numerous ways, including physically carrying 150 newly printed copies of the magazine back to our college in the sweltering heat.

In my second year, our literary society invited a new novelist for an event for our department’s annual fest. As I was responsible for this event, I was constantly in contact with a representative of the publishing house. My conversations with her piqued my curiosity and I began researching the field. The fact that I got a number of free books for my work helped.

I’ve been here at the University of Stirling for just over a month now and I can already feel my vision of my future in publishing changing. My focus has started shifting from proofreading and copy-editing, things that I’ve always done, to production, something that I’ve only recently become familiar with.

Here’s to hoping that there’s something waiting for me over the MLitt in Publishing Studies rainbow!

Find me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Emma Morgan, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-2017

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I studied Law at the University of Glasgow, and while that wasn’t directly linked to books, I learned a lot.  Mostly, I learned that I do not want to work in Law, but I’m still glad that I worked hard and managed to get my degree since it was a challenging course that made me push myself.  Once I realised that Law was not for me, I began to think about what other areas might suit me, and there was nothing so obvious as publishing, though it took me a while to find it.

I began to think about publishing as a career in my third year, when I was studying abroad at the University of Granada in Spain.  I think the combination of studying Law and attempting to speak Spanish whilst doing so was enough to make me realise that whatever I chose to pursue as a career, I wanted to really love it.  I have always had a love of travelling, and planes are an excellent opportunity for reading, so in my year abroad, I got to indulge both my passions and returned to Scotland convinced that I wanted to work with books, and sadly without even the slightest hint of a tan!

Once I did my research and applied to the University of Stirling, publishing seemed like an incredibly obvious choice for me, and my family, friends and everyone who has known me for longer than half an hour agreed that I should have thought of it long ago.  Everything I’ve begun to learn at the University of Stirling has helped to convince me that I am in the right field, and that getting a Masters degree from Stirling will help me find a job in the publishing industry.

When I graduate, I hope to have gained the skills and experience that will give me a head-start in this competitive but exciting industry.  I would love to work in editorial, and in fiction, but at this point, I am eager to gain as much experience of the industry as possible, to try to narrow down my options.  I would like to think that when I graduate, it will be the start of a long career producing and publishing books, and I’m sure that I’ll be one step closer to the enormous, impractical library of my dreams.

I can be found on Twitter or Facebook.

Yao Huang, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

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Hi, everyone! 大家好! I am Yao Huang, from Beijing, China. You can call me Yuna. I chose to study Publishing as I love reading, love the world created by words, full of imagination and magic. I enjoy swimming in all types of books with good qualities.

When I was an undergraduate, my subject was Communication (Digital Publishing), which included courses in Communication, Editing of Digital Media, Publication regulation and so on. As I know, the MLitt in Publishing Studies is professional and famous at Stirling University, so it is a good opportunity for me to receive further training. Meanwhile, there is no doubt that the culture difference has a great attraction.

In my opinion, publishing is a promising and active industry, especially digital publishing. When I went deeply into this area, I realized that there are both challenge and opportunity at the same time. With the development of technology, the production, operation mode, business model and even the way of reading constantly developing, they are not always the same. I learned to use software to make an e-book or e-magazine in class, which would help me follow the trends. I also learnt about how to set a website through writing codes in person, which were really complicated, but good experiences.

Impressively, in the fourth year, I got a precious chance to work in Science Press of China Science Publishing Media Co., Ltd, as an intern editing assistant. The editor was very professional and taught me a lot including clearing each step of publishing a title. This process generally takes around 3 months. Fortunately, I took one month to proofread a manuscript like a copy editor, which was challenging, because I didn’t have any relevant experience before, and that was the first time I felt my decision was changing a book.

I believe that in the near future, we will step into a digital age. A significant purpose I came to Stirling was to acquire academic knowledge, work on the principle of traditional publishing and the practice of digital publishing. I think what I get from here will help me leisurely face this unpredictable and exciting industry.

I have to say that I am experiencing a culture shock, a new way of thinking often makes me confused, but it is okay, that’s probably the interesting point.

Aleksander Pęciak, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

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When I take a look back at my life I would never suppose that I will be here, in Stirling, studying what I am studying. No one would ever consider that this dyslexic, lazy and not eager to read and learn kid I used to be will be aiming to be a publisher in the future. But the only thing that has never changed is probably my ability to surprise people.

I was born in Wroclaw – one of the biggest and the most friendly and open cities of Poland, with colourful market square and architecture which variety proves its multicultural history. I would not mention it if it was not important to my story – such a rich environment really encouraged me to become sensitive and curious to the world’s wonders. I was never sure who I would like to be in the future and what would I like to do – but I always wanted to create and have an impact on people, sharing a part of me with them. I was writing prose since the first class of primary school (autocorrect in Word helped me with overcoming my dyslexic struggles). In secondary school I have developed my story-telling abilities as a game master for Dungeons and Dragons, in high school I have discovered my poetical potential, producing a new poem every day (a positive side-effect of the first heartbreak!).

Writing was always an important part of my life but I wanted to have another, more reliable profession as well. But which one? I never knew. A true plot twist and revelation appeared in my life when I left my high school for a university – Web and Digital Publishing programme in the University of Wroclaw has just been opened and I was successfully accepted as its student. The three years I spent there made me sure about what I want to do in my life and in which industry I want to work. I enjoyed my studies so much that I engaged in the other related activities and many students’ organizations.

Striving for another chance to develop myself I decided to apply to the University of Stirling which is known for excellent teaching and future career perspectives for the graduates. An opportunity to get to know the new market, new approaches, and new people seemed natural for me – a man always thirsty for the world. Now I am extremely happy to be here, especially regarding my irreplaceable classmates who teach me new things every single day. And I am sure that my choice was one of the best choices I have ever made.

What would I like to do after graduation? A tough question! I imagine myself working in academic publishing, as I always admired mission of the sector as their provide access to knowledge which let people – students, academics, professionals – grow. Also I see the endless potential of science since I have read “Little Science – Big Science” by John Derek de Solla Price.

But who knows how it will play out? Life has shown me that it is not always doing as I expect, but I am adaptable and open to every new experience.

You can follow my steps in the publishing world on Twitter or on LinkedIn.

Katharina Dittmann, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

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The thought of going into publishing first crossed my mind when I was about sixteen years old. Books had been my constant companions ever since I could remember and I was, and still am, fascinated by the way stories can transport meaning and move people in so many different ways. Some of the books that initially made me consider this career path were J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series (sorry for the cliché, but it’s the truth) and especially German authors like Cornelia Funke and Kai Meyer, whose beautiful language and exuberant imagination never cease to amaze me. So, in hindsight, a career in publishing seems to have been inevitable. Nevertheless, my decision to apply for the MLitt in Publishing Studies at the University of Stirling was rather spontaneous.

During my last two years at school, the idea of working with books took a firm hold on me. However, I wasn’t sure if I had what it took to start a career in the publishing sector. Instead, I decided to follow my other interests, which were English language and literature, resulting in a degree in English and Cultural Studies at the University of Kiel in the far north of Germany. Over those four years in Kiel I considered several career paths, amongst others in cultural works, marketing and the museum sector. In 2015, I did an internship at a local museum where I was responsible for composing a small exhibition about scales and weights. Although the subject was “terra incognita” for me, I accepted the challenge, turning my time at the museum into a very valuable experience. It made me realise how much my studies have helped me in developing competences in areas such as research, flexibility, and self-management. Nevertheless, the part of me that wanted to work in publishing kept pushing itself to the fore. Books simply played far too big a role in my life to simply ignore that voice inside my head.

Luckily, when it was time to make a plan for my life post-bachelor, I got the chance to attend a seminar on editing held by the commissioning editor of children’s books of the Carlsen publishing house in Hamburg. He introduced us to the different departments involved in book publishing and gave us some insight into the editing process. This might sound cheesy, but it is thanks to him that I am here in Scotland today. His enthusiasm about his job is what inspired me to finally follow my dreams and apply for a master’s degree in this field. I am really excited about what the following year has in store for me. I can already say that I have made the right decision, meaning studying publishing in general, and doing it at the University of Stirling in particular.

Amalie Andersen, MLitt Publishing Studies 2016-17

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I’m not trying to brag but when I was a child the local book seller knew who I was. My friends would beg their parents to take them to Toys ‘R’ Us but I just wanted to go to bookshops. I always loved looking at the books and I would beg my mum to buy me books or stationery.

It was during my final year of studying English Literature that I began considering a career in publishing. I was studying in Stirling as an exchange student when I was first made aware of the university’s degree in publishing studies. Having never come across anything like it at home in Denmark, I was instantly intrigued.

Like many other English students, I was desperate to get relevant work experience when my semester in Stirling ended. It was therefore extremely lucky that I got an internship at a Danish publishing house. Here, I spent four months doing anything from copy editing, proof reading and translating to reading new scripts, managing the company’s social media and writing articles. I loved my time there and, very conveniently, I something I was good at.

So, the internship introduced me to the world of publishing and I am now in Stirling to learn even more. Right now, I am very keen on working in editorial but just a month into the course and I am already opening up to many more possibilities.

Barb Kuntova, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

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Czech Republic born, I previously studied at a university in the heart of Europe (Prague) and after a few years of not knowing what I was doing, switching universities as well as majors, I ended up with a degree in English Teaching. I’ve been teaching for over four years by the time I got my degree and so I felt it was time for a change – I like to try as many things in life as I can. After a bit of a research (mainly financial, not going to lie), I settled on Stirling. And I applied. And I panicked, cried, got onto everybody’s nerves, because I really wanted to get in and the admission process is definitely not a short and kind-to-your-nerves one.

Well, I got in. I’m here. And it is an absolutely wonderful adventure. Not only am I currently living in Scotland (it doesn’t rain as much as everybody promised, I’m disappointed), but I also have an insight into how books are made. And it’s not an easy process – at this point of the course, I have no idea how anybody does it. I think publishers are super heroes, otherwise I really don’t understand.

Personally, I’ve always leaned most towards copy editing or being a commissioning editor though I am now interested in absolutely every part of the publishing process. Although I am not the best at working with technology and software, the good thing is that this course teaches it all – so there is no point in thinking you can’t do something just because you’re lacking the skills at this very moment.  Right, I’ll stop trying to sell the course to you.

So I know I said that I change the direction of my life quite often. Though coming to Publishing Studies, I have a feeling I might stick around in the publishing sphere for a bit, before I become an explorer or grow a beard and run away with the circus.

If you want to have a peek at what a publishing student is up to in her free time feel free to visit my Twitter, Instagram, or blog. Warning: it really is all about books.

Therese Campbell, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

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As clichéd as it sounds, my love for books began at a young age. As a quiet child, I was definitely a bookworm and could immerse myself in whatever book or story I was reading. My Mum – the English teacher – always encouraged me to read and helped me develop my love for literature throughout my childhood and teenage years. Being 17 and having absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my life, I decided that studying books for 4 years seemed like a not-so-terrible idea and chose to do a degree in English Literature at the University of Strathclyde.

While I truly enjoyed studying literature during my degree, I began to ponder the processes and people behind the books but, at the time, had limited knowledge of publishing. For my dissertation, I was given the opportunity to interview playwright Chris Hannan, who had adapted Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment for theatres. During the interview, Chris spoke about his relationship with his editor and I realised how important the author-editor relationship was, as well as how influential the editor was to the final product. It was at this point, I began to consider a career in publishing, but I had no idea how to pursue it!

I was lucky enough to spend the end of my Honours year and the following months residing in Osaka, Japan. I eagerly trawled Japanese bookstores, amazed by their size and their eclectic range of books – none of which I could read, but I did enjoy looking at pictures of cats balancing oranges on their heads… one of the less disturbing books we found.

After returning from Japan and spending time working in the soul-destroying world of retail, I discovered the Publishing Studies course online and applied right away. I was over the moon to find a course which encompassed my interests but would also help me develop them in a more vocational sense. It’s been a challenge adjusting to student life again after time out, but the course and the opportunities it offers are certainly worth it.

 

Mike Tsipoulakos, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

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Hi, I’m Mike and I should tell you in advance that I hate describing myself and even more taking selfies. Anyway, I was born and raised in a small city in central Greece named Trikala, a place with lots of green areas, trees, cotton crops and of course hot temperatures during summer.

My adventure begins at the age of 18 when I left home to get a degree in Greek Philology. I did my undergraduate studies at the university of Ioannina while majoring in Linguistics. After graduating, I felt that my knowledge was still limited, so next year I got accepted at the Applied Linguistics Master at the University of Ioannina. My life seemed already predetermined. After a degree and master in Linguistics, the next step was a PhD which was actually my initial plan. But since I am here today, you already know that I didn’t follow THE PLAN!!

Spending 9 months in the army and having plenty of time for self discovery, I realized that a career as a Linguistics professor wasn’t what I craved for.  “What do you enjoy doing the most at this point in your life?”, I asked myself. The answer was easy, photography and books. OK, I love books and comic books a bit more. Books have always been a big part of my personal, student and later academic life, a tool for teaching through my own teaching sessions and of course a productive way of spending my free time. My first encounter with them begins at the early age of four when I developed a special enthusiasm for fairy tales and graphic novels, although I couldn’t read anything back then. Thank god I had the Audiobook called “mom”!

And here I am today, being a student at the MLitt in Publishing at the University of Stirling. The reason I applied for this master is the course structure of the programme, which is in accordance with my future aspiration in the field of publishing. I feel that the modules included, can give me an insight on how the current publishing industry works while equipping me with the necessary skills to pursue a career in it. Did I make the right choice changing my career prospects? Only time will tell but so far I say hell yeah!

After graduating from the Publishing Master, I aspire to work for a comic book company in the U.S. I know it’s difficult but I also know that I’m allowed to dream. So, keep dreaming and keep walking my fellow publishers! (OK, I stole the last line from the Johnnie Walker Ad but hey we’re in Scotland, so we’re allowed to talk about whisky!)

Jo Ripoll, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

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Hi, I’m Jo, and no, my name’s not short for anything. I am born and bred in New Orleans, Louisiana in the US, where the cultures are varying and the food is flavourful. I’ve been fortunate enough in my 22 years to have travelled all over with my family, which instilled in me a love for adventure, new places and a fascination for other cultures. It is one of the many reasons that brought me to Stirling, Scotland for my Master’s degree.

Books and stories have always been a part of my life, but I have not always been on the publishing track. For most of my young adult life, I thought I wanted to be a social worker. That is, until my life took a sharp left turn right before I started college. As I re-evaluated what I wanted to do with my life, I always came back to my books. That’s when I first thought about publishing as a career in an abstract sort of way. So, I got my Bachelor’s degree at Louisiana State University in English: Rhetoric, Writing and Culture, enhancing my reading and writing skills while uncovering an understanding of developing society through theory and linguistics courses. Also, my minor in Communication Studies allowed me to better my understanding of interpersonal skills and interactions, especially in a changing society that has become so computer mediated.

Most of my undergraduate years were spent peer-editing and proofreading fellow classmate’s writing, both academic and creative. The more time I spent copy-editing and proofreading, I realized how much I enjoyed helping to make people’s writing the best that it could be and building the bridge between writer and reader. My internship with Sophisticated Woman Magazine solidified my interest in publishing and editing and allowed me to get my feet wet in every aspect of the publishing industry. After my internship came to a close, I continued to work with them as a book review columnist.

I knew, however, that I needed to learn more to successfully break into publishing, which led me to the University of Stirling’s Publishing Studies program. Stirling offered me what no other school could: the chance to learn more about my chosen field in great detail while being able to live in this beautiful, magical place and interact with a largely international student body. This program has opened my eyes to consider every aspect of publishing and just fall in love with it (and books) that much more.

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

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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

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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.

Rachel McCann, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

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Hi, 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

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My 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!

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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

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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

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Throughout 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.

Danny Frew, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

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I’m sure that most can easily relate to the feeling of standing on the precipice of change, of being faced with a crucial choice and not quite being confident in taking a leap of faith.

That was very much my mindset in the two years that followed my graduation from the University of Strathclyde’s B.A. in English. I was sure that I wanted to continue my studies, but was not completely sure in which manner I should go about capitalizing on my academic experience while also attempting to develop new skills. I quietly pondered this problem for the next two years.

Thankfully this wasn’t necessarily a doom-and-gloom tale of post-graduate malaise – or at least not in its entirety. The interim between my studies afforded me some interesting professional development opportunities. I managed to gain an invaluable introduction to bookselling with Waterstones, proficiency in arts administration and content management with Playwrights’ Studio Scotland and thereafter honed my commercial acumen in a lengthy stay as sheet music buyer for Blackwell’s South Bridge store. 

In each of these roles I was lucky enough to be working within literary environments in which my personal interests were considered to be useful attributes. I grew to appreciate how multifaceted the literary sector is and particularly just how demanding the business of bookselling can be.

Having been so exposed to the inner-workings of the bookselling industry and having been made responsible for developing relationships with publishing contacts, I suppose that it was only natural that I would begin to consider what employment in the publishing industry may be like. This thought germinated and I began to seriously consider postgraduate study.

In surveying my options, the MLitt at the University of Stirling became a clear front runner. The course was well marketed. There was an international reputation to take note of, an impressive body of published research, and of course a gorgeous campus to revel in. Yet, most important was that the course placed a strong focus on vocational training. Issues of employability were central to my decision making process and so after deducing this I was not only reassured about the MLitt – I was sold.

Now having entered the fourth week of course, I’m pleased to announce that I am more confident than ever in my decision to embark on this particular course. I consistently feel challenged and engaged and I am delighting in the chance to explore the fields of design and production. I am particularly interested in how the physical book will continue to adapt to the expansion of the digital landscape and in which ways traditional binding and printing techniques may be repurposed so as to affirm literary heritage.

The return to academia is already proving to be a challenge, but I’m ready for the battle. I know that I will graduate with industry savvy and find myself ready to enter the workplace.

Post-graduation I intend to seek permanent employment in the U.S.

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Claire Furey, MLitt Publishing Studies 2016-17

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Dia dhaoibh! I hail from the beautiful rainy Galway, on the west coast of Ireland. At least I don’t have to adjust to the Scottish weather! It’s taken me a long while to get here, but it’s been worth it. I graduated from NUI, Galway in 2008 with a BSc in Physics and Astronomy. That may sound impressive, but please don’t test my knowledge on any of it… I realised half way through I did not want a career in physics, but as I was having such a great time socially and really had no idea what else to do with myself, I finished the degree.

I worked in various jobs for a few years – the most interesting being for an online education company where I had some editing, proofreading and general quality assurance roles. I also did some part time freelance work as a proofreader which I loved. I always toyed with the idea of going back to education. I adored books, words and anything to do with the English language so I looked into English literature, journalism, or librarian studies, but I couldn’t quite see myself in a career in any of those contexts. So instead I took off travelling.

I travelled and worked around the world for about 2 and a half years, and had the time of my life. When I got back, I decided it was time to get serious and focus on a career. Somehow publishing came onto my radar – a natural extension from the proofreading I enjoyed so much I guess! Stirling seemed to call to me out of all the places I looked at! Now I’m here I know I’ve made the right decision – both in terms of the course and the location. Before I started I was all about the copy-editing aspect of things, but the more I learn about all the other areas of publishing, the more excited I get about the prospect of a career in any of it. Particularly production. I can’t wait to see what the next few years bring!

Otieno Owino, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

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About four years ago a friend casually asked if I could proofread some work for her employer, a major publisher in Kenya. I gladly accepted because I’d make extra money off it. I was then working as newspaper reporter, having left a language teaching job. I received a lot of freelance work thereafter through referrals. I turned this freelance experience into a full time job as an Assistant Editor with Kwani Trust, Kenya’s leading literary publisher where I have been in the last one and half years.

Working in a small team made it necessary to understand all the major stages of book publishing. I realized that even though I could do good editorial work, I needed some grounding in design, production and marketing, other important aspects of the business. It is this realisation that has brought me to the University of Stirling to pursue the MLitt in Publishing Studies course.

A mini literary revolution is ongoing in my country Kenya, with online journals such as JaladaEnkare Review and Kikwetu publishing what Kwani Trust would traditionally publish. Part of my research interest is online literary journals, how sustainable they can become, how they can make money out of the process and the digital or e-book publication market which is still to be fully exploited in Kenya.

I hope to add onto my editorial skills; project management, production and marketing which I believe will be important for future work in the publishing industry.

Other than my work at Kwani Trust I was a junior editor for a nonfiction anthology put together by Commonwealth Writers, if you get a chance, do read Safe House: Explorations in Creative Nonfiction.

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

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On 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.

Alice Laing, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

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My journey to the University of Stirling and this masters in Publishing Studies seems like a long one when I look back on it. When I left school I had no idea what I wanted to spend the rest of my working life doing. After settling on an undergraduate degree in English Literature and History at the University of Aberdeen I thought I had it all figured out – I would teach. However, it was when one of my friends pointed out to me that I did not have the patience to teach secondary education that I really began thinking about publishing as a career option. Truthfully, my main motivation was finding a career in which I could read for a living.

Doing a post-graduate masters was always appealing to me. I feel it is one of the best ways to learn about the publishing world and hopefully lessen the feeling of ‘I have no idea what I am doing‘ when I actually step into a career. Besides, I just love being a student. This year also lets me explore areas of the publishing industry that I had not even thought about before I started. I always thought I would only ever be interested in working in editorial in fiction. Only three weeks into the course I am now much more open to the idea of working in other areas. Well, still in editorial, but now I am toying with the idea of either academic publishing or children’s publishing.

Who knows where in the publishing world I will end up, but I am certainly excited to find out.

Nuria Rodríguez, MRes in Publishing Studies 2015-2017 (part-time)

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I had been thinking about joining a Postgraduate course for quite a while before I contacted the University of Stirling. My academic and professional background is a mixed one but from my early studies in English Literature to more recent ones in Design there has always been a constant: my interest in words, communication and storytelling; whatever form this may take, whether written or visual. Recently I had also had the opportunity to dip my toes in the waters of publishing and having designed and published four titles with very little knowledge of the industry I felt I had to learn things properly and from the experts. So, for me it felt like a natural progression to join the MRes in Publishing.

My main research interest lays in the overlaps between the written book and its visual form with a focus on the role of the designer within the publishing process. With so much recent talk in the press about the printed book undergoing a renaissance, the designer as interpreter of content and the process of book publishing as a co-operative task are at the forefront of the discussion.

Studying the Masters is helping me question and reflect on my own practice as designer and lecturer. It has also given me the opportunity to examine my aptitude for research, and once you start on a journey, who knows where it may take you? I’m open to suggestions.

You can follow my adventures @behindtheshelf

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