by Jennifer Hilder (PhD Intern)
At Industry Day 2013, Dr Jeremy Smith from the School of Critical Studies hit the audience with some big numbers: Scottish writing and publishing produces 3,000 titles a year, pays royalties to 14,000 writers, and has a turnover of £342 million. As Jeremy went on to emphasise, the College has several major strengths which makes it a key player in this vibrant industry.
For one thing, the College has some fantastically talented writers and publishers within its midst. Dr Elizabeth Reeder is a prolific writer of fiction and also of radio programmes, with several broadcasts for BBC Radio 4 to her credit. Dr Zoe Strachan, also from Creative Writing, is another successful author of three novels with numerous other short stories and essays, articles and radio broadcasts. Zoe has also notably collaborated with other organisations to widen engagement with writing, through exhibitions, theatre productions, and opera performances. Dr Jan Culik is the editor and publisher of the widely read Czech language journal Britské listy, a cultural and political journal with 2.9 million readers per year. The expertise and talent of these academics directly contributes to making the College’s creative writing programme one of the biggest and most successful in the UK.
In the non-fiction realm, Professor Murray Pittock is the author of the highly successful book, The Road to Independence (2008), which has made a significant contribution to issues and debates around independence and has been supported by Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond. Also on the Scottish theme, Professor Alan Riach worked with Jenni Steele at VisitScotland to produce A Traveller’s Guide to Literary Scotland, which is freely available at all tourist information centres.
This theme is not all about creating new content, however, and the College is working closely with the translation industry to ensure that the MSc in Translation Studies benefits students and industry, by inviting industry experts to deliver materials to the students as part of the course. The University’s Gaelic Language Plan is also designed with the aim of improving communications and publications specifically. Links with industry have been beneficial in other areas too, Jeremy thinks the connections to major publishers such as ASLS and Carcanet have been crucial to the College’s success. For the students, this has meant an opportunity to work with big names like Harper Collins.
One area that Jeremy is particularly interested in developing is e-Publishing. Thanks to the College’s expertise in Digital Humanities, Jeremy thinks the College can help to resolve some of these looming issues such as Open Access. He and his colleagues are thinking about developing a distinctive Publishing Studies postgraduate programme, which doesn’t exist yet anywhere else in the UK. To make the programme a success, however, Jeremy really wants input from publishers themselves.
So if you have any thoughts about e-Publishing, publishing, or collaborations, we would love to hear from you (firstname.lastname@example.org).