Are you an aspiring writer of science fiction, fantasy, graphic novels or even video games? Then there is a university course for you in Scotland. David Bishop, writer and former editor of 2000 AD, is helping to set up a new MA Creative Writing course at Edinburgh's Napier University.
Bishop will also be a part-time lecturer for the course, which has an impressive list of guest speakers - Mark Millar, Ian Rankin, James Moran, Alan Grant, Denise Mina, Robert Shearman, Leah Moore and John Reppion are already on the list. "This is not your typical creative writing MA," Bishop says. "We're focusing on genre writing and commercial media, rather than the standard literary fiction. Poetry is not an option with us."
Bishop believes the module in writing for graphic novels may be the first of its kind. "Some colleges are now offering BA degrees in illustration for graphic novels – not before time – but I've yet to find anyone else with writing for graphic novels as a post-graduate option."
He continues: "Many universities look down their noses at people who want to write in particular genres, yet some of the most exciting and innovative work emerges from those genres. We're embracing science fiction, graphic novels, fantasy and other kinds of creative writing that get ignored or patronised elsewhere."
Lecturers Sam Kelly and David Bishop outside the Gothic campus building.
The new creative writing MA also offers options in crime fiction, writing for interactive entertainment, screenwriting, life writing, creative non-fiction and journalism. A part-time lecturer on the course, Bishop says it was the eclectic and exciting mixture of options that enticed him to take the job. "Finding and nurturing new creators was one of my favourite parts of the job when I was editing comics like 2000 AD and the Judge Dredd Megazine. Having been a free lance for nearly a decade, I'm looking forward to helping a new generation of creators towards professional careers."
A key feature of the course is one-to-one mentoring sessions and editorial support for all students. "Most writers interact professionally with one or two people for each project – an editor, a producer, a script editor, an artist. Our mentoring sessions will prepare students for that experience."
Sound interesting? Applications are now open for the course, which begins this September. The MA lasts one year for full-time students, or two years for part-timers.