Welcome to the 2019 Showcase of work by dissertation students on the online MSc in Creative Writing at the University of Edinburgh. Our special thanks go to Emilee Prado who acted as general editor, to Melissa Dudek for her work on the images, and to Fiona Carmichael for putting everything together on the site. Thanks also to all contributors: the showcase is compiled and edited by the students themselves, leaving us with little to do beyond sit back and admire the products of their labours.

2018/19 is, alas, the final year of this programme, which launched in 2012 – but we couldn’t have asked for a better group with whom to see it out. Over the years, it’s been our great pleasure to work with students based all over the world, and writing out of a multitude of literary and cultural contexts. This year’s cohort is no exception, and although the showcases are optional and not all students choose to participate, we feel that, in these pages, there’s an invigorating range of material – and of stylistic, formal and conceptual approaches – on display, which speaks eloquently to the diversity of voices in the group as a whole.   

We’ve always encouraged students to follow their own paths, and the reader of this showcase will find themselves frequently on the move: from historical fiction – in Dayle Furlong’s immersive, deeply researched rendering of Irish immigrant communities in 19th Century Canada – to bildungsroman in Poppie Johnson’s Tāne Mahuta, say. Eleonore Blaurock-Busch’s ‘Aniza’ and Sandra Haurant’s ‘No Bones’, one a poem, the other flash fiction, capture and vividly explore the perspectives of youthful voices, while the opening chapter of Emily Hallett’s novel The Middens brings a gothic tinge to the lyrical evocation of place and Annahis Basmadjian’s ‘The Nightmare’ grants entry to a richly fantastical storyworld. From the surreally tinted poems and stories of Chris Herlinger and Karin Sidaway to the intense significant moments and emotional shifts charted by Dawn Roy, and from the philosophical explorations of Emilee Prado’s ‘Retreat’ to Melissa Dudek’s spikily restorative humour, the work gathered here encompasses a wealth of tonalities, techniques and angles of vision.

“I had caught something. It was mine” states the final stanza of Chris Herlinger’s poem ‘Jellyfish’. We hope you enjoy reading these pieces as much as we’ve enjoyed working with the students who wrote them, each of whom, we’re sure you’ll agree, has captured and conveyed something that’s distinctively their own.

Miriam Gamble & Jane Alexander

Image Courtesy of Melissa Dudek