Highlights from Napier’s Publishing Trip to Germany

Last week I hopped on a plane to Mainz with a group of my fellow publishing postgrads. The trip was absolutely fantastic. We had the chance to meet interesting people, explore new places and learn about the publishing landscape in Germany.

We spent a day at the university in Mainz, listening to lectures and touring their publishing archive. We enjoyed a walking tour of the city, ate delicious local cuisine and even got to tour the archives of Schott Music, a leading publisher for classic and contemporary music. As a former band geek, I was ecstatic to learn a bit about the history of music book publishing and completely enthralled to be in the same room as original work by Mozart and Wagner.

My personal highlight of our visit was a day trip to Heidelberg (aka my new favorite city). We did some sightseeing (I convinced a few classmates to join me in climbing the 313 steps up to the top of the city’s castle) and then spent the afternoon listening to presentations at Springer Nature’s headquarters.

Springer Nature is the world’s largest academic publisher, renowned for research, educational and professional and publishing. Continue reading “Highlights from Napier’s Publishing Trip to Germany”

Degree Show Madness!

Following all the madness of last week, posters have been printed, presentation slides have been created and converted for the show. However the biggest task in preparing for our degree show last week had to have been our initial set up of our room for the show. This involved a little volunteer work on Wednesday and some very fashionable choices…

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This lovely looking group was joined by a couple of stragglers who you can see throughout the slideshow. Following a later than average start, we had a day full of painting display boards – which turned out to be quite the challenge but fun because we were rewarded with Cake!

But today is finally the day where we will get to show everyone what we have achieved and the magnitude of the projects that we took on this year!

We really do hope that you can come along and visit sometime as the Degree Show is on until June, so loads of time. Our displays will be in The Glassroom in Edinburgh Napier’s Merchiston Campus, 10 Colinton Road near Morningside.

Take a little look at what we have on show, plus there will be some goodies available from both groups’ displays… not that we are trying to bribe you 😉

Best of luck to everyone today!!

Bookie Updates: Interview with Ah Dinnae Ken contributor Cathy MacPhail

With only 9 Days left on our Ah Dinnae Ken Sponsume Campaign we wanted to tempt you further into supporting our campaign with a little interview with one of our contributors: Cathy MacPhail.  All of our authors and contributors are amazing with original and thought provoking stories which deserve to be published especially during this time of increased political pressure on young adults in Scotland and the increased awareness and promotion of Scotland’s cultural heritage and growing diversity.

Here is an extract from the funny and diligent interview carried out by our very own Camille Burns (CB) and Jonathon McIntosh (JM) with the lovely Cathy MacPhail (CM).

And if it does interest you and inspire you to sponsor our campaign please go to: http://www.sponsume.com/project/ah-dinnae-ken-stories-scottish-identity

For more information and our sponsorship video and all the donation links.

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JM: How did you start getting into your writing career. Were you just practicing on your own, or did you go to creative writing groups?

CM: No I always, I was always writing, but without any confidence and it was going to, actually, to the local writer’s group, where they started giving me the confidence that actually I was quite good. And they urged me to start sending stories away. And I always tell the story the very first story I had accepted I had written when I was 17 and didn’t have the courage to send it away. So really it was going to the writers club that gave me the confidence that I might be able to be a writer.


But also then, from that, you then started going to writer’s conferences and seminars, listening to writers and learning all the time how to improve your writing. And moving into other avenues, you know? You think ‘Oh, I’ll get a short story published, and that’s all, I’m quite happy! Oh, maybe I’ll get two short stories published…oh wait a wee minute, maybe I could get three! Maybe I could write a novel?’


I was one of those people that when I went to a seminar or a conference and I went in to listen to a speaker I came out sure that was the writing I was gonna do. Science fiction? That’s me! Historical fiction? That’s me! So I tended to try a lot of different kinds of writing, which, in the end, was a really good thing cause I think it improved my writing, improved the way I wrote and, you know, how, it was how I learned to write, really.


JM: Do you feel that, obviously you’re writing to a children’s / young adult audience, do you feel like their needs have changed over the years? Do you feel like their reception to your work has changed, or their reading habits have changed?  

CM: Um, what I think is you know people always say ‘children don’t really read’ but actually if they get the books in school, and the teachers are brilliant at bringing books into school, introducing them to writers, I find children can be really enthusiastic. You know, I went to Hunter Primary yesterday and the kids were all waiting behind the gates, in a big long line, and as soon as I parked the car they were going ‘She’s here! She’s here!’ They were so excited. ‘We’ve just finished Dark Waters, we’ve just been reading this, we’re just really excited.’ And I’ve seen that same excitement away back, you know, years ago when I’d go to visit a school.


JM: Aye

CM: So, no I don’t think children’s…

JM: It hasn’t really changed?

CM: No, I don’t think so. You know, I got a lovely email last night from a parent of two children that I spoke to yesterday, thanking me for they came home so enthusiastic, and her son especially, had never liked reading. And now he’s reading all the time, he’s reading my books, but he’s reading all the time and he just loves it so much. So what you hope is that that is maybe going to keep on, he’s gonnae try other writers, he’s gonnae grow up with that. And that’s all you can hope for, isn’t it?


CB: So how does that make you feel, to be the person who has allowed him to start reading?

JM: It must be such a good feeling.


CM: Do you know, I put it on Facebook cause I thought it was so nice, that she had emailed me. In fact, no it wasnae the woman’s email I put on Facebook it was the reception I’d had at the school. And I actually said, ‘I love this job’. Because it really does make me feel that you’re doing something really worthwhile. You know? So, it’s a wonderful feeling…

CM: Aye, well there you are you had read Tribes (To Jonny). I’m still going to schools and children are asking about Tribes!


JM: That was, like, 10 years ago!

CM: I know! Run, Zan, Run came out in 1994

CB: That was the one I read when I was in school!

CM: 1994 that came out. I went yesterday to Hunter Primary and they had a whole wall of work the children had done on Run, Zan, Run. There’s not a mobile phone in sight in the whole book.

JM: That’s it, aye.

CB: Yeah.

CM: If I wrote it now it would be totally different. So, that’s what I mean, I love the fact that, especially with children’s books, that they seem to go through generations. It’s not a case of, ‘Oh, that’s an old book’.


JM: So what interested you about our project, when you first got the initial email from Camille?

CM: Well I think the first thing was because you said you were a student and you had this project. I thought it was an interesting project but I think especially because you were a student and you sounded so enthusiastic. And I suppose I wanted to help you, and when you said it was about Scottishness, although it is, as I say, kinda ‘Bloody hell, what is that about?’ I still think it was a very worthy idea, so that was really how I became interested in it. And since then I’ve been thinking, ‘Scottishness, what is that?’ and then, as I say, I came up with this story and I thought, ‘That would be good. Nice touch of the dark.’


JM: So I think this is the hardest question you’re going to get and I know you’ve been dreading it, so if you had to define Scottish identity, and I can see you’re struggling, it is, I think it’s hard. How would you define it in a sentence?

CM: Define Scottish identity…


JM: To you. I know it’s a toughie though.

CM: Um. It wouldnae be in a sentence but I think there’s, you know, I suppose Scottish identity has been a lot like my writing career. That I didn’t have the courage to believe I could be a writer and then even when I became a writer I didnae have the courage to think, actually believe, I was any good. It took me such a long time to actually think, ‘I am good. I can write. People like my books’ and in a way I think that’s kinda like the way I think of Scottish identity. That, you know, I can remember people, and you still hear them saying it ‘Oh typical Scotland, we’ll no win’, ‘Oh typical Scotland, we’re rubbish’ and then it takes a long time for that feeling of not being quite good enough to grow into that feeling ‘Yes we are good enough’ and then to become the feeling ‘We are pretty good’. So I don’t know whether that answers…


I think that we tend to look at all the negative things instead of the positive things you know? We tend to go ‘Och we’re no good, we’re rubbish at football.’‘Aw our team’s never win’ … ‘Oh look at all the blinking dumps we’ve got. It’s Greenock. Greenock’s a dump.’


Look over there [points to the Clyde waterfront], look at the views we’ve got. Greenock’s no a dump! And I think that’s a kinda Scottish thing, you know? It’s like never looking at all the wonderful things. The best whiskey in the world! I don’t drink whiskey, but I buy it simply because I want to, you know. We’ve got best gin in the world!


CB: You just need to take a look at our history as a country, weve had amazing people.

CM: Amazing. Look at the explorers, the scientists, the doctors… So yeah, there’s an awful lot of really interesting people have come from Greenock. They’ve left Greenock, right enough.


But then I think that’s a Scottish thing as well, that we should be proud of. It’s not a case of, ‘Oh everybody leaves this place’. I always wanted my children to leave, I always wanted my children to spread their wings and go elsewhere. So I haven’t a clue how to put that into a sentence!



Bookie Updates: SPONSORS!!

A number of exciting things have been happening this week, especially as the whole team is already excitedly getting ready for London Book Fair which is only 11 days away now!!

We have been on the hunt for sponsors to help further our promotional campaign for both our Scottish books Ah Dinnae Ken and The Day Boy and the Night Girl.

Thanks to Giulia we have gained support from two of Scotland’s most iconic brands, and it came in the best format ever…Food!! 🙂

We received a lovely surprise this morning when a gigantic box full of Walkers Shortbread turned up at the Edinburgh Napier front desk addressed to us! 🙂


Nothing helps make the hump day better than food.

But this was only the start of our day – our next surprise arrived soon after when we received a lovely email from the amazing people at Tunnock’s.

Come find us at our stand at H350 at the London Book Fair to grab some Scottish goodies!


rrX25BjtHIQFbrpdvleacOKeSfxrstHStcwONLkXaNyMIYewq7BZjFnNRbWe5A9Mig=w1664-h733We will keep you up to date on any more goodies we will be giving away – visit us at the London Book Fair or on our facebook pages:



and follow us on Twitter: @EdNapierPublish using the hashtag #AhDinnaeKen & #crowdfunding to get involved with the AhDinnaeKen “What is Scottish Identity?” campaign, or #LetBooksbeBooks to get involved in the campaign to remove gender limitations from children’s books.

Bookie Updates: Ah Dinnae Ken and Crowdfunding

Following our decision to join the Let Books be Books  for our childrens project,  The Day Boy and The Night Girl  we also wanted to update you further on our YA project Ah Dinnae Ken.

Now things have also been progressing rapidly for our other project, Ah Dinnae KenRight now we are halfway through our crowdfunding campaign to support the print and distribution of Ah Dinnae Ken.

And we wanted to take this time to share our message and our belief in this project in the hope that you would be interested in supporting and becoming involved in our project.

So here is a little summary about who we are and why we are doing this. And a little sneak peek at the supporters we’ve gotten so far!

Sponsume Link: http://www.sponsume.com/project/ah-dinnae-ken-stories-scottish-identity


Hello there! We are a team postgraduate publishing students at Edinburgh Napier University who are currently working on a live book project for Merchiston Publishing, in-house publishing arm of Edinburgh Napier University and the Scottish Centre for the Book. Merchiston Publishing is a not-for-profit publishing house which distributes copies of its books freely, and is supported by the generous donations of organizations such as the Edward Clark Trust.  See more at: http://www.sponsume.com/project/ah-dinnae-ken-stories-scottish-identity#sthash.KPdFi4VS.dpuf

What does it mean to be Scottish? Can Scottishness be defined, and is there really a difference between Scotland and the rest of the UK? Some of today’s leading Scottish authors for young adult literature – Cathy MacPhail, Claire McFall, Cathy Forde, Diana Hendry, J.A. Henderson, and others – address these questions and more, in this thought-provoking collection of stories about national identity. Each story is unique, some are amusing, others moving, but together they show how different people, ideas, and even dialects make up the Scotland we know and love today. The book also features a foreword by Scottish journalist and broadcaster, Stuart Cosgrove. See more at: http://www.sponsume.com/project/ah-dinnae-ken-stories-scottish-identity#sthash.KPdFi4VS.dpuf


We really believe in this project and we want to copies of the book to as many schools as we possibly can. So please take a minute to check out our link and watch our little video featuring Kenny the Book who just wants to be shared in schools.

Thank you x

Bookie Updates: The Day Boy and The Night Girl

Production for The Day Boy and The Night Girl has had a chance to progress this weekend when Laura from the production team  created some beautiful illustrations and we received our flyers which are being distributed by a number of our team at the Publishing Scotland Conference happening in Glasgow tomorrow.

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Design by Laura Holliday

These have been created using some of our favourite quotes from the book which we feel best describe the characters as well as give you a feel for the overall plot.

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Design by Laura Holliday

More of these updates will be coming soon as we are also hoping to receive our first updates from our NEW illustrator next week, so things are all very exciting here at Edinburgh Napier University!

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After a number of weeks preparing for the Publishing Scotland Conference we have finally received a delivery of our little flyers which were kindly made by Edinburgh Napier’s in House Printing shop Tapes Design Shop. This is an exciting development for the team as it represents one of the first physical products we have produced and shows, that all the work we have been putting into this project is going to pay off eventually.

image(1) As you can see Anni, our marketing teams’ department head is excited to get through all the packaging to see the final flyer, which she spent a considerable amount of time working on with Rachel from our production team, who did the design. Suddenly messages and footmen were sent running to find as many of our team members as possible to see Anni’s attempts to rip into the packaging (which had way too much duck tape!).

image(2)However all the effort was ultimately worth it as the flyers look great and we have had time to attach an additional, detachable note to help get people involved in our “Scotland to me is…?” campaign on Facebook and Twitter.

Design by Rachel Sneddon and Annemarie Leipe

And you can see we are very happy with everything! So more posts will be coming soon on the Publishing Scotland Conference as well as our illustrator updates.


My Fair London

After the stress of live projects and work placements MSc. Publishing students decided to blow off some steam, London style. True, we were heading to southern pastures for the London Book Fair but we also saw it as a chance to spend some time together before parting ways for the summer. And we weren’t disappointed.

Around 15 students went down to the fair, 11 of which stayed in the ever-reliable Travel Lodge. We got the train down on Monday morning and, after a brief confusion over which Travel Lodge we were actually staying in, a few of us decided to visit the fair before the next day’s activities. Monday evening at Earls Court was certainly a lot calmer than the following day. We managed to get our bearings and our badges without being too overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the building and picked up our trusty guide of seminars for the next two days.

The CEO keynote debate on Tuesday morning was entitled “Digital Revolution or Digital Evolution?” Attendees were treated to the thoughts of bigwigs such as John Makinson, CEO of Penguin and Brian Murray, CEO of HarperCollins. The consensus appeared to be that the changes in the publishing chain have been a hybrid of revolutionary and evolutionary factors.

The focus for the LBF was on Russia and of course, on digital publishing. It seems that one cannot mention publishing nowadays without the D word coming up and the number of stalls dedicated to digital devices, along with the emphasis on “going digital” in almost every talk, was testament to this fact.

Although we did go to several talks and tried our networking skills at the Publishing Scotland stand (the handing out of cards aided to some extent by whiskey and wine!), our main activity was simply taking it all in. The fair was a great opportunity to witness the theory we have learned being put into practice and to prepare ourselves for the day when it will be our turn to man the colourful stands.

Of course, the trip wasn’t all work and no play…we had a great time doing the touristy thing in London and really enjoyed our time out in the evenings…perhaps a little bit too much in some cases! We were reluctant to leave our beloved Travel Lodge on Wednesday afternoon and it seemed that the trip passed all too quickly. All in all, it was a brilliant and informative experience – I’m looking forward to next year already!

Arriving at Earls Court
Arriving at Earls Court – © Emma Sothern