James Robertson Named as Edinburgh Napier Writer-in-residence

Award-winning Scottish author, James Robertson, has been appointed as writer-in-residence at Edinburgh Napier University.

Mr Robertson is the author of acclaimed novels The Testament of Gideon Mack and Joseph Knight, the latter garnering the Angus-based writer both the Saltire Society and Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year awards.

His diverse body of work includes Scots translations of children’s classics such as Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox and, more recently, a new No. 1 Ladies Detective Agencybook for younger readers by Alexander McCall Smith.

The new Edinburgh Napier post has received substantial funding from The Binks Trust for four years. A fresh appointment will be made each Easter.

Mr Robertson, who was the first writer-in-residence at the Scottish Parliament, will spend two to three days each week writing at the University’s iconic Craighouse Campus, where students on its new MA in Creative Writing will be able to turn to him for advice and guidance.

The groundbreaking course, which was launched last autumn, embraces commercial genres such as science fiction, fantasy and crime writing and was the first in the UK to offer specialist modules in writing for computer games and comics.

It also replaced traditional workshop-based teaching with one-to-one mentoring and piloted a unique reader-in-residence post, currently held by Scottish literary editor and author, Stuart Kelly.

Mr Robertson said: “I am very pleased to be the first writer-in-residence on the Creative Writing programme at Edinburgh Napier. The course is dynamic and innovative, practical yet intellectually demanding, and has been designed to take full account of the many challenges that face anybody wanting to make a living as a writer today.

“Over the years, I’ve been a publisher’s sales rep, bookseller, editor and publisher, and as a writer my work has also been diverse, so I hope I can offer useful insights and advice to the students. I also fully expect to gain much from working with them in such a stimulating, creative environment.”

The Edinburgh Napier MA in Creative Writing is run by former literary agent Sam Kelly and acclaimed screenwriter and author David Bishop, a former editor of UK comic 2000AD.

Ms Kelly said: “For us, hosting a high-profile working author alongside our students is a way of extending the community of the course, and adding a new influence to our ongoing debates about writing. James embodies all the qualities we were looking for and, thanks to generous funding from the Binks Trust we have been able to make our vision a reality.

She added: “With this course we really feel we have started a small revolution in how the teaching of creative writing is approached. James’ primary role will be to develop new work while he is here and to speak to students about his projects. I’m delighted he is joining us and certain that he will bring even more to the post than we expect.”


Notes to Editor: 

For interview opportunities with Sam Kelly or James Robertson please contact Patrick McFall on 0131 455 6314 or email p.mcfall@napier.ac.uk A jpeg of James Robertson outside Craighouse Campus, as well as a head shot, are also available on request.

About James Robertson:

James Robertson is a novelist, short story writer, poet, translator, editor and publisher. His first book of short stories, Close, was published in 1991. He has since published more than twenty books, including a second collection of stories, a collection of Scottish Ghost Stories and a Dictionary of Scottish Quotations.

James was the first Writer in Residence at the Scottish Parliament. He is a co-founder and general editor of the Scots language children’s imprint Itchy Coo, set up in 2002, which has published more than 30 titles. His most recent Itchy Coo title is Precious and the Puggies, a Scots translation of a new work by Alexander McCall Smith, launched in February 2010.

His novels are The Fanatic, Joseph Knight (which won both the Saltire Society and Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year Awards in 2003/04) and The Testament of Gideon Mack (longlisted in 2006 for the Man Booker Prize and Commonwealth Writers Prize, shortlisted for the Saltire Society Book of the Year award, and selected for the Richard & Judy Book Club Best Read of the Year in 2007).

And the Land Lay Still, his eagerly-awaited fourth novel, will be published by Hamish Hamilton on 5 August 2010.

Contact: Patrick McFall
Phone: 0131 455 6314
Email: p.mcfall@napier.ac.uk
Website: http://www.napier.ac.uk