The Year of the Publishing Postgrad – a summary

This time last year, I was cramming preparing for my final exams as an English Literature undergraduate at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. I was also reading Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood as it was the only thing able to distract me from my anticipation of hearing back about my application to Edinburgh Napier’s MSc Publishing course. Yes, grizzly murder was the antidote to my constant nerves. (Reading about grizzly murder, that is.) I didn’t have a Plan B for my life after graduation, so it was essential that I was accepted as a Publishing Postgrad. And thank goodness, I was.

The first official week of classes after induction cemented my commitment to the course and the publishing postgrad lifestyle, into which I was happily thrown. Magfest took place on the Friday of the first week, and to hear from giants of publishing (Vanessa Kingori! John Bird!) as an induction into the industry was incredible. It was also a great chance to network (a word that doesn’t terrify me as much as it used to) and meet with new classmates, who would become friends, hostel roommates, and publishers that I genuinely admire.

Following the first week of introductions, we quickly got stuck into trimester 1 projects. With a live market research group project, individual product reports and case studies, the next few months would fly by in a whirlwind of paper, paragraph styles, and publishing news.

A personal highlight of trimester 1 was being part of the social media team for our market research project on the Martin Rattler Activity Book. Our research took us to Gorgie City Farm, the National Museum of Scotland, and fascinating, bookish corners of Twitter. More significant than the goats and galleries, though, was the opportunity to see how market research comes together on social media. I’ve taken away a lot from the experience, which has since helped me gain a social media internship with Linen Press.

While the first trimester ended with a festive whimper of proud exhaustion, trimester 2 began with the sound of a starter’s gun. It was all go from the first day back. With a placement module, a live book project, and a magazine to publish, January to May were incredibly busy, and so rewarding.

In the midst of all the madness was a trip to London for The London Book Fair, which I can honestly say was one of the most fun, hectic, and surreal experiences I’ve had. Walking into the Olympia, I was instantly consumed by the electric atmosphere of meetings between publishers, authors, illustrators, book buyers and everything in between. For the next three days, I soaked up as much publishing genius as I could, including talks from Penguin Random House on branding, and Michael Morpurgo on his new children’s book.

Back in Scotland, it was back to business. Over the course of the next two months, I achieved what I thought was beyond me. Three amazing classmates and I published KNUT magazine (DIY or Die, baby), a product and brand of which I couldn’t be more proud. I secured a placement with freelance editor Jennie Renton, who has since become an editorial inspiration. And finally, I edited, typeset, designed and published a book. A whole book.

As I write this approaching the end of an exhausting but exhilarating year, I have nothing but gratitude for the MSc Publishing course at Edinburgh Napier. It has given me so many new skills, enhanced my existing ones, broadened my knowledge, and given me some incredible experiences within and without the classroom. It has also introduced me to people I hope to continue to work with for years to come.

For any prospective students thinking of applying, I 100% encourage you to do so. Throw yourself into the course, take advantage of every opportunity, and by the end of trimester 2, you will surely have found your feet.

Today is Endangered Species Day!

Hello Rattler-teers! Today is Endangered Species Day, a chance to learn all about rare animals across the world. It’s really important to protect these animals and their habitats, or they might not be around for much longer.


Did you know that over half of the world’s animals live in rainforests? With the rapid destruction of the Amazon rainforest, this means there are lots of endangered species struggling to live there. Martin meets a few on his adventures – let’s have a look at some of them!


jaguar in tree_2

Jaguars are beautiful big cats who like to sneak up on their prey and pounce before they even know they’re there! Although they look like leopards, jaguars are slower and smaller, but have a powerful bite. They are also amazing swimmers and strong climbers, often found relaxing up in the trees. Jaguars are endangered because their homes are being destroyed and they have nowhere else to go. Worse, some people hunt them for their spotty fur.



Manatees are sometimes called sea cows because of their size and shape. They live their whole life in water, eating sea plants, and have big flippers to help them swim. They can even stay underwater for up to 14 minutes without coming up for air! Manatees are endangered because people used to hunt them for their meat and thick skin. Although the hunting of manatees was banned in 1974, their habitat is becoming more polluted and they are struggling to survive.


Giant Armadillo (Priodontes maximus) Wild, Pantanal, Brazil

These shy creatures rarely leaves their homes to say hello, despite their size! Giant armadillos are covered in armour-like scales and have scary looking claws on their front paws. When they sense danger, they quickly use their nails to dig a hole and hide! Despite hiding from humans, giant armadillos are endangered because people are destroying their homes for farmland. Humans use their habitat to make raw materials, like sugar cane, which they use instead of oil.


golden lion tamarin_2

These tiny orange monkeys are sociable creatures and like to live in big families, sleeping together in dens in the trees. The golden lion tamarin is named after its striking bright mane and likes to eat anything it can, from insects to fruit to lizards! They are in danger of extinction because nearly all of their habitat has been cut down and they don’t have enough space to live. Some people have also captured these cute little monkeys to keep as pets, reducing their numbers significantly in the wild.

Why not celebrate Endangered Species Day by learning what is being done to help these animals live happily and safely in their natural habitat? Find out more about how you can get involved here, and check out what’s happening on Twitter here.

Keep up to date with all of Martin’s adventures in The Adventures of Martin Rattler. Follow us on Twitter @Martin_Rattler and like us on Facebook at MartinRattlerbook.

Meet Dr. Murray Collins… a real life adventurer!

Martin Rattler encounters lots of exciting things throughout his adventures in the Amazon Rainforest…from “wiggly nosed tapirs” to alligators, and even spectacled bears to jaguars! Imagine if you had the chance to explore the rainforest just like Martin did. Well the exciting news is… you can! And if you are lucky enough you might even get paid to do it!


Meet Dr. Murray Collins, a real life adventurer!  He currently works for the University of Edinburgh, and is also the Environmental Scientist in Residence at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS). Murray has a love for tropical rain forests, conservation and tries to help protect our amazing planet.

To read about Murray’s experience of exploring the Amazon (and going fishing for piranhas!) keep an eye out for the publication of The Adventures of Martin Rattler. Murray tells us about the mysterious creatures he encounters on his travels, alongside many unknown facts about the Amazon and its inhabitants.


Did you know the Latin name for a pink dolphin is Inia geoffrenis? Don’t worry, I bet Martin doesn’t either!


Keep up to date with all of Martin’s adventures in The Adventures of Martin Rattler. Follow us on Twitter @Martin_Rattler and like us on Facebook at MartinRattlerbook.

Character Profile – Aunt Dorothy Grumbit

Name – Aunt Dorothy Grumbit

Age – Unknown. But she must be very old, she can’t remember herself!

Lives – Ashford

Occupation – Expert knitter

Favourite hobby – Knitting, and looking after her favourite nephew Martin

Favourite outfit – An old-fashioned dress with flowers the size of saucers

Favourite joke  Why is Britain the wettest country? Because the Queen has reigned there for years!

Read all about Aunt Dorothy Grumbit in The Adventures of Martin Rattler. Follow us on Twitter @Martin_Rattler and like us on Facebook at MartinRattlerbook.

Character Profile – Mr Jolly

Name – Mr Arthur Jolly


Lives – Ashford

Occupation – Merchant and shipowner

Best friend – Mrs Dorothy Grumbit, he asks her to knit 2000 pairs of socks for him!

Favourite adventure – Having a huge party with Martin and all his friends

Favourite joke – What happens to a frog’s car when it breaks down? It gets toad away!

Read all about Mr Jolly in The Adventures of Martin Rattler. Follow us on Twitter @Martin_Rattler and like us on Facebook at MartinRattlerbook.

Character Profile – Marmoset and Grampus

Names – Marmoset the monkey and Grampus the dog

Marmoset copy

Lives – In the wilds of Brazil

Owners – Martin Rattler and Barney O’Flannagan

Favourite adventures – Grampus running through the forest with Marmoset on his back

Favourite pasttimes – Marmoset loves drinking coffee, sleeping, and playing with Martin. Grampus loves playing games, sitting with Barney, and running really fast through the forest.

Favourite jokes – Why did the monkey like the banana? Because it had appeal! What do you get if you cross a sheepdog with a rose? Collie-Flower!

Read all about Marmoset and Grampus in The Adventures of Martin Rattler. Follow us on Twitter @Martin_Rattler and like us on Facebook at MartinRattlerbook.

Character Profile – Barney O’Flannagan

Name – Barney O’Flannagan


Occupation – Sailor

Lives – On the high seas

Pet – Grampus the dog

Best friend – Martin Rattler

Secret identity – Baron Fagoni

Favourite adventure – Looking for the diamond mines

Favourite joke – What’s a pirate’s favourite vegetable? An arrr-tichoke!

Read all about Barney in The Adventures of Martin Rattler. Follow us on Twitter @Martin_Rattler and like us on Facebook at MartinRattlerbook.