The programme team of the online MSc in Creative Writing at Edinburgh is proud to present the 2018 Online Showcase, featuring work from a number of our final year students. The showcase was compiled and edited by the students themselves: we’re particularly grateful to David Escorial and Matthew Boyd who, across cyberspace between the Netherlands and Northern Ireland, acted as the core editorial team, bringing everything together in a timely and professional way. Their hard work is hugely appreciated.
Our students, who study part-time across three years, are based all over the world; accordingly, their writing reflects a diverse range of contexts, styles and interests. From crime fiction set in Japan to short stories rooted in the small-town life of India, Spain, Africa and America, poems in search of global mail, the reader of these pages will encounter life-giving “news” from a rich range of locales and imaginative loci: please come prepared to relish “the drunkenness of things being various”!
For us, one of the greatest pleasures and stimuli of teaching on this programme has always been the lack of predictability – of ‘sameness’ – both in the work our students produce while they’re with us and in what they bring to the table, influence and experience-wise, in class. We’re here to teach them, sure – but we learn a lot from them, too. They broaden our own horizons; teach us to be more searching, less assured.
Poetry, as Keith Douglas acknowledged, comes in a range of shapes and sizes: it is “like a man, whom thinking you know all his movements and appearance you will presently come upon in such a posture that for a moment you can hardly believe it a position of the limbs you know”. The same, of course, is true of fiction – and of writing which occupies the hinterland between. In the title piece of Simon Armitage’s Zoom! the poem, which begins as a house and ends up “smaller and smoother / than a billiard ball but weighing more than Saturn”, is received with hungry curiosity: “What is this?” Every member of our staff has known that feeling, on taking in and meditating on a submission of student work. It is here – in the moment at which you read something and think, What IS this? and then, in quick succession, I LOVE it! – that teaching brings its greatest rewards.
We are fortunate to have an exciting array of talent on this programme. We hope you enjoy reading the work of those students who are represented here (just under two thirds of the year group – participation is not compulsory). We’ve relished working with all of them and are delighted to have been able, in concert with them, to fashion this little boat for carrying their writing onto the internet’s waves.
Miriam Gamble & Jane Alexander
Header image courtesy of Vadim – https://www.flickr.com/photos/29633508@N05/8153494910/